Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
You have sinned. I have sinned. We all have sinned. Moreover, we all continue to sin, no matter how much at times we try not to. I bet there are times when you try your hardest not to sin. I also would wager there are times when you don’t try as hard as you’d like, am I right? I confess to this outright. There are times when I absolutely know that what I’m doing is just not good in God’s eyes, yet I do it anyway. Maybe I’m mad and lose my temper. Maybe I look the other way rather than deal with someone I might find uncomfortable. Maybe I entertain thoughts that are sinful. Maybe I talk about someone unfavorably behind their back. Sometimes, I tell myself “it’s not that bad”, or “maybe God won’t know” (duh on that one).
Later though, I look back and ask myself who I think I’m kidding. I feel a sense of personal shame that I allowed myself to sin, more so after those times I did it with eager willingness or indifference. This can be a dangerous moment, because if that shame becomes misguided, and I start to think I’ve gone too far, or resist facing up to the things I’ve done, I may just continue to slide down the slope of sin until I become desensitized to it, and no longer even have an interest in making amends with God.
Always know, that no matter how many times it’s the same old story, you can always come to God, and confess what you’ve done. It’s never too much for Him to forgive. Just as in one of the passages from today’s psalm, we can ask God to “remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low.” That’s what He longs to hear from you. Pray the last verse of today’s sin; “Help us, O God our savior, because of the glory of your name; Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.” Make your way to confession, and be honest and contrite while you admit your wrongdoing. God wants nothing more than to forgive you and see you in a state of grace. Leave the confessional with a profound sense of gratitude and joy that your God is all loving and all merciful. Wear that joy as your armor against the temptation to sin again. Peace be with you.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What's your default reaction to realizing you have sinned? "Oh well, I can always go to confession." or "Lord, I'm so sorry, I'm going to try to do better." or "This is just who I am, God loves me anyway."
When was the last time you did an examination of conscience? When you really looked at the whole of your day, your life - not just actions, but thoughts and attitudes, and thought about where things have gone wrong and how you can work to fix them?
Do you think of Confession as grace to help you do better or magic that makes you not sin anymore? Does this attitude inform how you live our your days of trying to be a good follower of Christ?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I'm sorry I hurt you Lord."
"I want to follow you more closely."
"I love you."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Examine your life today and then ask the Lord for forgiveness. If you've committed a mortal sin get yourself to confession before Sunday Mass - even if you have a busy Saturday, this is important. Then resolve to examine your life each night followed by praying the Act of Contrition asking the Lord for forgiveness and resolving to do better tomorrow.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Jim Lundgren, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.
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