Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
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).
What a time to be alive. There’s no other way to describe it. From the first reports of coronavirus to the unbelievable measures we’ve had to enact to stop its spread over the past two weeks, it all seems too crazy to be real. For us Catholics, we of course have the added blow of many of us having public Masses suspended for at least the next three weeks. When it seems like the whole world is crumbling and that there is nothing we can do besides sit in our homes, where are we supposed to turn?
The Word of God always has a penchant for striking at the heart exactly when it’s needed, and the readings for Mass today are no exception, especially today’s psalm: “I am the Lord your God: hear my voice”. The whole psalm speaks of how our Lord is constantly yearning for us and for our God and if we would but heed His voice and listen to Him He would give us an abundance of relief and peace. There are two particular points, however, I want to flesh out given what we’re going through today.
First, when the Psalmist invokes the first commandment, “There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship any alien god”. Perhaps this is a sliver of goodness we can find in all this chaos: the Lord really is breaking down our false gods and sense of control. Things like work, school, money, gluttony (i.e. having whatever food we want whenever we want it), it really is a purifying time for us where we are being allowed to see what matters most to us and to have the Lord invite us to be purged of that in order to know Him more.
Second, this psalm invokes a common theme between God and Israel: God speaks, but Israel doesn’t listen. Particularly, the incident at Meribah is invoked. If you remember from the Mass readings last Sunday, the incident at Meribah is where the Israelites, after having just been freed from slavery in Egypt, are now wandering the desert and complaining to God of thirst. The reason I bring this up is because we find ourselves in a similar spot. These are unprecedented times yes, and we deserve to feel some sense of lament or grief. But we also have to continually stop and ask ourselves: even in spite of this, what are my blessings? Even though things seem terrible now, how has God blessed me in the past and how is He continuing to bless me even now. Praise God that in our country we have more ready access to provisions and things like clean water, hot water, and heating in a time such as this.
God is at work and He knows what He is doing. That is much easier said than internalized to be sure, but it’s true. Even in a time such as this, the Lord is at hand, calling out to us and inviting us to rest in His peace and calm. So today, in your prayer, maybe take a few moments not to count your anxieties, but to count your blessings and to hear the voice of God calling you deeper and deeper into His own heart, shunning the things of this world and carving out time for the one who loves you without end. Know of my prayers for all of you. AMDG.
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.
Are you diving into despair and hopelessness thinking that the Lord is ignoring us during this difficult time?
Have you remembered what you're grateful for? The ways the Lord has blessed you? In particular during this time, a special grace that you wouldn't receive otherwise?
Do you have a calming routine? Something you can do when anxiety takes over?
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.
Breath Jesus in, asking for his blessings and mercy.
Breath Anxiety out, giving Him your worries.
Breath Jesus in, letting his peace setting into your heart.
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?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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 Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.
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