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).
Today is the feast day of a great saint: St. Maximilian Kolbe! St. Maximilian was a heroic Polish priest during World War II who was taken into a concentration camp by the invading Nazis. He experienced harassment and abuse, but never wavered in his faith. When 10 prisoners escaped one day, the Nazis selected 10 men to be starved to death to deter future escape plans. When one of the men who was chosen to die cried out for mercy because he had a wife and children, Kolbe stepped in to take his place. He and spent his time in the starvation chamber leading the other men in prayer and song. He miraculously survived for two weeks without any food or water, glorifying God the entire time, until eventually the guards had him killed by lethal injection. This is a great witness of his love for God and the Gospel, and though we often only hear about this one great act of heroism, St. Maximilian’s heroic death was prepared for by his life of heroic devotion and love of God day-in and day-out.
Where does such a conviction come from? It doesn’t happen spontaneously, but comes from a deep love of God that has been building for many years. As one priest once said, “We may not be called to die a martyr’s death, but we are all called to live a martyr’s life.” Like St. Maximilian Kolbe, we are all called to have the same love and devotion as the martyrs.
The feast of St. Maximilian is paired with a reading about another man of God with heroic virtue. Today’s reading is one that might make wake you up a bit if you were dozing off during Mass. What? Is God making Ezekiel eat a scroll of paper?? Some background: Ezekiel is a prophet who God is sending to the wayward and sinful Israelites, who will remain unrepentant in the face of Ezekiel's message. Ezekiel should have been terrified to go because this mission probably sounded like a death sentence, but he knew God would be with him. God did not rely on Ezekiel’s creativity or ability to captivate people with brilliant speech; he knew that Ezekiel would only be able to fulfill his mission if he were filled with the very Word of God. In the vision in Ezekiel 2-3, God has Ezekiel consume the word of God in the form of a scroll so that he will be able to proclaim it, because you can’t give what you don’t have. God’s own words will be delivered to the people, Ezekiel just needed to be the messenger. Ezekiel received from God in order to be the prophet Israel needed. Likewise, St. Maximilian Kolbe’s sacrifice only came after many years of faith devotion to the priesthood, the Scriptures, and cherishing the Eucharist.
How much time do we spend listening to and consuming the Word of God? Do we consume God’s word in the Scriptures, through personal study and attentive listening at the Mass? Do we consume the Word of God himself, Jesus, in the Eucharist? Today, let's ask for the grace not to panic when God asks great things of us. Like the great saints and prophets, let's rely on God's Word to prepare us for mission.
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.
How do I consume the Word of God?
In what ways is God calling me to be heroic like Ezekiel and St. Kolbe?
What can I do to allow God to use me as his messenger more?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplation
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.
"Help me be more heroic for You."
"Show me how I can die to myself."
"Thank you for your Word."
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?
Do some research into the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe today and write down one specific virtue from his life that you want to emulate. Take that to prayer and ask the Lord to open up your heart to grow in that virtue.
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 Chris O'Hara, an evangelist in Canada.
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