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).
Sometimes, when I'm at Mass on Sundays – and my kids are quiet(ish) enough for me to hear the readings – I try to figure out the connection between all of the readings and struggle. This Sunday will not be one of those Sundays.
I chose Ezekiel's reading to pray through in our Lectio Divina today because it packs quite a punch, but you could hear the themes I'm praying through in really any of the readings: it genuinely matters how you treat those around you, and it's important that you work for their good in addition to your own.
Let's go to Ezekiel:
If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die, ”
and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way,
the wicked shall die for his guilt,
but I will hold you responsible for his death.
That last line! "I will hold you responsible for his death." This prophesy isn't just speaking about physical death; no, it's talking about the death of sin, the real death, the death of hell. This prophesy really is pretty simple: God is speaking to his chosen people and telling them that it is their job to warn those they encounter of the things which will separate them from God for all of eternity; if they don't warn them, they will be punished right with the other!
Honestly, that's a little scary, right?
I think it's important to remember that our God is merciful and knows there are 1,000 things going on in our minds when we have the opportunity to challenge someone else to be better, but it's also important to remember that what we say or do matters. If we come across sin, if we encounter reckless endangering of another's eternal soul, and we say and do nothing, that's not good. Much worse, of course, is our participation, and also worse is our condoning of that sin by laughing it off or supporting it, but even just not saying something is bad. It's really bad; like, it could be eternally bad.
I'm not dwelling on this to get us down, but to remind us of a truth: what we say, and what we do, it really matters. Those around us aren't just randomly there, but they are people placed in our lives to be loved and cared for. We're not all supposed to run up to every person on the streets and tell them about their sin; that's not effective, it's not practical, and it's really not what Jesus wants us to do. In the Gospel today it's clear: go to someone you know and love and call them on for what they've done, but do it one-on-one. That, of course, is so much harder; but it's also really important.
You and I don't need to spend our lives racked with guilt about the sins of those around us, but we do need to be courageously and honestly love our brothers and sisters enough to challenge them, call them on, and refuse to buy into the lives of sin that we see.
Let's learn to truly love, and do so boldly, even when it's really hard. It's going to matter for all of eternity.
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 are some situations where you've been faced with the chance to challenge someone you love to do or be better, but instead kept quiet?
What keeps you back from being an encouraging, positive voice for truth in the lives of those you love?
How can you be an example of true honest love today?
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.
"Teach me to love."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"Come, Holy Spirit."
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?
Be a witness of vulnerable friendship today. If it's new for you and this person to really be vulnerable, don't start by calling them out for their sin, but start by sharing with them a place in your life you want to ask for prayers. In doing so, model for someone you love and truly trust what it looks like to care for one another.
Be gentle and careful about who you share with, but be willing, when it's right, to enter into authentic and honest relationships with people who love the Lord and want you to know him and love him too.
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 Jason Theobald, Executive Director of Carpe Verbum.
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.