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 great image in today’s Gospel, John the Baptist – imprisoned and soon to be facing his death – hears of the ministry of Jesus and sends his disciples to confirm who Jesus is. John’s whole adult ministry was an Advent type ministry – it was a preparing and it was a waiting for the one who was to come. John was not waiting for the Messiah to be born, but he was waiting for the Messiah to begin His mission: he lived in anticipation of this and actively worked to prepare others to receive the mission of this Messiah. In prison, John’s waiting was heightened by the reality of his life drawing to a close. Will his waiting be fulfilled during his lifetime, or would his life’s work be fulfilled after his death? From this longing, John ask’s his question to Jesus.
This longing of John the Baptist is a longing that touches us all this Advent Season. We are not waiting for Jesus to be born, that has happened, but we are waiting. On the one hand, as a Christian community, we are waiting for Jesus’ second coming when His saving mission will be brought to fulfillment. On the other hand, more personally, we all have aspects of our lives where we are waiting upon Jesus’ coming and upon His action. Perhaps it is with a sinful habit, or help with an estranged family member, or a longing for a church or community evil to find justice, forgiveness and healing, or maybe our vocation that we feel called to – like marriage – seems impossible in the moment because the right person seems so elusive. Sometimes this waiting can even feel like a prison, as we taste our own limitations in bringing about an end to our Advent of waiting.
The challenge within this kind of waiting is that a hopelessness and a pessimism can creep in to our spiritual life as we wait. Thoughts, and subtle temptations, can enter our minds as we wait upon God’s action, thoughts like, “why is God so slow to act in my life” or “has God forgotten me as I wait;” or “can God even heal/save me in this?” However, today’s readings challenge us to wait in hope and trust in God’s plan. John hears of Christ’s actions, and he hears in these deeds a glimmer of God’s Messianic fulfillment and he asks his disciples to ask Jesus about it. Jesus answers by pointing to His deeds – look what is occurring, that is God’s answer to your question about His action and fidelity. John rests content knowing God’s plan is being worked out, even if its fulfillment is beyond his lifetime – he has hope because he has tasted it’s beginning. So too for us, let us pray with the Psalmist in all of our longing and struggles “Lord, come and save us.” While we wait for the Lord, let us also pray that we can wait like John the Baptist, in hope and trust, that God’s plan, having already begun, is being continued, and will be brought to completion for our good and the good of the world.
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 is one thing that you are having a hard time waiting on God for and why?
How can you learn to trust God more, especially in the moments when it is harder to see His plan?
What does a deeper level of trust look like in your life? How can you achieve that?
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.
"Jesus, I trust in You."
"Lord, come and save us."
"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?
Take a leap of trust today. Contemplate the areas in your life where you need to trust God more, and pray the Litany of Trust today and everyday until Christmas.
(To pray the Litany of Trust, click here to go to the website, or click here to open the pdf)
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 Jon Polce, SJ.
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.