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).
I couldn’t help but laugh when I read the first reading for today. “Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron” and “‘Would that we had died at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!’” I find myself thinking, “Oh, these people are ridiculous. Quit your whining, you annoying, ungrateful people.”
But as I mock and shake my head at the people of Israel, I’m struck by how often I act exactly like them, and about far less. I’m not making my way through a hot desert land without food. I grumble because things aren’t going my way in a relationship or because I don’t want to do my work. I grumble when prayer is dry. Right now I’m in a season of fundraising for my job as a missionary, and my biggest grumbling is about how hard fundraising is or how terribly it’s going -- despite the fact that it’s not going well because I haven’t put in the work that I should.
The responsorial psalm describes it perfectly -- “They tempted God in their hearts by demanding the food they craved. Yes, they spoke against God, saying, ‘Can God spread a table in the desert?’”
And this is how our God responded to their grumblings -- “Yet he commanded the skies above and the doors of heaven he opened; he rained manna upon them for food and gave them heavenly bread.”
There are certain areas of my life that feel like I’m dragging myself through a desert -- my work with fundraising is one of these. And I grumble with disbelief at the Lord -- annoyed that He isn’t turning those deserts into gardens and yet not believing in my heart that He even can (despite all of the times that I’ve seen Him do just that).
Yet our God is so good that instead of writing me off in annoyance, He opens the doors of Heaven and rains down exactly what I need to keep trekking through whatever desert I’ve found myself in. And no matter how dry you may feel, He does the same for you.
What places of your life cause you to grumble? Where do you feel dry and hungry? Bring your grumblings and your disbelief before the Lord and watch for His eagerness to feed 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 have you been grumbling or complaining about lately?
Where do you feel dry and hungry?
How has the Lord fed and provided for you during these times?
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.
"The Lord provides."
"You lead me through the desert."
"I offer up my grumblings and complaints."
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?
When you are tempted to grumble or complain today, offer up a prayer to the Lord instead.
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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 Catie Destatte, a St. Paul's Outreach Missionary at University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN.