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).
Jesus loves simplicity.
Have you ever watched a juggler who seemed to be doing perfectly fine just as he adds the final ball which tips the scales and leads quickly to everything falling apart? Have you ever tried to build a house of cards and then, just as you’re about to celebrate pulling off a feat of paper engineering, watched as everything collapses in an instant?
Sometimes Lent can feel like that for me. Throughout the rest of the year I am as busy as I can handle, juggling lots of balls and carefully placing one card on top of the other. I go about my day balancing the demands of life, relationships, personal prayer, reading scripture, regularly giving alms, brushing twice a day and trying to keep my bed made in the morning, and all of the sudden Lent comes around and I’m supposed to add more fasting, more prayer, and more giving?! A few days after Ash Wednesday I’m ready to say, “Jesus, I already feel maxed out and I don’t have anything else to give.”
Right as we’re tempted to look at the complexities and clutter of our lives and throw in the towel, we are reminded that Jesus is the master of simplicity. With his piercing eyes of love, He is able to see through the fog of confusion and get right to the heart of the matter.
The Jewish people were no strangers to complexity. By the time Jesus came around, they were regularly practising over 600 prescribed ritual laws and they come to Jesus quizzing him, asking what the greatest commandment is.
“The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
In the midst of the hundreds of laws that the Jews struggled to follow, Jesus is able to sum up all of life into two simple commands: Love God, and love your neighbor. Jesus loves simplicity.
Catherine Doherty, foundress of the Madonna House movement, coined the phrase, “I am Third,” which can be found all the walls of Madonna House chapters all over the world. It’s meant to be a reminder that in our lives God always comes first, our neighbor second, and ourselves third.
The Church is not trying to heap extra complexity onto your lives this Lent! The Church is inviting you to go back to the basics. Through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving we learn to place God back at the center of our lives, and learn how to live in service to our brothers and sisters around us. For me, Lent serves as a much needed annual reminder that “I am Third.” It’s very simply really, and Jesus loves simplicity.
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 is your lent going? Are you feeling burned out? How are you sacrificing?
How can you put God first and others second?
Where are you making your faith life too complex?
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 loves simplicity."
"Love God, love one another."
"I am Third."
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?
Reflect on the phrase "I am Third." Write it down and put it somewhere where you can look at it each day.
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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