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 we celebrate the feast day of the Visitation. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard this story from the Gospel of Luke about a thousand times. I could rattle off the words of Mary’s Magnificat (her response to Elizabeth’s prize) without having to look. And yet, when I read this so familiar story, do I truly understand the significance of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth?
Reading it again with a gaze of prayer, the thing that stuck out to me the most was the part that says: “Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” Mary set out and traveled in haste.
This passage comes right after the appearance of the angel Gabriel, where she gave her yes to becoming the Mother of God. In that moment, Jesus became flesh within her. And instead of lingering where she was to enjoy the indwelling of God or keeping the great graces she was experiencing to herself, she set out in haste to serve her cousin Elizabeth.
As Catholics, we get to receive God within us every time we go to Mass. Sometimes our prayer life is so good that we feel that intimacy with Him really clearly, while at other times, it’s harder to feel or understand that. Mary is a great example for us of how to respond no matter which of these realities we feel as we receive our God.
Mary must have felt both a great joy at the news that she would carry the Messiah and also a great apprehension. She knew what the angel had told her, but it was too soon for her to feel the baby move within her, to know for sure that she was actually pregnant. She had to step forward in faith, to fill in the gaps of her limited human understanding with faith that went beyond what she could understand. And feeling both of these things, she went in haste to serve another.
This is the model that we are called to follow: to set out in haste after receiving our Lord to serve one another. In times of consolation, where our faith makes it easy to understand and feel the presence of the Lord in our lives, this service can be easy. But in times of desolation, when it’s harder to feel or understand Jesus within us, this can be harder to do. In those times, let us look to the example of Our Lady, who didn’t waste a moment in pouring out what she had received to others despite the unbelievable things that had happened to her.
Let us go in haste to share the God who loves us enough to let us receive Him with each person that we meet.
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 your initial reaction after receiving good news? What is your initial reaction after receiving the Eucharist? Are those two reactions different or similar?
Who do you go in haste to serve? What makes serving easier or harder for you?
How can you become more like Mary in the story of the Visitation?
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.
"Go in haste to serve."
"Grant me the desire to serve."
"Help me step forward in faith."
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?
Joyfully hasten to share the Good News of the Eucharist and the Gospel Message with a friend today.
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 Catie Destatte, a St. Paul's Outreach Missionary at University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN.
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