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).
Chalk today's Gospel up to relatable and frustrating all at the same time.
Jesus is teaching his disciples, and says "sin will occur." For sinners like us (I think I can say 'us' here), this is comforting thought; Jesus knew we wouldn't be perfect, and that gives me some hope to work with him to move past my sin and not be brought super low when I do sin.
Then Jesus turns almost immediately to one of the more challenging things he says, challenging us to realize that it is VERY bad to be the one who leads another to sin. In fact, it'd be better if a millstone were tied around our neck and we were thrown into the sea. Jesus is getting fired up! Then, he immediately turns to forgiveness. It'd be easy to read Jesus' comments about millstones and get mad at the people who have done something wrong towards us, wouldn't it? Jesus isn't going to let us stay there. What does he tell us to do? You know the answer here: to forgive. Over, and over, and over, and over. Never stop forgiving. Keep forgiving.
After that whirlwind reflection from Jesus, the disciples understandably seem a bit shaken. You can imagine them thinking to themselves: what would it be like to be a person who understands that sin will happen, but fights as if their life depended upon it to never influence another person to sin, and then when someone messes up is willing to forgive them EVERY time? Likely realizing that they aren't there yet, the disciples make a request: increase our faith.
Here's where, when I meditate on this passage and try to put myself in the place of the disciples, I can't possibly imagine spending this time with Jesus because you just never knew what he was going to say. They asked for faith. What does He say?
If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell that tree to uproot itself and replant itself in the sea and it would listen!
Today's challenges from Jesus:
- Be merciful with yourself when you sin
- Never lead others to sin
- Forgive recklessly, over and over
- Have faith that literally can move mountains
That's it, huh Jesus?
One of the most amazing things about our God is that we can hold all of these things in tension. The same God who suffered and died on the cross knows that faith would let us command and control the wind and the waves if it is God's will. Nothing is impossible for God, but also nothing is guaranteed except that he will never abandon us or forsake his love for us.
The life of following Jesus is an adventure where you and I are going to be called to radical things we've never imagined. The joy of following Jesus is that, in the end, this person who is able to avoid sin, forgive sinners, and believe in the power of God totally and completely will be us, and the life of that disciple here on this earth and forever in eternity is sure to be better than we've imagined.
Let's pray today for an increase in faith, that we would become the disciples Jesus is calling us to be.
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.
Where do you need an increase in faith? Courage to run to God when you sin? Boldness to bring others to Jesus?
What is one sin you habitually commit? What can you do to work on avoiding that sin?
How is Jesus calling you to radical faith?
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.
"Increase my faith."
"Make my faith radical."
"Forgive me Lord."
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?
How did you follow Jesus yesterday? Where did you fail in following Jesus? How can you do better to follow the Lord 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 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.