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).
“God bless you,” I heard him say it as I walked right past. I was heading to the movies like I did most Saturdays and there was a homeless man on the corner. Normally, I’d smile say hello and keep walking but today I didn’t even acknowledge his greeting. I sat through my movie, but I couldn’t shake the thought of this man. I knew I needed to talk to him, but I didn’t know why. I left the theater and he was still there where I saw him two hours prior. “God bless you,” I heard as I walked past him again on the way to my car. I climbed the stairs to the roof of the parking garage, got in my car, got out of my car and walked back down to the street. I knew I needed to talk to him. I was nervous to have a conversation, even a brief conversation. I felt God calling me out of my love of comfort.
Often times when we think of fasting we think of something simple to give up; technology, candy or sleeping in. Not that these fasts are easy, but they don’t often go beyond just being a small annoyance. The latter half of the reading from Isaiah explains a deeper kind of fast, a fast that calls us out of our comfort, a fast that can change the lives of others. The prophet calls us to release the bound unjustly, setting free the oppressed, sharing bread with the homeless and clothing the naked. What do these have in common? God is calling us to active, intentional love. God is calling us from our love of comfort. It’s challenging, and it’s scary to put yourself out there to do right by others, beyond the bare minimum.
Isaiah says though that if you do this, the light shall break forth like the dawn. The Lord will be present and call out to you. It’s worth it.
I doubted it. I let the fear of being raw keep me from following the call to show the man his dignity, but the Lord is patient. After walking back down, I walked up to the man and with a confidence that could only be from the Holy Spirit I told Him I knew that he was hungry, but I didn’t want to just give him money and leave his heart hungry. I invited him to pray, and to thank God for the gifts that he’d been given. I handed him some money for dinner and asked him to pray for me, assuming that he’d agree and I’d go on my merry way having finally done what God invited me to do. But no, this man pulled me in for a hug and began to cry out to God in thanksgiving for my having stopped, and he prayed for me in great depth as he held me.
In all reality, the act of stopping for a time with this man wasn’t difficult but my heart is stubborn and it’s easy to run for a simpler sacrifice to make myself feel better. However, Isaiah is right. I said yes, albeit reluctantly, and flowing from that the Lord was made incredibly present to me and I knew in the depth of my core that the Lord was with me. We need not google a list of things to fast from, instead open wide your eyes and see the many hearts around you that could be made full from your intentional love.
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.
Have you ever experienced intentional love? Someone going out of their way to help you? How did that experience remind you of Christ?
Was there ever a time that you thought God was calling you to share His love with someone but you chickened out? What happened?
How is God calling you out of your comfort zone to show His love to someone else?
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.
"How He loves us."
"Love your neighbor."
"Here I am."
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?
Commit an intentional act of love today. Go out of your way to show someone God's love. Once you commit the act of love, ask that person to pray with you.
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 Robert Blood, seminarian of the Diocese of Rockford.