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).
Have you ever been so sure that you are right? You know you have the truth on your side even when others – even friends – say you are wrong or get upset with you. It’s often an uncomfortable place to be, and many seek to avoid these situations.
This is where we find Jeremiah today. He has told the Israelites that neither the presence of the temple nor their status as the Chosen People will let them escape the punishment God has for their unlawful moral behavior. He even invoked the embarrassing national history of Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the enemy army. The people are understandably upset with these words, but Jeremiah still stands in the truth despite threats of physical harm by the religious leaders and prophets.
Jeremiah stands firm and doesn’t deny what the people are accusing him of. He isn’t really announcing something new; rather, it’s something very old which had long since been dismissed as obsolete to the leaders of the people. He knows that he is speaking the word of God and that the message will actually benefit Israel and her people.
It’s this confidence in God that I want to look into more. Our seminary formation team often uses the term “interior freedom” when speaking about ideal human living. This interior freedom is simply the knowledge of one’s identity as it stems from his or her relationship with God, which is divine sonship or daughterhood. When a person can rest in this identity, he or she is totally free to live according to the reality God has established. Creativity, inspiration, leadership, friendship – all are possible in their fullness to one who is interiorly free, one who knows his or her identity won’t be lost in failure, setbacks, or fear.
Developing this freedom is not easy and requires some patience to mature. I by no means have it even close to mastered. In the moment, it’s easy assume all the negative outcomes which prevent us from doing the good things God wants. I encourage you, then, to do some examination of situations in which you either succeeded or failed and look for God in those moments. Was the failure really as bad as you assumed it would be? Did you find inspiration from the Spirit or a peace that made things go better than expected? In seeing these things, you are already on your way to being interiorly free.
Jeremiah, like the martyrs who would come later, rested in what had called them to be. “Do with me as seems good and right to you,” he says to those who want him dead. This is where we hope to be – entirely confident in God’s love and plan for us that nothing can damage it.
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.
When have you ever been faced with a situation where you had to stand firm in the confidence that you were doing the right thing, even in the face of difficulty? What gave you the strength to do so?
Today's Scripture reminds us of our divine sonships or daughterhood. What does that relationship to the heavenly Father mean to you?
What are some moments in your life where you saw God present and near to you, either in success or in failure?
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.
"You can set me free."
"I am your child, Father."
"Your plans are good."
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?
Try something scary today – share about your love for Jesus with a strange, apologize to someone you hurt, apply for a job you don't think you're qualified for – and put your confidence in the reality that, whether you succeed or fail, you are a beloved child of the Most High God.
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 Kevin Gregus, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
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