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).
A couple years ago I was incredibly blessed to live in the Holy Land for 10 weeks! I was in Bethlehem for a month, Jerusalem for a month, and also spent some days in Nazareth and Galilee. I have to say that it was an incredible time and I loved visiting the holy sites because each place that Jesus touched is accompanied by a big beautiful Church. The place where Jesus was born, there is a big beautiful Church built over the location. The place of the crucifixion and the tomb, there is another big beautiful Church. The site where Jesus proclaimed the beatitudes, yet another Church. So as we traveled from place to place I loved being able to pray at each site inside of a big beautiful Church.
Then one day I heard that we were going to the site were Jesus was baptized and I thought, "Man this is going to be incredible! I have seen so many beautiful Churches on all the holy sites and I am sure this one will be baller!" Our bus pulls up to parking lot of the river Jordan and they walk us over to a small river that is only about 15 feet across. As the river is moving I noticed that the water is incredibly dirty and all the grass is overgrown and I think, "Is this it?!!! Is this where Jesus was baptized?!!! Where is the beautiful Church? This is just dirty water!" I stood there disappointed and wondered why millions of people would come each year to see dirty gross water with overgrown shrubs and then I realized that the reason they come is because God touched this dirty water! You see God became man not in a perfect clean home, but rather in a cave with a manger. God wasn't baptized in a perfectly clean river, rather in a dirty overgrown one. God desires to come to us in all of our dirtiness and He desires to encounter our brokenness so much that it is transformed like that dirty water.
Because of this, people no longer see a dirty stream when they go to the river Jordan rather; they see a holy transformed site that God touched. Jesus can also encounter the fullness of your dirtiness and transform it so radically that you no longer look at yourself as something dirty, broken, and as something unattractive wondering why people would want to even come to you. Rather He desires to transform you so much that even your brokenness is a place that God has touched and made beautiful... will you let Him in? Will you let Him make the dirty water in your life a beautiful font of mercy?
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 you look at your life what do you see? Do you see the "beautiful Churches" in the moments God has worked in your life or do you still just see the dirty water?
What are some areas of your life that God wants to continue to turn dirty water into a beautiful Church? Even the areas that you think are too gross, broken, or worthless, He still wants to make something beautiful out of those areas.
How can God use those transformation in your life to bring about transformation in others?
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.
"I give it all to You God, trusting that You'll make something beautiful out of me!"
"Transform me Lord."
"This is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
We cannot earn God's love or His favor. We can simply let Him transform us into more of what He created us to be. Make a life graph of moments where God has transformed the dirty river of your life into the most beautiful images of His love. Write this out and make an effort to recognize and thank God for all the times He has helped you become more perfectly 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 Fr. Kyle Manno, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.