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).
The first reading reminds me of children who, in a spirit of generosity, offer a toy that they are playing with to their friend but after some time, realizing that the other child very much enjoys the toy, becomes jealous and starts to snatch the toy back. It is no longer generosity that drives the child but jealousy.
The background to today's first reading is this: Sarah (Abraham's wife) disbelieved God's promise that she was to bear a child, so she told Abraham to take one of the servants and have a child with her. So he and Hagar had a son Ishmael. Mind you, Sarah told him to do that. So then Sarah does end up getting pregnant, because God is faithful to His promises, and she becomes jealous of Ishamel playing with her son Isaac. She realizes that the inheritance promised to Abraham would have to be split between the two sons. We pick up today's reading where she sends Hagar off because of this jealousy and we see God's protection of this woman and her son.
Sarah is acting like one of those little children jealous of the very person whom she was generous to moments before. Silly as it may be, it is a temptation of the fallen human condition and something that we may fall into. We think it will be really cool to teach someone how to play a certain game and all of a sudden he or she is better than us at the very game we taught them and we refuse to play that game with them. Or we introduce two people and they become fast friends pushing us to the side, ouch. And we because frustrated and jealous. Or We make a commitment early in the week for Friday night but then Friday morning someone else invites to something that MIGHT be more fun so we bail on our first commitment.
These...and many more, are ways that we act like Sarah who is acting like a child. Instead of thanking God for the gifts and the talents of someone else or that perhaps the friendship of my friends can bring about a great holiness in all of us or even letting my 'yes' mean 'yes' and my 'no' mean 'no' when I make plans and commitments, we often become jealous and enraged and try to snatch back what our generous actions were the source of.
So let us ask God for the grace of "detachment." That is, to be free of any jealousy or other preconceived notions that cause us to try to control the situations in our lives that are really not ours to control.
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 the difference between jealousy and generosity?
When is the last time you experience jealousy? How did you handle it?
How can you practice detachment and give your jealousy over to the Lord?
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.
"Help me practice detachment."
"I want to be generous, not jealous."
"God is with me."
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?
Today, whenever you feel jealous offer up a prayer for that person instead. Try to continue to do this for the next several days so that it becomes a habit.
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. Sean Grismer, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.