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).
“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.”
Joy, love, and commandments.
No, this is not a game of “one of these things is not like the others.”
For many of us, we might hear Jesus’ words today and find them a little bit harsh. Commandments may feel like a restricting concept, or maybe not as inviting as the other ways we talk about the unconditional love of God. But Jesus says today, “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete,” and that through the commandments “you will remain in my love,” so what exactly do commandments have to do with love and joy?
If you could have spoken to me while I was in middle school and asked me what I needed to be happy, I’m not quite sure what I would have told you. I probably would have wanted more of an allowance and not to have curfew so that I could do what I want, when I wanted, and be able to pay for it too.
If you asked me what a happy life would look like as an adult, I guess I would have wanted the “grown up” versions of the same things: my own house, a nice car, a good job, people who respect me, money that’s all mine that I could do whatever I want with. Essentially, at both ages I would have defined happiness as independence: the ability to do what I want to do, and not rely on anybody else.
Now that I’m a bit older and I’ve gotten a bit of life experience (not to mention a wife and child on the way) I’ve learned that the exact opposite of my version of happiness was actually true.
It’s not about independence, it’s about interdependence.
It’s not about freedom from responsibility, it’s about freedom to live virtuously.
It’s not about not relying on anybody, it’s about knowing that I can do nothing without God and I can rely on Him.
Happiness and joy don’t express themselves in doing whatever feels right next, they express themselves in living out your commitments fully and joyfully: commitments to faith, family, vocation, and community.
Jesus isn’t saying that if we follow the commandments closely enough then we will find happiness. He is saying that committing to God’s commandments itself is a life of joy and love. God doesn’t give us commands because he wants to see how closely we can follow instructions, but because he who created life itself knows best how to live it, and he wants us to enjoy our lives here as a foretaste of what we have in store for us in eternity with him.
Jesus is the perfect incarnation of faithfulness to the Father’s commandments. Let us strive to be faithful to everything we know that God is asking of us today.
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 do you think you need to be happy? Where do God and His commandments fit into your expectations?
How do you view God's commandments? Do you see committing to the commandments as a way to live a life of joy and love?
How could living the commandments help you be more virtuous and loving today?
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 are love."
"Help me live in your love."
"Help me follow you."
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?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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 Chris O'Hara, an evangelist in Canada.
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.