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).
Today's Carpe Verbum reflects on both the first and the second reading. I know, so much to read, but stay with me. Read them both, they are shortish, I promise. And both carry messages of joy and hope that our world so desperately needs.
That's the theme of our readings today and of this Third Sunday of Advent. On the third Sunday of Advent, we wear wear rose (looks like pink), we light that pink candle, and, as someone who can proudly say she does a whole load of pink laundry, I don't think there's a more joyful color. All of Advent seems to be aglow with this joyful anticipation that we celebrate on this Sunday which is called Gaudate Sunday, from the word that means "rejoice!". Christmas lights are everywhere, the Advent wreath is now 75% lit, presents are starting get to wrapped, and we are patiently waiting for our Savior. We are waiting to celebrate His birth, but also, we are waiting to celebrate His coming again. In the midst of that waiting, the Church calls us to rejoice, to be filled with joy, not looking past our waiting but right in the midst of the waiting and the call to patience.
I don't know about you, but I've got the joy part down; it's the patience part I struggle with. It is hard not to dive fully into everything related to Christmas. I used to drive my mom nuts by shaking my Christmas presents as soon as they appeared under the tree. I never went snooping for them because I didn't actually want to know what I got, but I did want to shake and guess and be excited. It wasn't too long before she caught on and started putting random game pieces in boxes with my presents just to throw me off. That only made the game more fun, more joyful.
But, we need both this Advent: patience and joy. Just as the Israelites were waiting for their Savior, and the prophets told the that His presence would be met with flower blooms and a bountiful harvest, we are waiting now to celebrate His birth. Isaiah talks about how, with the Lord, our weakness will be made strong; and Jesus’s coming does that. He comes to forgive our sins and reunite us with our Father. We now are able to read these words knowing that they were fulfilled with the birth of Christ. The Israelites, though, were patiently waiting for hundreds of years, and we must learn something from them.
In James’s letter, he is also telling the people to wait with hope. These words are still meant for us today. The early Christians thought Jesus’s second coming would be immediate; today, we seem to shrug it off as something for the future.
Jesus' second coming could be today, it could be tomorrow. We must prepare our hearts, and we must be strong as we wait. We know what our Lord has promised us - now, like the Israelites, we must be patient as we await the fulfillment of those promises. We were made for the promise of heaven, not to be overwhelmed by earthly distractions. We must continue to be joyful, because we know how good The Lord’s promises are. But, we also must be patient and not let ourselves be distracted as we continue to wait for those promises to come true.
And so, today, we remember the patience of the Israelites as we wait to celebrate the birth of our savior, and as we continue to await His second coming. As we wait today, let's find the joy of the Lord in our patience and our focus on the Lord.
Happy Joyful Sunday!
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 has stuck out to you so far in this Advent season as we wait for the birth of the Lord?
Which one do you struggle the most with - the joy or the patience? Why is that particularly difficult for you? How can you work on it?
Over the next few weeks, what is the Lord asking you to do in order to grow in patience as you wait for Christmas? How can you avoid the craziness of this season and focus your heart and mind on 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.
"I wait with joy."
"Lord, come and save us."
"Be patient until the coming of the Lord."
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?
Find a way to actively focus on your waiting over the next few days. As we await for the birth of the Lord, what can you deny yourself today in order to grow in patience and look towards the fulfillment of the Lord's promises to 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 Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.