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).
What book of the Bible is written by Jesus?
The book of Sirach –written by Jesus, son of Sirach! (Jesus was a fairly common Jewish name).
Besides being the source of that fun piece of trivia, the book of Sirach has a lot to offer us. I remember when I was first starting to read the Bible seriously, I stumbled across the book of Sirach. At that point in my life, I had lost direction. I was trying to figure out how to live a satisfying life. The Book of Sirach, chock full of practical and relevant advice, really helped me. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t had the chance.
In today’s passage, the author speaks on God’s judgement. “The eyes of God are on those who fear him; he understands man’s every deed.” At first read this statement is intimidating, but we know God is both just and merciful. God is able to understand us better than we can ourselves. He knows our weaknesses and knows our heart. If we want to avoid sin, but are tripping up due to weakness, addiction, or past wounds, God gets it.
However, the passage then makes an important point: “No one does he command to act unjustly, to none does he give license to sin.” Though God understands our weakened human condition, we must not justify our own sin. Each time we fall, we should tell God we’re sorry and resolve in our hearts to avoid sin in the future.
There are certainly people who are too scrupulous—they believe lawful behavior to be sinful—and many who are too lax and believe the opposite. If we’re trending toward either category, we should chat with someone holy. In the meantime, let’s all take a pause to examine our hearts and our consciences. I pray that we can all be honest with God and trust in his incredible love and 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.
Do you find yourself more often overly scrupulous or overly lax? Why do you think that is?
How can you find a better balance between trusting in God's mercy and respecting His justice?
Who can you turn to today as a spiritual director or guide to help you navigate this path?
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.
"Jesus I trust in You."
"Lord, have Mercy."
"Come Holy Spirit."
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?
Find a spiritual director. If you have one already, go visit them soon. If you don't then start asking around (I suggest a priest you feel comfortable talking to) and let them help you walk this path of mercy and justice.
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 Liam Brady, an accountant in Chicago.
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