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 two summers before my freshman and sophomore years of school, my grandma and grandpa died, at the ages of 87 and 89 respectively. As the foundation of my large Irish family, their losses left our family sorrowful, but comforted in the legacy of love and faith they left us.
Growing up, my mom had a picture with this Psalm on it in our kitchen. I always remembered it as her favorite Psalm and it has become one of my favorites as well. As we commemorate and pray for the Faithful Departed, I'd like to go through the Psalm as a tribute to my grandparents and as an exhortation to pray for all the Poor Souls in Purgatory on this All Souls' Day.
The first section of verses reminds me of my grandma. She grew up during the Great Depression, worked hard to help provide for her family after World War II, which consisted of ten people living in a three-bedroom house. I never noticed her to be left wanting anything: she was always content with what the Lord deigned to provide her, and her verdant pastures and restful waters was the house in which our family was nurtured and strengthened.
The second section reminds me of my grandpa. He was a Marine in World War II and served as a policeman in Cleveland after the war. I could see in his actions and hear in his words a true sense of courage and masculinity shaped by the Lord's example. His work placed him through many near-fatal experiences, but he persevered through it all in faith, fearing no evil, for the Lord was always at his side and in his heart.
The third section reminds me of the dinners our extended family used to have on Thursday nights at our grandparents' house. The Lord blessed us so abundantly to be able to come together each week to share a meal, to laugh, to cry, to reminisce, and to be together. It was here that we were anointed by the oils of family life, blessed in living out our faith together as a family, which overflowed the cups of our lives super-abundantly.
The final section reminds me of the legacy that my grandparents left our family. They gave us hearts of kindness and goodness that were strengthened by faith and nourished by the Sacraments. I hope and pray that our final resting place will be together again in the house of the Lord forever.
I owe it to my grandma and grandpa, for everything that they gave us, to pray for the repose of their souls if they have not yet attained eternal happiness with God. I exhort all who read this to do the same and to pray for loved ones who have died, for surely they will return the favor for us while they behold the Lord, face to face.
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.
How has the Lord given you "verdant pastures" and "restful waters?" How has He provided for you through the people in your life?
At what points in your life have you walked "in the dark valley?" How did the Lord stay by your side and encourage you to "fear no evil?"
Reflect on a saint you know that embodies today's Psalm for you. Pray for that saint's special intercession today.
Spend some time remembering loved ones who have died. What sort of legacy did they leave? Take the time to pray for each of them.
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.
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."
"Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil; for you are at my side."
"I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come."
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?
Inspired by the saints and loved ones who have gone before you, how can you live your life more like them today? What's one simple thing you can do so one day you can leave a legacy to those whom you love?
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 Kevin Poynton, graduate of the University of Dayton with a Degree in Religious Studies.