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).
It’s that time of year again. The time when we all rush to figure out what we are “giving up” for the next forty days in hopes to come out a better person on the other side. Over the past few years, Lent has become like a competition for me; “let’s see if I can make it all forty days,” I find myself thinking as I wake up on Ash Wednesday. I am going to take a new approach this lent, and I want to invite you to join me.
As we see in today’s Gospel, Jesus is calling us to both pray and fast in secret. It’s not that Jesus doesn’t want anyone knowing what we are doing; rather, He wants all of our prayer and all of our fasting to come from a sincere heart. Wouldn’t you agree that we are the most honest, sincere and vulnerable when no one is watching? It is in this space, this honest, sincere, and vulnerable space, that God wants to encounter us.
So for this lent, yes, I am going to give something up as I always do. But, instead of focusing on that thing, I am going to focus on starting every day with ten minutes of silent prayer. I am going to light a candle, sit on my couch, and encounter my God before the rest of the world wakes up. No one is watching, no one is listening, just me and Jesus.
Will you join me?
This is going to be hard because there are some days when I have to be at work at 6am, and I have a forty-five minute commute. But, I know that this is what the Lord wants.
Lent is not a competition. Lent it is not about a “forty day winning streak." Lent is about a daily encounter with Jesus: so let us make that encounter the first thing we do each day.
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.
Is this daily prayer before you start your day something you are going to commit to this Lent? If not, when, where, and how will you encounter Jesus each and every day this Lent?
How can you use the things you're doing this Lent - including your prayer and fasting - to truly focus on what Lent is all about?
In the quiet and the stillness, how is God trying to encounter and speak to you? How can you be more open to what He is saying in those moments?
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.
"Teach me to pray."
"I choose You this Lent."
"Speak to my heart."
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?
Fast well today, and take time to commit to when and how you will encounter the Lord in a special way each day this Lent.
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. As you'll notice, we have a new format to the lock screen that you'll see to help us keep our focus throughout all of Lent. Purple is the color of this season, and the simplicity reminds us of the spirit of this season. May God bless each of us abundantly this Lent!
Today's prayer was prepared by Connor Flanagan, a Youth Minister and Catholic Musician who lives in St. Paul, MN.