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).
I’m not going to lie, I had to reread Paul’s message a few times before I finally understood what he was trying to say.
When you look at everything going on with the Galatians and St. Paul when he wrote this letter, St. Paul was delivering a real smack-down to the Galatians. While it’s kind of funny to see Paul refer to an entire community as “[y]ou stupid Galatians!” (Galatians 3:1), it’s a lot less funny when you look at the context and see exactly what was happening. Essentially, the Galatians were so focused on following the laws that they were forgetting about Christ. They found their own dignity through the law, so much so that they were in danger of abandoning the faith that St. Paul showed them in the first place.
While the Galatians were so focused on proving themselves through their actions, Christ isn’t calling us to be perfect; He’s calling us to be personal. Rather than perfection, our end goal as Christians is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, knowing that the love for God defines us more than anything we could ever do for ourselves. Without that relationship, we’re left much like the Galatians, trying to “earn” our own salvation and forgetting why we do this in the first place.
But that’s reason 8,434,901,327 why Jesus’s teachings were so controversial; it challenged the idea of an impersonal God who demands only the best, and argued instead that God calls us to be better, yes, but He more importantly calls us to be His children. He calls us to love, to be loved, and to act from that love. We don’t have to be constantly running around trying to prove ourselves with grades, goals, baskets, awards, or academics: our worth is already defined in the love that God has for us.
The Galatians didn’t fully understand this, and some days I’m right there with them. But the best way to challenge this mindset is by putting aside all the things to “do,” and just “be.” Go sit in a chapel, in your room, or any quiet place you can, and just talk to God. You’re mad at Him? Tell Him. You’re excited? Tell Him. Happy, sad, content, whatever it is, tell Him. God wants to hear whatever you have to say to him, and don’t worry: He’s a big boy, so He can take whatever you might throw at Him.
Bottom line is this: God’s not calling you to be perfect, He’s calling you to be personal. For some, that might be equally as challenging, but it’s infinitely worth it.
Do well, yes. But do it with (and for) Christ.
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 define yourself by how well you "perform" for God? What would change if you were to define yourself as a beloved child of God?
When is the last time you put everything else aside to just "be?" To be with the Lord as you are? Try to get to that place in your prayer time today.
Have a conversation with our Lord about your personal relationship with Him. How do you desire to grow in intimacy with Him?
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, draw me closer."
"Lord, I am Yours."
"Take all that I am."
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?
As you hit moments of discouragement today, remember that you are a beloved child of God, and you are not defined by your failures. Each time that happens, make a silent prayer of thanksgiving for His ever-present love.
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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 Tatiana Schaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne studying Engineering and Psychology.