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).
52 days until Christmas. My buddy Joe loves Christmas and keeps a countdown on his computer. During class he flashes me the updated number of days; he gets so excited about Christmas that he can’t help but want to share some of that enthusiasm with me.
Paul today shares his excitement about life with Christ. He writes a letter telling the Philippians all about it. If Paul could narrow down the countdown to when he would go to heaven to be with the good Lord, I’m sure he would’ve chiseled it out on a stone tablet and showed everybody.
I asked Joe what it is about Christmas that he loves so much. He told me he loves having family together. The music is joyful. There is a warmth in sharing gifts with those we love. But I realized, all of the things he mentioned aren’t just available on Christmas. We can share in that Christmas spirit year-round. We can listen to joyful music. Share gifts with those we love. Gather family together just because. If we allow ourselves to keep grasping for that day, way in the future, where things will be better, we might miss the fact that if we open our eyes the now too could be blessed.
The same goes for our friend Paul—he realized that his presence in those communities was a beautiful reflection of life with Christ. Why do we long for heaven though? We are with Jesus. We are free to live in joyful unity. Love overflows beyond any expectation. But we can share in that life of perfection even now.
The joy of unity with Jesus doesn’t start when we get to heaven. The overflowing love shared doesn’t only make sense in the afterlife. Living life in fulfillment begins now. It’s good to hope for the life that is to come; it’s the ultimate goal of our very existence. But if we close our eyes to the world around us, the brothers and sisters around us, as we hope for that life we might miss out on the reality that Christ is present in you, with you, and for you right now.
Joe’s Christmas reminders to me prompt me to choose joy. His childlike presence spreads the spirit which makes him love Christmas so much; and then it’s like he passes it on to me, and then down the line. We have that opportunity as Christians. Smile. Talk of your excitement about eternal life with Jesus. Live life in joyful anticipation. Others will see your deep heartfelt joy, and then both of you will receive a foretaste of the ultimate sweetness that is to come.
It’s an interesting balance that Paul speaks of, hoping for heaven while living life to its fullness on earth. It all comes down to one truth: life is Christ, and death is gain. When we choose to live life fully, we are spreading Christ’s love. Yet, we don’t cling to this world because in death we too will be with 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.
What are things that you look forward to, things that you countdown to well in advance? Why do you get so excited about those things?
How can you allow Christ's love to be so present to your life here and now that you begin to experience the joy and the unity offered by him in eternity?
In what ways is God calling you today to turn away from things that bring death into your life - sin, selfishness, pride, etc. - and instead seek him in humility and truth?
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.
"Life is Christ."
"Death is gain."
"My life is yours, 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 the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Make a point of seeking a time to share your joy in Christ with someone today. Maybe it's just being a good friend, maybe it's seeking out a friend you know is having a hard time, maybe it's telling your family about why your faith is so important to you. Wherever and however it is, find a time today to share the joy of your life in Christ.
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 Deacon Robert Blood, seminarian and transitional deacon of the Diocese of Rockford.
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