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).
In today's reading, we discover that the Lord usually doesn't speak to us in the wind, earthquake, or fire. In other words, He typically doesn't make Himself known to us in big, loud, mountain-top experiences. His voice is often a soft whisper in our hearts. The question is, are we going to be like Elijah who took the time and patience to listen for that small whispering voice of God?
This is a great opportunity for us to look at Lectio Divina Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate. I think this step might be the easiest or most common for us to overlook or skip. I know I'm guilty of it. Our goal in contemplation is to shut up and listen. But that seems so boring and unproductive, doesn't it? I don't know about you, but a lot of times when I silence myself and try to listen for the whispering voice of the Lord, all I hear are my own thoughts and distractions: What am I going to eat for breakfast? Dang, I have a lot of work to do today. Why does my elbow itch so bad lately? Haha, that was a hilarious episode of Parks & Rec I watched last night! I wonder what would happen if gravity just stopped working all of a sudden?
My mind can wander awfully far. Don't judge me.
Contemplation can be hard, boring, and feel unproductive. At least the other steps of Lectio Divina give me a job to do, right? Like read, talk to God, make a plan, etc. But today's first reading shows us how important it is to be still and wait for God's quiet voice in our hearts, despite how "unproductive" it feels to us.
If you tend to skip over the Contemplation step of Lectio Divina... don't! Lectio Divina teaches us to have a conversation with the Lord, and a necessary part of any conversation is listening. The Contemplation step is the listening step. Spend every day, like Elijah, listening for the quiet voice of our Lord. It's in that whisper that He often communicates with us the most. It's in that silence that we we are often closest to Him.
Want some tips? First, start small. Just spend a minute in silence each day for a week or two. Then raise the bar to two minutes, then three, and so on. Next, prayerfully repeat one of the short phrases we provide you with each day. This will help you to stay focused on the Lord without your mind wandering too far. Finally, keep at it and don't give up. You will continually get distracted or bored. Just turn your heart and mind back to the Lord. Turning back to Him is an act of love in itself.
The Lord is speaking to you. Quiet your heart and listen for His whisper.
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 can you make more time for silence in your day/life so you can listen to God better?
How has it been in the past when you have tried to be silent? How can you listen more in the silence?
How have the times of Contemplation in Carpe Verbum been for you in the past? Come back to this question after Contemplation today and compare it.
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.
"Here I am Lord."
"Help me hear you 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?
Take some time for silence everyday. Go in with no agenda, just sit and listen to the Lord. Use a favorite scripture verse or even better, the name of Jesus, to get your mind back on track if you start to drift. Don't give up, just keep showing up.
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 Dan Wolff, High School Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.