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 tend to think I’m not capable of much, especially when it comes to doing what the Lord asks me to do. I’m just a young, little, baby youth minister, how am I supposed to do big things for the Kingdom?
And ya know what?
Jesus doesn’t disagree with me. He knows I’m not capable of doing these big things, changing hearts and minds, baptizing like a million people (way to go John the Baptist!). But whatever Jesus is asking me to do, he isn’t asking me to do it by myself. He sends his Holy Spirit to use me for such a mission (not baptizing though, gotta hit up those priests and deacons for that).
In today’s Gospel, my heart was struck when I heard “Prepare the way of the Lord.” First, I’m thinking “what a beautiful mission the Lord is calling me to,” which was quickly followed by my lil' soul wondering, “uuhhh...how exactly am I supposed to do this?” That seems like such an important mission for a big soul like St. John the Baptist. But the more I read and prayed with the Gospel, the more Jesus spoke that phrase to my heart, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
John the Baptist did just that, but he didn’t do it by himself. He was open to the inspirations and workings of the Holy Spirit. People don’t just flock to a guy asking to be baptized because he’s wearing camel hair, a leather belt, and eating honey-coated locusts and saying, “yo Jesus is on his way, eta: tbd.” The people flocked to him asking to be baptized because of his zeal, because of the love he so clearly displayed, because they saw the Holy Spirit within him.
You know who else was like that? Mama Mary. And today, being the usual date of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (it's moved to tomorrow this year because it's a Sunday, but it's normally December 8th), we get to celebrate her! She is such a perfect example of what it means to “prepare the way of the Lord.” By her simple fiat she, quite literally, prepared the way for Jesus. A small, humble, meek 15 year old girl who said yes to God, was filled with the Holy Spirit and perfectly received the gift of Jesus.
A week ago we began our journey of Advent. A time of preparation and waiting in anticipation for our Lord to come. A time where we are truly to “prepare the way of the Lord.” If you’re like me and this seems daunting because you feel like your little soul can’t accomplish something so big and so important … just stop and take a deep breath. It’s okay. All you need is the Holy Spirit, and there is never a time when someone has prayed “Come Holy Spirit” and he has not immediately been at their side, which means you CAN do this.
But first we need to look at where we need to prepare. Maybe you’ve gotten all your shopping done, maybe you’ve started an Advent devotional where you read a little reflection everyday, maybe you’re preparing to see ALL of your family members over the next month. That’s all great, don’t stop doing those things; but are you preparing the way to your heart? Friends, Jesus is coming. He’s coming to you, to your heart, and he’s coming soon. Are you ready?
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 Jesus calling you to anything today that feels big and difficult? How are you going to focus on inviting the Holy Spirit to lead you as you seek to follow God's will?
How did your first week of Advent go in regards to preparing your heart for Christmas? What are some highlights from what God did in your heart this week?
What does God want to tell you today about your own life through the examples of St. John the Baptist and Mary?
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.
"Come, Holy Spirit."
"I am little before you, Lord."
"All things are possible with you."
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?
Re-resolve today to make the most of this Advent season. Whatever things you decided to do in order to pray effectively and prepare for Christmas, re-commit to them today. If you didn't make any resolutions, it's not too late! Go ahead and choose something today that you can do each day during this important season to help your heart truly prepare for Christmas.
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 Anna Roche, the High School Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle in Crystal Lake, IL.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.