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).
Have you ever had a craving so big you dropped everything you were doing to satisfy it? Maybe it’s a monterrey chicken taquito from 7-Eleven, a Chick-Fil-A sweet tea, or just some good ice cream. Whatever that craving is, it seems to be so easy for us to fall into satisfying that craving. As human beings, we find ease and comfort in filling and satisfying our cravings on almost a daily basis. It becomes easier and easier as we give in each time until eventually we start to feel trapped and controlled by our cravings. It’s amazing how quickly the simple “yes” we give to the desires of our flesh lead us to slavery.
Today we hear good news in our battle against this slavery, “we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.” In other words, we have no obligation to live according to the desires of our bodies! Even if Chick-Fil-A is staring you down and your body is aching with every fiber to just get one thing, St. Paul is telling us that we don’t have to give in. We don’t have to live this way at all.
We are free from the desires of our flesh because the Spirit of God dwells within us! God knows that the deepest desires we have can only be filled by a life with Him, but He knew we would struggle to access those deep desires because of our flesh. God knows us so well that He planned to give us a way to leave our earthly desires behind in order to seek and fill the ultimate desire of our hearts- Love.
The Spirit of God is not one that leads to fear or to slavery; if we live according to the Holy Spirit and begin to say “yes” little by little, we won’t find ourselves feeling trapped or controlled as we do with earthly desires. The Spirit will bring us freedom from our enslavement to earthly pleasures. If we begin to say “yes” to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in our lives as much as we say yes to Taco Bell, we will become holy men and women! God doesn’t desire His children to become slaves cut off from His love; He desires us to be free and in relationship with Him.
Living by the Holy Spirit and not the flesh leads to life and to freedom for all of eternity- this is our inheritance. The next time you start to feel that big craving, invite the Holy Spirit to help you choose life and freedom over slavery and death!
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 is enslaving you? What cravings do you find most difficult to resist and usually succumb to that keep you from God?
How can you invite the Holy Spirit into your heart when temptation arises?
What do you need to change in your life to be more open to the strength and freedom that the Holy Spirit brings into your heart?
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."
"Free my heart."
"I want more of 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?
Resist temptation today. Pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for the strength and guidance to overcome slavery to sin and choose to grow in your relationship with God.
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 Adam Smyth, a high school youth minister at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Ellicott City, MD.