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).
Two years ago, I was just returning home from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. For many reasons, that trip feels like a lifetime ago, but we started our pilgrimage in Israel by visiting Caesarea Maritima, the place where St. Paul was held prison and the place we read about in today's first reading. There was Herod's palace, an amphitheater that is still standing, and a village all nestled into this but of coast right on the Mediterranean. St. Paul was moved there after this dispute with the Pharisees and Sadduccees and wrote several letters, for even in prison he still proclaimed the Gospel.
What stands out to me today is the very end of the reading:
"The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome.”
The Lord is telling St. Paul, and is telling all of us, we don't just get to proclaim the Gospel once. We must proclaim it wherever we are. When I was in the Holy Land, I was with one hundred others who were all Catholic, all there for the same reason. But returning home meant that I had to continue to live and preach the gospel. It wasn't enough for St. Paul to just be arrested in Jerusalem. He needed to preach what He believed with all he did. In the same way, it wasn't enough for me to post on Instagram about my experiences, I needed to return and tell people who might not understand or night not believe. I needed to share what it was like to walk in St Paul's and in Jesus's footsteps. I needed to tell others who might never be as lucky to have that experience and have the courage to tell others who might not understand at all.
It takes courage to live out faith. But we're called to live it out in real, authentic ways. From how we speak, treat others, present ourselves. We must represent our faith so that others may experience Jesus though us no matter where we are.
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 will I proclaim the Gospel today?
Where am I afraid to live out my faith?
What do I need in order to live out my faith more boldly?
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.
"Proclaim the Gospel."
"God is with me."
"Grant me courage."
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?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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 Lisa Majernik.
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.