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).
Today begins the Triduum, the holiest three days of the Christian year. Holy Thursday begins the Triduum, with the commemoration of the Lord’s Last Supper where Jesus instituted the Eucharist as the sign and heart of the new covenant between God and humanity.
When was the last time you were able to get to Mass and receive the Eucharist? Yesterday? 1 week? 2 weeks? When was your last supper with the Lord? Did you know when you were there that you long walk up the aisle to receive your Lord and Savior would be your last for the foreseeable future? Will today be the first Holy Thursday where Churches have been closed to public masses in your lifetime? If that is true for you, then perhaps there is an opportunity in prayer today to enter very deeply into this great Holy Day in a surprising and unexpected way.
Without access to the Sacraments – especially the Eucharist – we are in a place similar to the disciples after the Last Supper with Jesus this evening. This night centuries ago, the disciples didn’t know when they would celebrate a meal with the Lord again? When Christ was taken from them, there was chaos, confusion, sadness, disorientation. This is not unlike the spiritual feelings we might feel with the Church’s closed this holiest of weekends.
Let us use this absence of the Sacraments this Holy Thursday to pray for the grace to grow in our longing and appreciation for them. How often did we take the Eucharist for granted, and not attend the Mass, when we had the chance – daily, or weekly? When things that we love are absent, our appreciation and longing for them can grow. What an opportunity for spiritual growth to let the Lord use this time of His sacramental absence to cultivate in us a longing for him and a desire to be in union with him through the Eucharist. Imagine how great your joy will be when you will be able to have access again to the fonts of grace in the Sacraments. In this absence, we can get a small taste of what Jesus might have felt in his agony in Gethsemane feeling the absence of you and I when we walk away from him due to sin or worldliness. Our longing for him, is a small taste of his longing for us.
Take a moment today to recall something you miss and love about the Eucharist and the Mass and pray for the Lord to increase your longing in this time of absence for union with Him in this great Sacrament. In this way, we can enter into today’s holy day with the Apostles longing after they celebrated with the Lord, and we can enter into Jesus’ longing for us in the Agony in the Garden.
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 has the absence of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, helped you grow in appreciation of them?
What do you miss and love about the Eucharist and the Mass?
How can you cultivate your desire and longing for the Lord during these holy days?
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.
"Lord I need you."
"Come into my heart."
"I long for 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?
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 Jon Polce, SJ.
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.