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 find it interesting that this passage starts out acknowledging that this is a message we’ve already heard before: “love one another”. Are we just beating a dead horse? What more is there to say about this?
Well, are we perfect at loving in deed and truth in all situations, with all people, at any point in time? I’m not. I’m striving for it, but I’m falling short more often than I would like to admit. Does this mean I should keep being told to love one another, even though I’ve heard it a thousand times already? Yes.
The pastor of my parish made a good point in a letter he wrote in the bulletin a couple weeks ago that there is a lot of noise in our world and “we must spend time also listening to Christ”. The world is rarely in favor of selfless, authentic, and sacrificial love, and as humans, we are easily impressionable by the other people and ideas around us. Therefore, if we really want to love one another as Christ loves us, we need to be reminded of that as frequently as possible.
If you ever get annoyed with hearing about God’s love and mercy “again and again…” bring your awareness to your spiritual state. There is an ongoing spiritual battle happening regarding your soul that will not cease until your judgment day. In those moments, when you would rather not be bothered with hearing about God’s love and mercy, reflect on what side of the battle you’re currently fighting for.
The ending of this passage is a message of hope. Our hearts, at their core, know God and know our mission to love. When we are pursuing selfless, authentic, and sacrificial love, our hearts will not condemn us. When we mess up and reject God, our hearts will condemn us, telling us that we are not in line with the truth, with God. Even though our own condemnation will serve as a good reminder to reevaluate where we are at spiritually, it can be discouraging.
The good hope comes in as we recognize that despite our shortcomings, God is greater. We are not so much seeking to avoid condemnation of our hearts as we are seeking God and allowing our hearts to inform us what side of the spiritual battle we are on. The love and mercy of God is enough and He desires that we come back to Him, that we choose to love one another again and again.
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.
In what ways do you need to be reminded of God's love and mercy today? How is he speaking that love into your life today?
Why is it sometimes difficult for you to hear and experience God's love and mercy? What blocks you from experiencing it fully?
How is God calling you today to love those around you with the love that he has loved you?
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.
"Love one another."
"Thank you for your love."
"Jesus, I trust in 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?
Do something today out of love for someone else that you don't necessarily get credit for. Be sneaky and be selfless! Pour yourself out in a small or big way and show God's love to someone you care for.
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 Katie LoBosco, a student at the University of Dayton studying Music Therapy.
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