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).
Before we dive into this reflection, I know this reading was really long and most of us have heard it before, but I really want to encourage you to go back and reread it. To really feel yourself in this situation, to pay attention to the whole story, then come back and read the rest of this reflection.
Welcome back! Welcome back to all of you who went back and reread, and welcome back to Lazarus from the dead! I know what it feels like to lose a sibling, and man, I would have given anything to have Jesus raise her from the dead. So I am not going to lie, reading this story as I was preparing this reflection, I hated it at first. I was jealous. I was overcome with emotion. But so was Jesus. John 11:35 is one of the shortest verses in scripture and it simply says "And Jesus wept."
I realized it was okay to be upset. It was okay to have emotions, even sad ones. And once I got past my emotions being a barrier I saw something a lot deeper. I realized God can do big things, and sometimes even bigger things. See in a lot of our eyes - I know for the longest time in my eyes for sure - death feels like the biggest obstacle to overcome. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely up there and even Jesus felt its pain - like I did/do with my sister - but God always has a bigger plan. For Lazarus, He performed this miracle so that the people would know the Father's love and that Jesus was sent by the Father. For my sister, the miracle was the love she passed on that still lives in my heart each and every day. The miracle that has made me a man finally willing to actually put others first instead of just pretend to. The miracle that may be what gets me to heaven, and maybe so many more. Yes, I would have loved for Jesus to perform the same miracle with my sister Heather that He did with Lazarus, but He had a bigger miracle in mind, one bigger than physical life and death.
And there is still more that overflowed my heart from this story today, one that I think we can all relate to, especially in the time of confusion and chaos and fear. Do we trust God? Even in what seemed absolutely impossible, Martha said "But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.” Martha's brother died, yet she still trusted, and yet we cannot trust that there will be enough toilet paper at the store next week. We struggle to trust that God will take care of us, to keep us safe, to protect us. We struggle to trust that He has a plan for us for college, or our job, or our family. We struggle to trust that He actually wants what is good for us and wants our true happiness. We simply struggle to trust. And I am honestly hit so hard with this right now myself and am so humbled writing this and realizing that it was easier for me to trust in God's mercy for my drug-addicted sister than it is for me to trust that God desires good for me and sincere happiness.
And I know I am not alone in that struggle. For some of us, that is our health or how we are going to make it through this pandemic. For others it is a relationship, or a family member, or a friend that we are afraid to trust God with. For others it is our job or our financial security. It doesn't matter what it is, we all have or do struggle with this. And it is not an easy fix, but we can learn to trust again. It is going to take continual reminders, but maybe eventually we can see that God's miracle is even bigger than the one we asked for. We can learn to see that God isn't just trying to make us suffer, but that He wants good for us. And we can learn that the suffering along the way can be a part of that miracle, like the miracle of how to love that I received from my sister. Saint Clare of Assisi said, "Love that cannot suffer is not worthy of that name." And if there is one thing that I have learned is bigger than death - it is love. Maybe that is the miracle we should be looking for instead today.
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.
Do you trust God? What are you struggling the most to trust God with today?
How can you look more for the miracle of love in your life?
How can you trust more in God's love and goodness today?
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.
"Jesus, I trust in You."
"Jesus, I love You."
"Thank You Jesus."
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 Sean Norris, a theology teacher at JSerra Catholic High School in Orange County, CA.
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.