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).
Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch Christian who lived during World War II. Her family was caught hiding Jews and they were sent to a concentration camp, where her sister Betsie died. Immediately after the war, Corrie traveled through Germany, preaching God’s eternal, unending forgiveness to a broken and ashamed nation.
After one talk, she saw a former guard from the concentration camp where she was held approaching her. He spoke to her of how he’d discovered God’s forgiveness after the war, and now sought her forgiveness.
Corrie recounts the story:
“And I stood there– I whose sins had every day to be forgiven– and could not [forgive him]. Betsie had died in that place– could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?
…I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion… Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘Jesus, help me!’ I prayed silently….
And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place...This healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. ‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’…I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us to love our enemies. In our world which is so broken, so torn apart by disease, despair, brokenness, violence, racism, hatred…it’s far too easy to feel nothing but anger and hatred toward the world in general, or toward our enemies. It can feel impossible to imagine forgiving our enemies. And yet, the constant message of the Father is mercy: mercy toward King Ahab who repents from his evil ways; mercy toward King David, the writer of today’s psalm, who begs to be washed clean from his faults; mercy from the lips of Jesus, who teaches that the heights of God’s perfect love are expressed when we love our enemies.
Corrie ten Boom famously said, “Can you forgive? No. I can’t either. But God can.”
In the face of evil and brokenness, when our natural reaction is hatred, Jesus calls us to be vessels of the Father’s love, to surrender our cold and broken hearts to this love, and to choose love even for our enemies. It is our choice — what will you choose 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.
Where in my life am I struggling with unforgiveness? Around who or what situation does it revolve?
How has God helped urge and prepare me to forgive in the past? Why did I choose to not forgive in that moment?
How can I invite the Lord into my life right now to help me forgive as he has forgiven me?
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.
"Thank you for forgiving me."
"I trust my life to you."
"Help me to love as you love me."
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?
Before we continue with the prayer we have been praying daily during this pandemic, let us pray for unity. Please click here to pray the Prayer to Overcome Racism. I encourage you to pray this prayer often, or one similar in your own words so that we can begin to strive towards the unity God created us for.
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 during coronavirus:
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.
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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 Becca O’Hara, who loves Jesus and lives with her husband Chris in Halifax, Canada, where they both work for the Church.
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. "