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).
This Gospel passage seems a bit extreme, right? Cutting off your hand or plucking out your eye?! That’s crazy! Sometimes we need to hear the extreme consequences in order for something to really sink in. Jesus is doing just that today. Should you cut off you hand or pluck out your eye because they cause you to sin? No, please don’t. But we do need to be honest with ourselves and cut out of our lives the things that do lead us to sin.
For example, if watching a certain TV show or movie causes me to think bullying or gossiping is okay and normal, I should stop watching it. If reading certain books or magazines leads me to believe sex outside of marriage is a normal part of our society, I should stop reading those things. If scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat or any other form of social media causes me to compare myself to others, to be envious of my friends or lowers my self-esteem, I should cut that out of my life.
Now are TV, books or social media bad? No! We need to have moderation with all things, and we need to pay attention to what makes ourselves fall into sin. What affects me might not affect you. It is important to realize what sins you struggle with.
I realized recently that Facebook was making me lazy. I found myself doing scrolling through Facebook on my phone every day for an hour or more. Or when I would wake up, instead of getting out of bed I would scroll through Facebook to “wake me up.” I was looking at Facebook when I had things that I needed to get done! I deleted the Facebook app off my phone. I did not completely cut Facebook out of my life, because having Facebook was not the problem. Having Facebook on my phone was keeping me from being the best version of myself, so I cut it out.
Another example is not about using media, but how I was using a person and hurting my heart. The more I was hanging out with one of my guy friends, the more I was thinking that our relationship was more than friends. We had a conversation about this and agreed stay friends (and only friends), but nothing changed between us. We still talked the same amount and spent time alone together, even after we had discussed how those actions lead me to believe something that was not reality. I put off setting boundaries because I really liked having him so close, but fantasizing a relationship in my head was not good. I worked up the courage to talk to him and set boundaries for our friendship, my heart felt so much freer because I was loving him in the way that I should.
So when we read this Gospel (especially with Lent approaching), we need to think of the things that lead us to sin. What is the root of my sin? If they are heavier sins (like sex, drugs, pornography, masturbation, etc), then we need to dig up the roots of those sins and start cutting out the temptations. This will not be easy to do. We need to be honest with ourselves and allow parts of our lives to be cut out in order to sin less and have a better relationship with Jesus. What is our Lord asking you to cut out?
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.
Reflect on your last few confessions. What sins do you find yourself constantly repeating? What are the root causes of them?
What are your biggest struggles or temptations? What can you cut out of your life to help you with them?
How can you let Jesus in to help you with your struggles?
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."
"Help me avoid sin."
"Lord give me strength."
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?
What is one tangible thing you can do today to help you fight your battle with sin? Maybe it is deleting an app from your phone. Maybe it is limiting time on social media. Ask Jesus for guidance as you work to cut sin out of your life.
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 Kayla Essner, a high school Math teacher in Cape Girardeau, MO.