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 has always hit home for me at a very specific time for me – when going through a breakup or rejection.
Many people have close relationships with Mary, but I’ve never been one of those people. I want to – and I am amazed by her and see her beauty so clearly – but I’ve never felt a closeness with her that many people I know seem to. She is so good, so holy, so kind, so pure – things I often struggle with.
But this Gospel passage has helped me connect with Mary on a different level. Here we read that Mary finds out she’s pregnant. She tells her fiancé. And then he decides to leave her.
Mary was just told by an angel that, because of her virtue and her grace and God's goodness, she was to be mother of the Messiah. She was all good – an epitome of a woman – and she still stood in the face of being abandoned. And though Joseph’s reasons for leaving her were selfless, the rejection that Mary would have felt had she known would have been brutal.
But she continued to trust in God and his Providence, and waited on Him for the path forward, even when things looked impossible.
Joseph came around and was enlightened -- thank you, angel -- and did what God told him, and the rest is history.
Trust was crucial.
“The Imitation of Mary” (Thomas A. Kempis) says, in chapter 28: “Trust in God is one of the greatest homages we can pay to His perfection. The greater our confidence, the more it honors Him. By it we acknowledge Him to be the supreme being who can do all that He wills. Confidence is one of the most effective means of winning many grace and special favors.”
Even in a place of fear or abandonment, Mary trusted. Meditating on this and what her experience must have been like has helped me connect with her, and in my own pain from rejection, helped me see that trusting the Lord is always the way forward. Even when we don’t see it, He knows.
Mary was human, and had human pain and emotions; she had such deep sorrow – seven of them, in fact - so we should try to connect with her on that human level when we are in a place of suffering. She isn’t too far above us to know exactly how we feel.
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.
When you are suffering or struggling, where do you turn? How can you learn to look to the example and intercession of Mary in those moments?
What would it truly look like for you to trust in the Lord, even in the most difficult moments?
In what ways are you experiencing rejection, fear, abandonment, trial, or pain right now? Even if they're not great, take some time to entrust them to the Lord together with Mary's intercession.
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.
"Mary pray for me."
"I trust in You, Lord."
"I give You everything."
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?
Pray the Rosary today with the Joyful Mysteries, and in doing so entrust to Mary all of the things on your heart as you meditate on her trust in God.
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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 Andrea Scott, a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.