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).
Have you ever heard of the “gospel of prosperity”? It is basically the belief that God favors and blesses most those who are materially rich. This is a FALSE Gospel! It is completely contrary to what Jesus said and what countless saints have witnessed to the past two thousand years. God certainly loves and blesses both the rich and the poor, but in His public ministry, He continually stressed and encouraged material poverty. Now by using the phrase “material poverty”, it would seem reasonable to conclude that God does not desire every inch of the world to be like Calcutta, but there should be a sharing-caring simple lifestyle embraced by all people.
Take today’s passage as an example, Jesus says, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” He then goes on to tell a parable highlighting the spiritual importance of material poverty. He calls those who store up material wealth, FOOLS! We have to reflect on this a little deeper in our own lives. Are we fools for material possessions?
A couple things regarding possessions...First off, material possessions are not bad, they are not sinful. God created the world and has given mankind dominion over the world and the power for us to create material things. So first off, creation is good, material things are good, so long as they glorify God and are not looked at as the most important pursuit of our life.
Secondly, material possessions can often be pursued and loved in a disordered way. We can allow the desire for wealth and prosperity to consume our souls that we lose sight of God and the people around us. The sin of our century is that possessions have become the ultimate pursuit of many people’s lives and this has led to devastation in the spiritual life. Think about it...the phone or device you are reading this on now, how would you react if it was gone? Seriously, no more phone! Would you be at peace?
So back to Jesus’ words today, “one’s life does not consist of possessions.” The culture we live in today certainly presents to us the false Gospel of prosperity to promote the beauty of material wealth and possessions, but this is NOT a teaching of Jesus. Our calling as disciples of Jesus is to live a lifestyle that uses created goods in a way that helps us and others on our common pursuit towards God, not in a way that steers our attention from Him. The point today is, no matter what our walk of life is, what truly matters most is the things of God, not the false gospel of material prosperity.
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.
Are you living material poverty or material prosperity?
How are you using created goods in a way that help lead yourself and others closer to God?
Where and how do you find peace apart from material goods?
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.
"Take care; be on guard."
"Life does not consist of material possessions."
"Be rich in what matters to God."
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?
Think of all your material possessions. Consider giving some away. With the possessions you keep, find ways to use them for the greater glory of God.
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 Fr. John McNamara, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.