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).
There is nothing quite like the change from an awesome, relaxing, and enjoyable weekend to the harsh reality of a cold, busy, and difficult Monday. There are people who love Mondays - most of us are not sure how, but if you do, that is wonderful. For most of the rest of us, it's not that we hate Mondays in particular, it's just that they're hard; we have a lot on our plate, and sometimes we need rest.
In a famous homily given by C.S. Lewis, known often as The Weight of Glory, you can find him preaching for a long period of time on the beauty of heaven. How great, how glorious the ever-after will be. Then, after a beautiful dissertation on heaven, C.S. Lewis pivots abruptly and delivers one of my favorite quotes: "Meanwhile, the cross comes before the crown, and tomorrow is a Monday morning." I love the beauty in that juxtaposition; heaven is something to look forward to, something to love, something to be excited about, and something to seek each moment. Today, though, is a Monday morning, and often it is Mondays that we find the most difficult to remember the beauty of heaven when we're faced with the crosses and challenges of earth.
Today's reading from Daniel comes face to face with the difficulty of this earthly pilgrimage. The people have sinned, they've rebelled against God. Looking towards Him, who is all good and loving but also totally just, they are begging for mercy and forgiveness. They have not, as many of us realize in the grind of day-to-day life, always lived up to the call of their faith, and now they have to beg for the mercy of God.
Today, on Monday morning, we have an advantage over the people in the First Reading: we know the God who is our hope and our mercy more intimately than they could have in the person of Jesus. We have a Savior, one who makes the glory of heaven possible and weight of the cross bearable, one who can make even a Monday morning an opportunity for grace.
In his homily, C.S. Lewis continues: "A cleft has opened in the pitiless walls of the world, and we are invited to follow our great Captain inside. The following Him is, of course, the essential point."
The following Him is, of course, the essential point.
Today the call of each of us, just as it was the people in Daniel's time and the people in Jesus' time and the people in every time, is to respond to the love of Christ and to follow Him. In response to His love, we can encounter everyone on our path today with reverence and love, knowing that Jesus loves them infinitely and has willed their good and ours. Then, in response, we can follow our great Captain, knowing that even on a Monday morning there is a chance to know the glory and the grace of heaven.
Seek Him today. Follow Him today. Respond in love to the God who is mercy and compassion, as our reading tells us, and see how He wants to love you and to work in your life. It's a Monday morning, which means it's a chance for the Lord's grace.
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.
In what ways can you join the people of the First Reading today and look to God who is mercy for His forgiveness? Lift those things up to Him, let Him be merciful.
What specifically is God asking of you today and each day this week, in little ways and big, as a response to His love? How can you follow Him more closely?
What are the sufferings and trials of today? What are the things you're excited about today? What other things will you be asked to do? How can you invite Christ into each of those things?
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.
"I choose You today."
"Yours are mercy and compassion."
"I long to follow You."
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?
Pick something today that you normally would have done without thinking of God, and pause before that thing begins to invite Him into it. Whether it's class, work, a conversation, watching Netflix, whatever. Invite God in, let Him work in the things of this Monday.
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 Jason Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.