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).
Sometimes you come across a passage from Scripture that you must work hard to understand, perhaps because it describes a situation that, if you were faced with it in your own life, would invoke in you the exact opposite instinct that the passage prescribes. For me, today’s Gospel has always been one of those passages. Jesus instructs us to “offer no resistance to one who is evil”. Then He describes several situations in which others may either directly harm us, take advantage of us, or force us to do something we don’t want to do. For each of these the response he suggests is far from what most of our initial reactions would be.
What do you think you’d want to do if someone struck you? How do you think you’d feel if someone tried to take something that is rightly yours? Would you be angry if a coworker or sibling was not doing their fair share of the work, and you had to pick up the slack for them? I think most of us would react by striking back somehow in these situations, don’t you?
But this is certainly not how Jesus tells us to behave in these situations. It seems on the surface like He’s telling us we should act like wimps and just roll over and accept whatever injustices come our way, right? Some of us probably think to ourselves, “No way, I’m not going to just take people acting like that towards me.” That reaction does seem more than reasonable.
So, what is the point of what Jesus is suggesting? The core of it really is about humility. What Jesus wants from us is to be unselfish, and to love and trust God enough that we can leave the vengeance to Him. He doesn’t want us to be drawn in by the evil of others and taken down to that level. When we keep ourselves centered on Jesus and the life He gives us, we can more easily forego any immediate desire to retaliate, and instead show the world how much we love God and our fellow human beings.
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 someone wrongs you, what is your immediate reaction?
How can you practice humility for throughout today?
How can you keep centered on Jesus when someone wrongs you?
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.
"Turn the other cheek."
"Jesus help me be humble."
"Help me to love others."
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?
When do you get most angry? When a friend doesn't respond right away? When someone cuts you off in traffic? When you get a million spam phone calls? How can you offer up those moments of anger to the Lord today?
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 Jim Lundgren, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.