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).
It is not a question of IF we fast but WHEN we fast. In the bible, fasting is put in a good light; there are many examples of people fasting and many comments about how to fast. Even in this gospel reading, Jesus did not exempt his disciples from ever fasting, but rather said the time for them to fast is when he is no longer with them.
Like our biblical examples of Moses and Elijah, we fast to prepare and purify ourselves before entering the presence of God. We fast an hour before receiving the Eucharist and we fast during Lent leading up to Easter. Fasting is a form of self-denial and it helps us to detach from our earthly ways. This does not mean that what we are fasting from is always bad, but fasting helps us remember the One who gave us those wonderful gifts that we are fasting from. Our earthly things aren’t needed in heaven, so fasting is also preparing our hearts for eternal life in Christ.
So often it is easy for us to think of fasting as a nuisance or just an obligation given to us by the Church. Have you ever so conveniently saved your favorite fish or pasta recipe for one of the Friday’s in Lent? When we “fast” without a true and honest sacrifice, what form of self-denial and earthly detachment are we accomplishing? It is not bad to enjoy foods we eat on days we are fasting, but it is important to ensure that we are not simply compensating for whatever we have given up. What we do when we compensate like this works against the purpose of fasting.
Fasting is a beautiful and profound form of prayer. When our heart’s intention is to deny ourselves of something good, we are creating more space in our heart for God to dwell. The disciples did not fast when Jesus was with them because it was a joyous time- God was dwelling in their midst!
Although it is not Lent, consider even a small form of fasting to prepare your heart for God in this ordinary time. Challenge yourself to see fasting as something desirable; embrace fasting for the true purpose it serves.
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.
Why is it hard to give up something you love?
Why are there times to fast and times to rejoice? What can be learned in the times of fasting?
How does fasting bring us closer to Christ?
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.
"Prepare my heart."
"Help me embrace the fast."
"I fast for 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?
There’s a time to fast and a time to feast. Like the disciples in the Gospel, it is good to recognize this difference. Fasting is a beautiful and underused form of prayer, which is not just for Lent. Learn to love fasting instead of just seeing it as a nuisance, and put it into practice. What is one thing you can fast from today? You can fast from sweets, or coffee, or Snapchat, or Instagram, or gossip, or perhaps something else. Use this fast as a sacrifice to bring you closer to the Lord.
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 Katie LoBosco, a student at the University of Dayton studying Music Therapy. If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.