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 is one of my favorite stories from the Gospels. The image of these guys climbing onto the roof, dragging their friend on a stretcher up their with them, and busting through the ceiling in the middle of Jesus’ talk, is just too good. I love it. When I put myself in this story, though, what strikes me even more than the shameless urgency, dedication, and sheer faith of the guys climbing through the roof is the contrast of their faith with the attitude of the scribes.
The Gospel tells us that they came to hear Jesus speak – they heard he was in town, and so many people wanted to listen to this great teacher that the house was ridiculously crowded. Why did they want to hear him? They obviously believed in him enough to be willing to listen to his teaching; it probably made them feel good, and inspired them to “be better people”.
But then quite suddenly, the scene was no longer what the scribes had been expecting, no longer what they were comfortable with. First some men came busting through the ceiling. And then a man’s sins were forgiven. Suddenly being associated with Jesus involved radical faith and healing and the changing of hearts. And when things got real and Jesus no longer fit cozily into their idea of him, the scribes couldn’t quite handle it.
In “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” from The Chronicles of Narnia, the children ask Mr. Beaver if Aslan is safe. Mr. Beaver responds, “Safe? Of course he isn’t safe! But he’s good.” God is good, friends. He is so, so good. But associating with Jesus will not leave you safe and comfortable in your own world, I promise you that. Because the thing is, with Jesus, it’s not enough to just admire him as a teacher and stay safely in your comfort zone.
Jesus is about faith, real-deal mercy, and the salvation of the sinner. He doesn’t just want to make you a better person; he wants to make you a new person – that’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s where the life-changing awesome happens. So if you can start to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and let Jesus speak those healing words to your heart – and believe them – you, too, can be as transformed as the paralytic who left the house walking that day.
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.
What would be your reaction if you saw a man be lowered through a roof? Would the physical healing or the forgiveness of sins surprise you more? Why?
Do you believe that God wants to forgive you and heal your soul even more than your body? what are some healings that you need in your life (physical and spiritual)? What do you need to do in order to let God heal you?
What are the comforts in your life that keep you "safe" instead of "good"? What are the ways that God may realistically be calling you out of that comfort zone?
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.
"Jesus I trust in You."
"Make me new Lord."
"Help me to believe."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
The men in today's Gospel lifted a roof and crashed a teaching in order to heal their friend. Be bold today and do what you need to do to heal yourself and loved ones. Go to confession and invite as many people as possible. You don't have to tear the roof off a house for healing, but you can call up a priest or show up at Church for confession.
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 Megan Miller, the Director of Faith Formation and Youth Minister at Holy Cross parish in Deerfield, IL.