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).
Love is more than words. Love is more than action too. Love is an authentic movement of the heart.
What love looks like changes often. As a child it means dependence and reliance on a parent. As a parent it means sacrificing time, sleep, and even at times hobbies and plans for the wellbeing and need of one's child. As a best friend it means standing by their side and occasionally calling them out on something that only your level of friendship can let you. As a boyfriend or girlfriend, it means to put that person as a new priority while also remembering that your goal for them should always be heaven. For every relationship in our lives it is a little different because love is never the same, it grows and adapts to the needs of the beloved; the true authentic needs, not the superficial wants and desires.
John puts a ton of weight on love in this reading today saying that it is how we move from death into life. He says "everyone who hates his brother is a murderer." These are tough words, but what does John mean? We need to love everyone in our lives! Yes, everyone! That love looks very different, but it needs to be present. You don't ever have to talk to someone to love them, you don't even have to like them, but you have to love them. You have to want what is best for them (ultimately heaven) and to what degree you act on that will obviously depend on your relationship with the person. There have been times I have literally taken the clothes off my back and given them to someone because God was calling me to love them in that way. There were times that I had to let someone go and there were times I had to fight tooth and nail to keep them in my life.
How do we know how to love someone though? That is a tough question and worth discussing with someone you trust like a youth minister, parent or priest. The best thing I can say is to let your heart be like God's. Spend time with God in prayer (especially Mass and Adoration) and let yourself start to love with His heart. You won’t love perfectly after that, but you will be a lot closer and will be able to know how God might be calling you to love that person a lot more clearly.
Love is an authentic movement of the heart. If you want to love better, let yourself love with a heart united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
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.
Who is God calling you to love in a new or different way? Why do you think this might be the case? How can you slowly change that love to be more authentic?
What fuels your desire to love? Do you love someone because of how it makes you feel or makes them feel? Do you love them because it is convenient or because you feel like you may have to? Take some time to reflect on your motives for "loving" people.
What are the appropriate ways for you to love people in your life? How can you love your parents better? How can you love your best friend better? How can you love the homeless man downtown better? (Hint: it doesn't have to be giving anything)
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.
"Let me love like you Lord."
"Love is an authentic movement of the heart."
"I love you, Lord."
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?
Do not be afraid to love people. It is a beautiful thing and yes it can be scary, but it is worth it and is our call as Christians. Take some time to ask God to transform your heart to love others with His heart and not just yours. Try to do this often as well, even daily. Maybe you can begin loving someone like your future spouse by praying for them as well.
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 Sean Norris, Youth Minister at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights, IL.