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).
I’d imagine most of us right now can relate to the Israelites living in exile. We are separated from the sacraments, from our faith communities, and thrust into unfamiliar territory in the worship of God. The amount of innovation that has been shown by Catholics both in the U.S. and worldwide has been encouraging and as hope remains, it will continue to grow.
Today, we can take inspiration from Rack, Shack, and Benny (thanks Veggie Tales). They were exiled Israelites living in Babylon and working in the king’s court. Not only could they not offer sacrifice to God since they away from the Temple, but they were being forced to worship a foreign god. In this time, we may face the same challenge, with our foreign gods being health, financial stability, or comfort. Given this command, what do the three young man answer?
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.” What a beautiful trust of God’s saving power! They are following the longstanding Hebrew belief in God coming to the aid of those who follow His covenant. We are in the same position right now to answer in the same way.
But this is not the only part of their response to the king. They continue, “But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.” What? Why would God not come to help those who trust in him? We know how this story ends, with an angel coming to prevent them from being consumed in the fire. Imagine with me, however, that the angel had come to comfort them rather than to save them, to be God’s presence as they died in the fire. Would this be a violation of God’s promise to his people?
God is in the business of saving, and we already share in the victory of Jesus upon the cross over sin and death. Sometimes salvation doesn’t look like we think it does. Regardless, our trust in the Lord does not and cannot change. Even if God appears absent, Christians do not succumb to despair and fall into false worship. Of course, we know that God is never truly away from us. And from my own experience, I know that following the false gods leads to dissatisfaction, emptiness, and desolation.
There are hard days ahead, full of plenty of unknowns. We will all face some temptation or demand on our faith in God. It is He who will keep us whole and united in these strange times. I may be alone, but I have already begun to recognize some graces that I would not have been able to see if the outbreak had never happened. The witness of Rack, Shack, and Benny offers me a great challenge in seeing the depth of my trust in God, but it leaves me with great hope in him that he will be with us always.
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.
How am I reaching out and responding to God during this time?
Where am I struggling to have faith in God right now?
Where am I experiencing God's presence right now?
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."
"Christ is victorious."
"Be with me, 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 the Lord bear fruit in you today?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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 Kevin Gregus, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
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.