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).
"My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."
It was common practice to offer God animal sacrifices during the time this Psalm was written. Today's Psalm tells us that we could offer to God all kinds of burnt offerings like the ones from the past, but that is not what pleases God. What He wants is to give us His mercy. We do not receive forgiveness by giving animals, but through our contrition. When we seek God's mercy with humility, He will give it to us. He wants our hearts. And what a joy that is! This is taken for granted so often! Or sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking we are not worthy of God's unending love and mercy, or that He doesn't share it equally with all people. But His mercy and love is inexhaustible. If we pray the words of this Psalm with a heart that realizes its sins and mistakes and need for grace, then God will give it. All we must do it approach Him, go and receive the sacraments He so willingly and openly offers to all of us.
God will not turn away from you, the Holy Spirit will not leave you. He will give you the joy of salvation and give your soul the fuel it needs to get to Heaven. You just have to ask. At Baptism, we are washed clean from every sin. At Reconciliation, we receive that mercy again and again. The Eucharist sustains us and strengthens us from the temptation to sin. You can be so close to God if you open your heart to Him.
Read this entire Psalm and pray these words with a humble heart. Reflect on your need for mercy and seek it. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us on the cross so that we would be able to receive this mercy. Take what is being offered to you. All love, joy, peace, and all fulfillment is found in the arms of the Father. Receive His mercy through the gifts He has given and through your own open heart. Allow Him to create in you a clean heart.
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 do you offer to God? Do you give Him your heart or are you holding back?
How often do you actively seek God's mercy? How often are you open to His love?
Do you pray with a humble heart? Are you really honest and repentant when you seek His mercy?
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.
"Create in me a clean heart."
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?
Read all of Psalm 51 and really pray it. Do not just read the words, but speak them to God with a humble heart. It may take a couple times through, but let this Psalm lead you to a greater openness to the Father's love for you and His desire to give you mercy.
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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 Mary Griffin, a graduate student of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
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