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).
The first time that I ever read this Gospel passage -- really, truly read and understood it with my heart and not just with my head -- my soul breathed a sigh of relief. Does it do that for you? If not, go back and read it again, more slowly this time. Seriously. Stop reading now and go back.
Did you read it again? Slowly? Okay, then continue reading this reflection.
Far too often in my relationship with the Lord, I fall into the trap of believing that my worthiness as a Christian and as a follower of God is measured by what I give to Him: whether it be the amount of money I donate to the Church, in how many instances I show love to my neighbor, how much time that I spend in prayer, how virtuous my interactions with others are, or how holy I perceive myself to be.
Too often, I measure my worth in the eyes of my heavenly Father by trying to measure things that cannot be measured. How many of us fall into that trap every day?
But this Gospel reminds us that our God does not measure things in the way that we do. Where we see a gift to the church of $200 as being greater than a gift of $2, Jesus sees that a sacrifice of those 2 dollars from someone who has nothing is far more worthy than a gift of 200 from someone who has everything. After all, it’s easy for us to give from our surplus, right? But what about the times when I lack? When I lack patience or time or resources or I feel that I’m not holy enough?
This struggle is especially evident in my heart when it comes to prayer. Jesus, I should want to spend 7 hours a day in prayer with You. I should want to spend even ONE hour a day with You in prayer. But I’m not holy enough, so I’ll pray more once I am. And since I don’t pray more, I’m obviously not holy enough. See that paradox? Have you felt that paradox?
In his book “Prayer for Beginners”, Peter Kreeft writes about prayer: “You do not have to wait until you become a saint. This is the way to become a saint.”
Jesus’ words in the Gospel today speak of a similar message. He does not require 7 hours in adoration a day. He doesn’t even require one! All that He asks of us is that we give generously, even when we feel that our offering can’t measure up.
So let your soul breathe a sigh of relief, dear one. And ask yourself, truly and honestly, what can you give to Him in prayer out of your poverty today? Is it 15 minutes? Is it 30? Is it 5? Whatever the offering, if it is given with a generous heart, know that our Father takes more delight in it than all the riches and treasures in the world.
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 do you measure your worth? Do you measure it with the eyes of the world or with the eyes of God?
Are you giving from your surplus or giving from your poverty?
What can you give to God in prayer out of your poverty today?
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.
"I offer all to you, Lord."
"My worth comes from the Lord."
"Delight in the 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?
Think of one way you can give to the Lord out of your poverty today, whether that is in your time, your money, or your love. Offer this gift to the Lord with a generous heart.
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 Catie Destatte, a St. Paul's Outreach Missionary at University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN.