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).
Every once in a while when I read a passage from Scripture there will be a line that jumps out at me which I simply cannot ignore. Today, as I was praying with these readings and reflecting, this line from Deuteronomy was the one that drew my attention:
"you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you;"
What an interesting way this is phrased: peculiarly his own. Not just interesting though; this is a powerful statement. As the people of God, we belong to him in a way that is peculiar and, as it says later in this reading, a way that is sacred.
This ought to give you and I a great deal of confidence. I don't just know the Lord or look at him or talk in his direction; I belong to him in a way that is peculiar, unique, and sacred.
What does that mean?
First, it means that I can take heart and be at peace, for in the Lord I have all that I desire and more, and the Lord has chosen me. The Lord loves me. When I come to prayer, I am responding to him who reaches out to me and chooses me. I am loved, and in that I should find comfort.
In our Gospel today we hear what else it means: I'm called to love in a way that is radical. The first reading tells us that we must, as God's people, do as he commands. What does Jesus command in the Gospel? Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Seek perfection, just as the Father is perfect.
Jesus isn't asking us to be perfect; he knows we aren't to live up to that. But he is asking us to strive for perfection, longing to love and to forgive and to be followers of him in a way that is radical and unlike the way the way everyone else is. Even the Pagans love those who love them...we need to do more. Anyone can be kind to those who are kind to them; Jesus is asking us to be kind even when the other isn't.
Today we can take confidence in the Lord's love for us and the fact that he chooses us as his own. This Lent, we can begin to walk the difficult way along which that love calls us, knowing that his love will also sustain us as we walk that journey and seek to radically love even those who don't "deserve" our love by their actions.
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.
In what ways are you being called today to love, forgive, or pray for someone who might have hurt you or not done what was right in your eyes?
How can you be a steward of God's forgiveness by the way that you show others mercy? This doesn't always mean letting someone back into your life–ask the Lord's guidance if you're facing a situation like that–but in your heart and your actions it may mean forgiving even when it's hard.
What does it really mean that God loves you? How can you rest more peacefully in his love, knowing that you are his chosen son or daughter?
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."
"I am yours."
"Teach me to love as you love."
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?
Today, reach out in love to someone who you know needs your kindness, your friendship, or your mercy, even if it is hard and unnatural. Show love in an unconventional way, not because someone has earned it from you but because God is asking you to do it.
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 Jason Theobald, Executive Director of Carpe Verbum.
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.