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).
When I was in high school, I had a somewhat excessive obsession with a mildly famous young Canadian pop singer named Justin Bieber (you may have heard of him). All throughout my early high school years, I imagined what it would be like to see Justin in concert and even meet him in person. I would think about what I would say, how he would respond, how we would spend hours and hours laughing and hanging out together (in my imagination Justin thought I was hilarious and loved spending time with me, which I think was fairly reasonable).
And then finally, my junior year of high school, I was given the opportunity to go to a Justin Bieber concert. It was a dream, it was everything I had expected it to be and then some. And as if getting to see him in concert wasn’t enough, I was given the extreme gift of meeting Justin in person. I remember walking up to introduce myself to him, already running through the hilarious list of jokes I would tell him, but as I said “Hi” and began to recite my litany of humor…he didn’t laugh, not even once, not even a pity half-smile.
Listen, I’m not writing all of this to try and convince you that Justin Bieber isn’t nice or that he’s just some stuck-up celebrity; he was perfectly cordial (and let’s be honest, my jokes probably just weren’t that funny). The reason I tell this story is because I think we allow our own personal perceptions to inform who we think other people are. For example, I was so sure that Justin and I would be instant friends, that we would laugh and hit it off right away that when he turned out to be very serious and somewhat reserved, I was shook; because the idea I had in my head of who Justin Bieber was didn’t match the reality.
Now, I believe, we don’t just do this with celebrities we’ve never met, but that we also do this with the Lord. In today’s Psalm, for instance, we recite together: “The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.” And while it would be easy to say that of course I believe that God is gracious, merciful, and kind, the reality is that all too often I find that when I think of God and who He is and how He encounters me, I picture an angry, disappointed judge. Not a loving, merciful Father. This image of who I sometimes think God is, is not based in the truth of His love for me, but in what I believe I deserve. As someone who constantly falls short of the love and life the Lord has called me to, it’s sometimes hard to accept that God’s love is steadfast and unceasing.
So let us ask God today for the grace to accept the reality that He is truly “gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.”
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 perceive God? How does it correspond with today's Psalm?
What has caused your perception of God? An event, something you were told, or the specific actions of someone else? How can you heal this perception?
How can you grow to fully accept God's unending love for you?
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.
"You are good."
"You are merciful."
"Have mercy on me."
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?
During your time of prayer, ask God today for the grace to accept the reality that He is truly “gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.”
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 Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.