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).
Why would God allow this?
There are certain times in life where things get so heavy that it’s hard to shake that feeling that things aren’t going to get better. If you haven’t had an experience like that, praise God, but it may come. In the heaviness and pain, it’s easy to start questioning in the depths of our heart; how could the perfect and loving God do this to me? We start to project guilt on Him, but even if we are able to avoid that temptation, we at least wonder why this good God would allow such a difficulty.
We read today about a situation that lends itself to that thinking. Jesus goes to the desert before beginning His public ministry. The beloved Son of God didn’t just wander into the desert by happenstance. “At the time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert…” Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the place that would end up being forty days of hunger and sacrifice. Why would the Spirit lead Jesus to this place? The Gospel tells us, “…Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Wait hold up.
It was known that Jesus was going to be tempted and the Holy Spirit was all, get in there bro, you got this. There’s something to that. God sees in ways that man does not. God sees the big picture and He knew that the world needed the witness of Jesus overcoming temptation through trust in the Father and knowledge of Scripture. Jesus came out of this desert pilgrimage strong and ready to tackle His public ministry, healing and preaching and teaching. Could He do all of His amazing miracles without having first gone into the desert? Of course, He’s God. However, I think the Scriptures are showing us that sometimes we as human beings will experience great temptation and pain; it just matters what we do with it.
Jesus didn’t quit when things got tough, He double downed on the Father’s plan. In our own experiences, have we hit a breaking point? What was the response? Maybe we ran. Maybe we moped. Maybe we stepped up and asked the Father for the strength we needed. No matter what the response was, today we have the opportunity to begin again. The Lord has incredible plans for you this Lenten season. Our hearts are being formed in a new way to receive the Resurrection that is coming after this season. If the Lord’s plan seems to sting sometimes, remember Jesus in the desert. You are being made strong for a mission my friend.
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 can you begin to prepare yourself to face temptation as boldly as Jesus did?
How can you work on your trust in God today, so that you can trust Him still when things seem the darkest in your life?
How can you relate your Lenten journey to the journey of Jesus in the desert we hear of 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.
"Jesus, I trust in You."
"Lord, give me faith."
"Come Holy Spirit."
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?
Pray the Litany of Trust today. Begin to trust God now so you can lean on Him in the times when it is hardest to trust.
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 Fr. Robert Blood, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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