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).
I don’t know about you, but I can really relate to Abraham in the first reading. He is 99 years old when God appears to him and makes this covenant with him, promising him seemingly impossible things. He promises him that his barren wife (who is 90 years old, by the way) will have a son and from that son will come entire nations of descendants. I imagine Abraham probably figured he had seen enough life by then to know that this was impossible.
So Abraham prostrates himself in worship as he receives this message, while at the same time laughing to himself because the whole thing seems ridiculous. He’s like, “Thanks, God, that’s cute – but I bet you mean this metaphorically or something. Just bless my other son Ishmael and we’ll call it good. That’s the best I can hope for here, we both know that.” He totally boxes God in, and tries to set a limit on what God can do. But God insists – He is a God who keeps His covenants and He WILL do what He has said; Abraham and Sarah will have a son, Isaac, and he will be the sign of the covenant. And for good measure, He blesses Ishmael, too. Abraham was ready to give up what he really desired in his heart, thinking God couldn’t fulfill it, and God gives so much more than Abraham ever thought he could bargain for.
I am not 99 years old, but I sure act like I’ve seen as much life as Abraham and that I know the things God can and can’t do in my life. Perhaps you are similar to me: we pray, but we don’t ask for the things we really desire or the big things that we really want to ask God to do in us because we think that it’s impossible for Him. We box God in, setting limits and boundaries on what His love and mercy are capable of doing and transforming in our own hearts and in the world around us. We pray small, asking for small things, hoping to just get scraps from the table, laughing a little at the thought that God could really do the big things. But you see, God is not offering His children scraps from the table; He is really inviting us to the Feast, wanting to pour His love into our lives and answer the deep desires of our hearts. He is constantly insisting in our lives that He is a God who keeps His promises to us, proving it to us through the Eucharist. He wants us to pray BIG, and to trust His goodness!
The leper in the Gospel understood this truth. He had no doubts about Jesus’ ability to do the impossible; he wasn’t afraid to pray big, to trust that God wanted to answer the longing in his heart. We all have things, big and small, in our lives that we think are impossible for God to do or to care about. But today, instead of doubting, let’s start asking for the kind of faith the leper had.
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 are some things in your life you think are "too big" for God to do? Why do you think that if He has proven He can do even bigger things?
What are some ways you can trust God more and not put Him in a box of limitations?
Do you trust the Lord with your vision for your life?
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 give it all to you God."
"You're a good, good Father."
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 big. It may happen, it may not, but if you are sincere and it will bring you or other's closer to God, it very well may happen. Trust in Him.
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 Megan Miller, the Co-director of Catechesis and Evangelization at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Gurnee, IL