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).
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another
and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
James likes to shoot it straight, and today’s first reading is no exception. Besides this verse being a confirmation of our individual need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and a straightforward one at that, I think there is also a deep foundational truth about human nature embedded in this passage: we need each other. There is something human and essential in “confessing your sins to another” and “praying for another.” It may seem like the most terrifying thing in the world to bring my own weaknesses and limitations out of the darkness into the light for another to see, but in fact it is the most freeing thing in the world when we do. And it may seem equally as terrifying to ask somebody if you can pray with them or if they can pray with you - even (or especially) if it’s a close friend - it can be easy to joke around and talk about everyday superficial things, but inviting time for prayer together seems to cross a boundary of vulnerability that is uncrossable. Yet when we do, our friendship is deepened and strengthened and becomes abundantly life - the friendship is transformed in a way that only prayer can transform. James knew this, and this is why he encouraged us to just do the thing, whether we want to or not.
Speaking of which, it’s not about whether we want to do it or if we “feel” like it. I especially love how blunt and straightforward James is about this. He doesn’t mince his words. He commands that we do it. It’s not an option. If we want to take this Christian life seriously, or rather if we want to take life seriously at all, we need to do this. And sometimes we don’t always want to do what’s best for us (i.e. training for a sport or learning an instrument or studying for school), but we do it anyways because we know it’s going to help us reach our long term goals. So if our long term goal is being free and happy and sharing deep and meaningful friendships, then perhaps we should take James’ advice. So, who is one friend who you can go to today (not tomorrow, but today) and talk with about some area of weakness or limitation in your life or who you can ask to pray with (or perhaps both). Take some time and ask God who He is perhaps inviting you to take that next step in relationship with for your happiness and their happiness, and then just go do the thing.
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.
Are there people in your life you can be this close to right now?
What are some things you are hiding that you know you need to share with someone?
Who might God be calling you to be more open with or pray with? How can you make that happen?
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."
"Come Holy Spirit."
"St. Philip Neri, pray for 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?
Ask the Lord who He wants you to be vulnerable with and pray with, and actually 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 Austin Ashcraft, a graduate student in New Orleans.
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.
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