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 love the figure of John the Baptist! First of all, the man is wild. He wears camel hair shirts, he eats bugs, and he lives on the outskirts of town telling people to repent. What a guy! He was full-throttle, no matter what God was asking of him: camel hair, bugs for dinner, and all. John’s entire mission was to “go before the Lord to prepare His way.” It was his mission to flatten the rough terrain of rocky hearts, and make a highway for the Lord through them, so that those hearts were ready to receive the Lord when they encountered him. There’s a lot that you and I can learn from John the Baptist. A lot that we need to learn from him as well I think.
John seemed crazy. I mean, come on...the man ate bugs! But people were drawn to him. They came to the outskirts of town, seeking him out. Why was that? It’s because he was radical, and radically devoted to the Truth. He lived radically for God. John was nothing if not authentic in his love for God and his drive for the mission of the Kingdom. And that kind of authenticity is attractive to people. What about us? Are we radical, whole-hearted, and authentic in our love for God and for the mission of his Kingdom?
You can probably ignore the eating bugs part, but we could stand to learn a thing or two from John. Like John, it’s our job to make a highway for the Lord, a smooth path – not only in our own hearts, but in the hearts of those around us as well. In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls John a burning and shining lamp. A lamp doesn’t give light on its own – it participates in light. On its own, it is not the light – but when it is given a source of light, that’s when it can do what it is made to do. John knew his mission, and he drew his strength from that and from his relationship with God. He was connected to God, the Source of Light, and because of that he could be a burning and shining lamp, preparing hearts for the true Light. Each of us was also created with particular gifts and a purpose, and we can only live authentically and do what we are made to do when we are connected to God, drawing our identity and strength from that relationship. Advent is a good time to ask ourselves that question: am I a burning and shining lamp, allowing myself and those around me to receive the Light?
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.
Have you taken your role to prepare the way of the Lord seriously? What are some practical ways you can prepare the way of the Lord, both radically and subtly in your everyday life?
What does John's radical life inspire most in you? How do you think your life and this world would change if you were radically and passionately Catholic?
Where does the light for your lamp come from? Do you let yourself magnify and spread the True Light which comes from God?
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.
"Prepare the way of the Lord."
"Be a burning and shining lamp."
"Radical faith changes everything."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
What is one concrete thing you can do today to prepare the way of the Lord in your immediate world – at home, work, school? It can be big or it can be small. It can be subtle or it can be radical. Find one thing you can do, and 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 Megan Miller, the Director of Faith Formation and Youth Minister at Holy Cross parish in Deerfield, IL.