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).
Salt can be a delicious and important part of cooking, can't it? If you were to record a whole bunch of dinner tables, I'm sure that one of the most commonly used phrases would be "pass the salt." We want the salt because it makes our food taste better, gives it a flavor it otherwise would not have had, and makes the experience of eating all that much better.
Imagine, though, if the food in front of you was just simply bad (when I say bad I don't mean it just wasn't super well cooked, I mean it had been sitting out too long and is literally inedible, but for some reason the chef that night thought it was still okay and used it). Do you think salt would do anything then? Would adding enough salt make bad meat suddenly taste good?
St. John Chrysostom, one of the early Church Fathers, reflected on this very idea in relationship to what Christ is calling the people to in this passage in Scripture. Jesus was clearly not asking them to fix something that had gone bad because salt can't do that, he said. No, the work of restoring something - or, more specifically, someone - who had fallen into decay was the work of Jesus. This is precisely the mission of Jesus, isn't it? He came, taught, lived, died, and rose from the dead in order to save us from the death and the decay coming from our sin and give us the profound gift of new life.
We can all probably breathe a sigh of relief with St. John Chrysostom here if we really think about it: we are not responsible for fixing the brokenness we see in others or in the world, that's Jesus' job. Our job, the job of the salt, is much simpler and yet still incredibly important: we are to join in the journey with those around us who have been restored in Christ and be the salt that keeps them fresh. Jesus does the work of restoration; we do the work of preservation.
How do we do this work of preservation? Well, as Jesus says in the Gospel, the first step is not to lose our own taste. We keep our ability to help preserve the goodness in those around us by letting Christ do the work in us first. Christianity is all about the journey of purification and refining that the Lord invites each and every one of us on, and our first step to being salt and light in the world is to be saved, to be purified, and to be refined by Him.
Then, once we've done that, we go forward to let His light shine through us to the whole world. We share His light, His joy, His life, His hope, and His presence through our love for others, our concern for others, and through using our gifts, our talents, and our lives to help others and to love them. As Jesus calls to be salt of the earth and light of the world today, let us approach Him with confidence, knowing that He will restore us to fullness and then send us forward to help His presence be made manifest in the world around us.
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 use the restoration that the Lord offers in your life right now? If you haven't been in a while, when can you encounter Him again in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
In what ways is Jesus calling you to be the salt of the earth, helping others remain strong and flavorful in the midst of their daily lives?
How can you approach the Lord more confidently and continue to let Him build you up as His disciple to go out into the world with joy, love, and hope?
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.
"I am salt and light."
"You are The Light."
"You give life."
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?
When you encounter someone today who is struggling and may be weighed down or burdened by life, offer your encouragement, your love, your faith, and your friendship to help preserve them and give them strength in their difficult time.
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 Jason Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.