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).
As you walk through the crowded halls of your school or as you sit amongst hundreds of other people at Mass on Sunday, it’s easy to feel lost in the crowd. We were made for relationship, yet sometimes we feel incredibly alone in this world. Maybe at times you feel like you have been forgotten or like you are just another face in the crowd, yet even in the midst of the millions of other people in this world, the Lord still notices you and longs for you to draw near to him.
The lepers in Jesus’ time were completely isolated from the rest of the community. They could have absolutely no contact with anyone else. It’s crazy to think about what that would have been like for them - to be so completely isolated and scorned by the rest of the world while suffering from a terrible disease. We may not have leprosy, but we all have sins that infect us and our community. These sins isolate and divide us from our relationship with the Lord and with one another, but even in the messiness of our sins, the Lord wants to encounter us on the journey and lead us into deeper communion with him.
The leper in today’s Gospel at first stands far off with the other lepers, but when he returns, he falls at the feet of Jesus. It could not have been easy for him to leave the other nine behind. Maybe he tried to convince them to come with and was unsuccessful, or maybe he snuck off by himself when they weren’t looking because he was worried about what they might think. Sometimes, we are scared to approach God and believe because it’s not always the “popular” or “cool” thing to do. We realize that once we encounter Christ and believe in him, everything will change. We are scared of that change and what that will require of us. We worry what others will think of us if we try to share our faith with them. Yet the leper still had just enough faith to return to Christ and fall at his feet with gratitude. All we need is the faith of that leper, the faith to turn and go running back to Christ and to fall at his feet. That is what the Lord desires of us more than anything - to return to him with all our heart.
We are on this journey with the Lord. Sometimes, we depart from him or from the path, but we must always return to him. He will always be there waiting for 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.
What sins or bad habits isolate you from Jesus and from your faith community? How has that isolation hurt you?
Are you afraid to return to Jesus? What's keeping you from coming back to him like the leper in today's gospel? Talk to Jesus about your fears.
Pray for the Lord's mercy and healing. Come back to him in your heart... What does he say to you when you return to him?
Like the leper in today's gospel, tell Jesus how thankful you are for his love and mercy.
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, Master, have pity on me."
"Lord, help me return to you."
"Thank you for your mercy."
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?
Plan a time in the near future to go to confession again. Return to Jesus. Maybe even re-read this gospel after you go, thanking Jesus for his mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
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 Maggie Overbeck, Assistant Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.