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).
Sin. It’s not very fun to talk about, is it? But St. Paul is very clear that sin not only affects us, it actually causes our death. It’s heavy stuff and we probably need to think and pray about it more than we actually do.
As we go through life, we can either see how sin impacts us, or turn a blind eye to it. When we turn a blind eye, we often turn to the ways of the world to numb ourselves from the pain. These might be things like drugs, sex or alcohol. But they might even been small things that we see as harmless: self-promotion on social media, gossip, keeping too busy/ never being still. The way for us to truly reconcile ourselves to God is through experiencing His merciful love.
So many of the great saints also saw themselves as great sinners. St. Therese, who actually never committed a mortal sin, never doubted how much sin could hurt her in her daily life. She believed that had God not protected her, she would have been a huge sinner. It’s hard to think of the little nun who begged the Pope to enter the convent and died at age 24 as a big sinner, but the lesson we must learn from her, and the lesson St. Paul is getting to today is what we should do when we sin: “I would go, my heart broken with sorrow, and throw myself into Jesus’s arms for I know how much He loves the prodigal child who returns to him.”
Running to God is what we should do each time we sin, because while sin leads to death, repentance and forgiveness lead us to new life in Christ. There is freedom in God’s love. And it is a freedom we cannot find anywhere else.
I think about a time in my life where I have felt the most broken. It was after particularly painful breakup in college. It was at the end of something I thought I knew I could trust and I was left feeling so empty. In my tears, someone asked me the last time I had gone to confession. It had been a few months and confession just happened to be going on at that moment at the Newman Center. In that confession, I ran to Jesus. I experienced His love and His mercy. I was that prodigal child coming home, and that confession made me new.
My brothers and sisters, today take a long, hard look at your life. Take Jesus deep into your heart of all those places where sin has impacted you and reach out to Him so that you might experience His grace and mercy.
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 the sins in your life that keep you from running to God? What are your sins that you turn a blind eye to?
When was the last time you asked God for His mercy?
What do you need to change in your life to follow Christ more closely?
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.
"Lord, have mercy."
"Lord, heal me."
"Lord, I need you."
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?
Today take a long, hard look at your life during your daily prayer. Find an examination of conscience and take time to pray with it and really look at your life and how/what you need to change to become closer to Christ. Go and receive the sacrament of Confession this week.
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 Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.