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).
Here is a reading that closely connects us Catholics to our older brothers and sisters in the Jewish faith.. Saint Paul writes concerning the sacrifices offered in the Old Temple in Jerusalem, which characterized the Jews in their worship as the People of God. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest of the Israelites entered the inner section of the Temple, the Holy of Holies, to offer a sacrifice on behalf of the people. In other words, the representative of the people paid the debt owed by the people through their faults. With the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, the people no longer had a means by which to offer sacrifice to God and could not pay the debt owed by their sins.
With the coming of Christ, He foretold of the destruction of the Old Temple and the rebuilding of a New Temple, that of His Own Body. By ascending the Cross and pouring out His Blood for our sake, He paid the eternal debt owed by the sin of Adam and Eve. He entered once and for all into the Tabernacle in Heaven, acting now and always as High Priest on behalf of the People of God, the Church.
Today, the Church remembers Saint Agnes, a virgin and martyr of the Early Church. She was highly desired by the Roman nobility for her beauty, but she always desired to live for Christ and to remain pure. When her desire to keep herself chaste for Jesus became known, the authorities accused her of the crime of being a Christian, then-outlawed by the Roman Empire. She was sentenced to death, but when the wood around her feet while tied to a stake would not burn, she was beheaded by a Roman officer. Only at the age of 12 or 13, Agnes knew the value of the temple of her own body given to her by the Lord and would not let it become defiled by those who would use her as an object.
Saint Agnes knew the price paid for her sake on the Cross, and she freely desired to live for the Man Who died for her. Just as Christ entered into the Heavenly Sanctuary once and for all to make atonement for all of the sins of man, so did Saint Agnes undergo her own sacrifice for the sake of her Lord. Christ enters the uncreated Tabernacle in Heaven, but He also comes to the created tabernacles of our bodies when we receive Him. Saint Agnes knew this fact, and may she be for us an example of receiving the Living God in Holy Communion, keeping ourselves pure and virtuous with His help. Let us echo her own words: "Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue. I belong to Him Whom the angels serve."
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 often do you really thank God for sacrificing Himself to forgive your sins? How do you sacrifice small things, not to make up for, but to thank God for His ultimate sacrifice?
How can you make your sacrifices and suffering mean something more? In what ways can you unite your suffering to Christ's sacrifice?
Saints like Agnes remind us that you are never too young to live radically for the Lord! What are some ways you can strive for sainthood and purity of heart in your life today?
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.
"Thank you Jesus."
"Purify my heart Lord."
"I am Yours, God!"
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?
Do not be afraid of holiness! Find something small to sacrifice today to thank God for all He has done and to pray for others.
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 Kevin Poynton, graduate of the University of Dayton with a Degree in Religious Studies.