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).
Today’s reading is one of Luke’s most well-known stories – the parable of the prodigal son. For this reflection, we will look at four movements of the story.
First Movement: What must the father have felt when his son looked him in the eyes and basically said, ‘I know that this inheritance will be given to me once you die, but you are as good as dead to me so give me what’s mine!'? Imagine the heartbreak the father must have felt. The son had not only disgraced the family but selfishly took half of all that had been in his family for generations before him and spent it all on his own lustful indulgences.
Maybe there have been moments in your life where you felt like the prodigal son: so far removed, so deep in sin, so self-entitled and not caring about anyone or anything. Ask God for healing right now in this moment.
Second Movement: The younger son hits rock bottom. He has run out of money and is living with the pigs. He has a moment of conversion and decides to come back home. Image the son practicing and perfecting his speech over-and-over again, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.” As the younger son travels the lonely road back home, with a slouch in his back, head hanging low, and defeated eyes looking down, the son is suddenly stopped in his tracks. His father has run out to meet him, but before he can finish his prepared speech the father embraces him as only a father can.
Maybe there is something you are holding onto, something that you’re too ashamed to bring to our heavenly Father. Repentance is a beautiful song to our Fathers ears. Ask God for forgiveness right now in this moment.
Third Movement: A party has begun to form and the whole town is celebrating the arrival of the son, but jealousy is lurking around the corner. The older son refuses to go into the party. From his vantage point, he has always been the perfect child, always obeyed, always did everything his father asked of him, yet never has a party of such grandeur been thrown for him. The father is gentle though: “My son, you are with me always, everything I have is yours.” The father cannot bear the thought of losing another son.
Maybe you feel frustrated and jealous like the older son because you’ve always tried your best, but others are always getting the praise and acknowledgement that you feel you deserve. Ask God for humility right now in this moment.
Fourth Movement: You. What are you going to do? This story has no ending. We have no idea if the older son adopts an attitude of gratitude or stubbornly stays outside of the party. We do not know how the story ends because Jesus wants to invite each and everyone of us to put ourselves in the story and write our own ending. How do you want your story to end? Do you want to join God in His heavenly party through repentance and humility or do you want to hold onto the burdens and keep yourself out? Ask God for guidance right now in this moment.
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.
Are you like the prodigal son in the first movement, having turned away from God and needing to turn back to Him and allow His healing? Are you like the prodigal son in the second movement, needing forgiveness and mercy from God?
Are you like the prodigal son in the third movement, needing humility instead of the pride and jealousy you've experienced in comparing yourself to others? Are you like the prodigal son in the fourth movement, needing to turn to God and follow Him more closely in your life?
How is God speaking into your heart and life in this moment through the story of the prodigal son? How can you turn your heart closer to Him this Lent?
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 choose Your mercy."
"Give me humility."
"Help me follow 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, choose to be like the prodigal son returning to the Lord by focusing your heart and mind on Him by giving up at least one piece of technology, social media, or other entertainment you would normally spend time on and instead of those things, give yourself more time to pray and spend time in silence.
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 Mike Monette, a theology teacher at JSerra Catholic High School in Orange County, CA.