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)
The first reading from today has always been a difficult one for me. “Whoa, Lord, you’re asking Abraham to sacrifice his son like you would have him kill and roast an animal? I’m not sure about this.” What’s even more flooring to me is Abraham’s quick willingness to do it.
But the Lord has been slowly and surely softening my heart and reordering my priorities to show me that Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice is not something to scoff at but something to look up to. Abraham’s priorities were exactly right. He realized that the Lord was his ultimate treasure, and that anything else he had, including his beloved son, he only had because it was given to him by the Lord.
And now when I read this passage, I’m sobered by how far off I am from being like Abraham in my willingness to sacrifice to the Lord. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only beloved son, but I struggle to give up my lenten sacrifice of netflix or speeding or sweets to the Lord! I can barely keep myself from eating those peanut butter m&m’s hidden away in my room, and that’s such a measly sacrifice compared to Abraham’s offering to the Lord or Jesus’ death on the cross for me!
But the voice of the Lord is quick to speak over that hopelessness, a gentle and understanding voice. Our sacrifices may seem measly to us, but they matter to Him. Whether it’s something small like a Lenten sacrifice of chocolate or something much larger like a relationship that’s causing us to turn from Him, He understands the pain of sacrifice and treasures each one we make.
A year and a half ago, when I graduated from college, I said yes to serving as a missionary on a college campus with an organization that’s based all around the country. It was very difficult for me to say yes to this invitation from the Lord, because in doing so, I would give up the ability to choose where I was placed. Giving up living near my family to serve the Lord in Minnesota, a 10 hour drive from home, was such a hard thing to do, but the Lord rewarded me with a life that is better than I ever could have anticipated.
What that sacrifice has taught me is that when we are willing to give up something precious for the sake of following the Lord, His reward is greater than we can ever imagine. So whatever the Lord might be asking you to sacrifice today, take heart that He never let us win in generosity.
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.
Who or what do you love most in this world? How would you feel if God asked you to give up that person or thing?
What are sacrifices are you make this Lent? How does Abraham's sacrifice change the way you look at your sacrifices?
How has the Lord been generous to you in the midst of your sacrifices and offerings?
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 give it all to you, God."
"I love you, Lord, above all else."
"You are never outdone in generosity."
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?
Take a step back and consider why you are making your chosen sacrifices this Lent. Pray about how they are leading you deeper into relationship with God, and look for the ways the Lord is being generous to you during this season.
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 Catie Destatte, a Saint Paul's Outreach Missionary at University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN.