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).
I’ve been receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation for almost twenty years, and sometimes it still terrifies me. Despite the fact that it’s been a semi-regular part of my faith life for the past two decades, I still make excuses and I still find ways to avoid going (which is fairly impressive considering the fact that I work at a Church that offers the Sacrament every day of the week).
There is just something about our human nature (probably from that whole original sin situation) that makes us shrink away from the act of owning our own brokenness and failings. But the Lord, in the midst of my fear and anxiety over acknowledging my sinfulness, brought me to a new understanding of His mercy during this Advent.
See, at the beginning of Advent the Lord invited me to make a commitment to go to Confession once a week. And because it can be so very hard to say “no” to the Lord (especially when it’s his birthday month), I agreed. At first it was, of course, as scary as it had always been, but there is something about coming face to face with the mercy of a loving Father on a weekly basis; I couldn’t help but be transformed.
Here’s what I learned: the reason that I was always so very afraid of confessing my sins is because I was worried that in owning up to my sinfulness out loud would somehow give those sins power to define me; that speaking out the ways I had failed would mean that I was a failure - that that was my identity. But what I’ve come to understand is that Confession is less about speaking out my shortcomings than it is about allowing the Father to speak the truth about who I really am to me; a truth that will only be able to begin to take root within me, once I call out the ways in which I have rejected that truth through my actions (aka sin).
Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are reminded that we are children of a loving Father, a Father who sent us “an Advocate” who is “the expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.” And so my prayer for us today, friends, as we dive heart-first into this Christmas season, is that we would allow the Lord to draw close to us, through the Sacrament of Mercy, so that He might begin to speak truth into our wounded hearts.
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.
When was the last time you went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation? When will you be able to go again and receive God's mercy?
What are the things you've done that you need to confess in Reconciliation in order to allow God to speak the truth of you who you are?
In what ways this Christmas do you want to invite Jesus into your life and heal the wounded parts of you?
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.
"Speak truth to my heart."
"You are my loving Father."
"Help me see 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 the Lord bear fruit in you today?
On today's feast of the Holy Innocents, find a way to reach out to someone in your life who you know may be going through some sort of suffering and be a part of showing God's mercy and love to them through your friendship. And, if it's been more than a couple of weeks since you went to confession, get to confession and let God reveal his mercy to you there!
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 Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.
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