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).
To be honest, today’s Gospel definitely rubbed me the wrong way when I read it. I sat with this Gospel wracking my brain as to why Jesus would initially respond to the Canaanite woman in such a seemingly harsh manner. Then I came across this quote from St. Augustine on today’s Gospel:
“Christ showed himself indifferent to her, not in order to refuse her His mercy but rather to inflame her desire for it.”
When God does not give me the answer I want in prayer, do I grow discouraged and walk away? I would argue that too often we are afraid to be bold in our prayer. We too easily let our desire for the Lord and His mercy fizzle out instead of fanning the flame in our hearts. The Canaanite woman was willing to have the scraps, the leftover pieces that no one else wanted.
The beauty of the Lord’s mercy is that it is infinite, and when we come to Him in our humility and in our spiritual poverty, He wants to give us the fullness of His love and mercy. The Lord never refuses us mercy; we are the ones who allow our pride to get in the way when we do not initially receive the answer we want in prayer or when we allow our desires for earthly things to be greater than our desire for the Lord and His mercy. C.S. Lewis once said:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel refused to be far too easily pleased; she refused to settle for anything less than the Lord and His mercy. I want the Lord to see that my desire for Him is strong; I don’t want the Lord to see my desires as too weak or see me desiring earthly things more than His infinite love. My prayer is that we might become like the Canaanite woman and realize that our desire for the Lord can never be too strong.
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 is your response when God doesn't give you the answers you want in prayer? What should it be?
If you're honest, what are some earthly things that you put in front of your desire for God? How can those earthly desires point you to the infinite, to God, who you desire more than anything?
What does it mean to truly desire the Lord? How do you think you can work to ensure that you truly desire Him in your life?
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.
"Your mercy is great, Lord."
"I desire You."
"Help me truly long for 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?
This coming week, make fasting a part of your life. Maybe you choose a day to give up meat. You could make a decision to fast from snapchat. Maybe this week you fast from hitting the snooze button and instead really focus on getting up to pray. Whatever it is, take your desire for worldly things and point it to God.
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 Maggie Overbeck, Assistant Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.