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 don't like suffering. I have a pretty low pain tolerance. When I was little, I wouldn't do anything that would lead me to get hurt because I was afraid of getting a scar. In 7th grade, I stopped writing in my diary because my dog died. It was easier to stop writing than to write down what I was really feeling and experiencing. In fact, if you look at all my journals through the years you can always tell when I went through a rough patch because I just stopped writing. It is so much easier to run from suffering rather than to embrace it.
It is a fitting thing to reflect on as we enter the first day after the Christmas season, the first day of ordinary time: we are all called to suffer. And Jesus suffered more than most. He knew what it was like to be picked on. He knew what it was like to lose a friend. We just spent weeks celebrating His birth and singing “glory to the newborn king”. But the first reading today reminds us that Jesus was born to suffer. He was born to suffer and die so that each of us might have eternal life.
He didn't run away, even when He had the chance. The devil tempted Him. He was jeered at and told to come down from the cross, but He never did. He chose to follow God’s will for Him, knowing that His suffering would bring the world so much good.
At Christmas, it's easy to get caught up in the lights, the presents, the food and celebrating Jesus’s birthday. And it is something we should celebrate! But we can't lose sight of what happened later: His suffering and death. We can't gloss it over. What happened to Jesus was brutal and startling. He was under so much stress that he sweat blood. Then His body was whipped probably so completely that His skin was shredded. He had thorns pushed into His head. Then He had to carry a heavy cross beam through crowded, rocky streets before He was nailed to it.
Jesus embraced His suffering, because He knew good could come through it. How often do we run from our suffering instead of acknowledging that it can be used for good? Offer us your sufferings, your trials, your finals, your fights with friends. Give it to God and ask Him to make something good and beautiful out of it.
Don't run from suffering, embrace it.
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.
"For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering."
At Christmas, did you reflect at all on Jesus's suffering? Why is it important to reflect on His passion and death year round, not just at Easter?
Jesus died for you. How does that change your life?
Are you afriad of suffering? Why or why not? How can you embrace suffering 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.
"Jesus suffered for me."
"Jesus died for me."
"I offer up my suffering to you Lord."
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?
Today, you will face some hardships, big or small. Offer them up to God and ask Him to use your suffering for good.
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 Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.