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).
Being a Christian is hard. This is probably not news to you, but it is not easy openly living out a faith that will often get you ridiculed. I have certainly asked myself, is it worth it? It is worth being made fun of, or yelled at, or lumped in with a group of people I hold nothing in common with. Being a follower of Christ is counter-cultural because Christ was counter-cultural. Although the idea of going against the grain and being your own person sounds really good in theory, it can be really tough. As a Christian, you will experience suffering and hardship, which shouldn’t be a surprise seeing as how you are striving to be like Christ who was ultimately abandoned, mocked, tortured, and died.
We all suffer. For many of us, maybe our suffering is trying to openly live out our faith, but for some, maybe it is something deeply personal and serious like an addiction, or depression, or anxiety. I don’t know what you might be going through, but we all suffer in someway, which is okay. What is not okay is allowing yourself to fall into despair. This is what St. Paul was talking about when he said “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” Whatever suffering you may be going through, big or small, Jesus is there suffering with you. You have to remember that Jesus has experienced suffering to a degree that I hope none of us will ever know. Yet for some reason we think that Jesus can’t handle our issues, because he just wouldn’t understand, or some excuse like that. Jesus knows exactly what it is like to suffer, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. So instead of running away from our suffering, or trying to hide it from God, why not give it to Him? Why not simply ask Christ to help, to take it away or to fill us with hope so that you can persevere through your suffering. St. Paul says, “through hope we are saved." What he means is the only way we can persevere through our sufferings and hardships is through hope rooted in Christ. A hope that God loves you, has a plan for you, and that He will ultimately bring you out of any hardships you might be going through.
Suffering may be part of the Christian life, but it shouldn’t be done alone. If there is something you are suffering with you need to tell a friend or trusted adult. When you have people around you who know what you are going through, they, along with Christ, will make you stronger and make sure you keep striving for greater holiness.
Don’t lose hope and know you are never alone in your suffering. Christ is always with you, especially in the darkest times.
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 are some of the things causing you suffering in your life right now?
How can you give these sufferings more to Christ? How can you unite your suffering to His, instead of hiding it from Him and trying to handle it all yourself?
How can sharing your suffering with people who love you help you get through it?
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.
"Here's my heart Lord"
"It is well, with my soul."
"Jesus, heal me."
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?
Don't let suffering and despair bring you down. Shine light on it and give that suffering to Jesus. If there is something you are struggling with, share it with a priest or you parents or your youth minister today. Do not let it keep you down a minute longer.
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 Jason Liuzzi, a middle school religion teacher at St. John the Evangelist School in St John, IN.