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).
Last year was a tough one for me, and at many points I was feeling the heaviness of a wounded heart along with deep suffering and loneliness.
As much as my friends tried to comfort me, two electrical fires, flooding, a condemned house, a pain-filled workplace, and a broken heart was absolutely isolating. I felt like no one could understand the depth of my despair and constant pain.
Even the comfort of Jesus at times didn’t help, and I felt like I was drowning in the chaos and disasters around me.
It was looking back on the year, once I survived and got my sea legs again, and trying to understand that period of pain and confusion that I came to a deep realization: all of the emotion and pain I had felt, Jesus had felt that much more intensely.
Though it still doesn’t all make sense, it gave me comfort to realize that I was not the only one who felt that way. Many times when I offer up suffering, I do just that and offer it up. In my mind, I am suffering this way FOR someone because the Lord asked me to. But this mentality forgets an important promise: that Jesus is always with us. And we are not supposed to act simply for Him, but rather, in Him.
The Lord was WITH me in that suffering. I wasn’t doing it for Him or outside of Him, but He was there with me. I wasn’t being asked to suffer alone. Amid every heart stab and every night I sobbed myself to sleep, He felt that anguish and was right there in it with me. I wasn’t alone. As I was crying, He was crying with me. He knew the ache, He knew the pain. And He also knew something I didn’t know: the light that was at the end of the tunnel.
Whatever hard challenge we go through, whether we are persecuted, isolated, challenged, jeered, hurt, betrayed, unwanted: Jesus felt the same way. Let us unite suffering to Him, and not try to get through it alone or for Him. Even when no one on this Earth can understand, Jesus understands. There is no pain He has not felt – no pain He will leave us alone through.
Let us take comfort in that – We are His, and He loves us too much to leave us alone. Even when we can’t feel Him, He is there. If we seek Him, He will be found.
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 you go through difficult times - as maybe you are now - how does that affect your relationship with the Lord? Do you go through those things WITH Him, or do you just try to get to Him as if He's not in that moment with you?
Next time you experience deep trial, how can you be sure to turn to the Lord? What ways can you remind yourself of His presence in those moments?
When someone around you is suffering, how can you comfort them, knowing that the Lord has experienced that pain, and help them to see that He is there with them?
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.
"You are with me."
"I am not alone."
"Help me suffer well."
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?
If you are going through a hard time, every time you are reminded of the struggles today, do something concrete to focus your heart on the fact that the Lord has experienced that pain before and is with you. Maybe you say a short prayer, or memorize a Scripture verse that you can repeat in your head. If you're not the one currently experiencing that pain, do something today to reach out to a person in your life who you know is struggling.
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 Andrea Scott, a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.