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. Love. Summer.
I love cookouts, I love bratwurst, I love lawn games, I love Bruce Springsteen music and anyone’s grandmother’s pistachio salad; I love everything that goes along with summer. It is such a wonderful time of fun things to do, a season of rest and relaxation. Summer is a pause from school, from holiday busyness, from a lot. It’s a great couple of months when we get back to the basics and just try to enjoy.
Really, it’s the same liturgically. I absolutely love the feasts of our Church year. I love Easter and Christmas and all the joy they bring with them, but when we hit Ordinary Time and the priest starts wearing green again, it’s so nice to listen to the Gospels and really return to the basics.
I had a friend, Charles Worthington, III. He was always Charles, never Charlie, Chuck or Chuckie (or even Chaz). Always Charles. Charles always answered all the questions in class, and he was always right. He always used his knowledge to make you feel small. We all know people like Charles. We all know that neighbor or co-worker or family member who uses knowledge as a way to hurt us. But, even worse, is when someone does the same sort of shenanigans in a religious context. When our priests make us feel little or make us feel as though they know more or when the Church lady humiliates us because she just got back from a Bible conference and we don’t even know what a scapular is…this is particularly distasteful because it seems to go against the grain of everything religion ought to do. If Jesus’ message was one of communion, of love, of fellowship and mutual support, if his words were, “anticipate one another in showing respect," then knowledge as a tool for manipulation has no place in the sacred.
So, it’s obvious Jesus doesn’t want us to act like that. He does, however, want us to be like children. Think of little children - we’re not talking teenagers here we’re talking small, small children. Think of their freedom; they are free from ego. They’re free from preoccupations, and they’re indifferent to others’ reactions. They are oblivious to time. A little child does not care about status, position, bills, future plans. Kids get lost in play. This is a state of deep joy. It’s a state of true freedom. Freedom to relax and trust that another will care for them. Freedom to enjoy the enjoyable.
As adults, we’ve gotta become free in order to play, and our playing is cooperating with divine grace. Our playing is getting lost in the Father’s love for us. Our playing is forgetting the time and being sucked up into the inner life of God. Jesus intimately clung to His Father. He had an intimate relationship with the Father, a relationship like nobody else, but Jesus never used His knowledge of the Father as a tool for manipulation.
On the contrary, Jesus wants to share His special relationship with everybody! Rather than make his knowledge secretive to distance himself from the third party, Jesus says…Come to me! Share my inner life! He invites us to accept, receive, be free, enjoy. He invites us to flourish. It’s kinda obvious, it’s spiritual physics. Get hung up on yourself and you’ll never understand what Jesus was all about, but get over yourself and be welcomed into all that Jesus did and taught. Be a little one and you’ll get it.
Dear Good People: no, summer is not a liturgical season, but the Church affords us an excellent opportunity to slow down, to be childlike, to abandon ourselves to our heavenly Father’s goodness. This summer I invite you to rest in the Lord. For the next couple months let’s care about Jesus Christ and nothing else, and see where it gets us.
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.
This summer, what can you do to truly focus your heart on the Lord? What are the things, the busyness, the craziness, and everything that has been weighing you down? How can you let those things go in this new season?
When was the last time you truly let yourself play? To forget the worry, to be light, and to enjoy life? How can you do that, and truly encounter the Father's love in it?
How often do you reflect on God being good? What does that idea mean to 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.
"You are good."
"You bring freedom."
"Help me be a little one."
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?
Find a way to make play a part of your day today. Laugh with some friends. Go ride a bike. Whatever it is, find something to truly relax your heart and your mind and experience the goodness and joy that the Lord offers.
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 Fr. Jon Bakkelund, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.