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).
The first reading for today invites us to view the Lord as the Good Shepherd. We are the flock of His inheritance, His Church, redeemed by the Cross and reborn in the waters of Baptism. The prophet Micah speaks of the history of the Hebrew people, who after leaving slavery in Egypt, wandered throughout the desert for forty years. This number of forty has profound history in Sacred Scripture, and is associated with fasting, penance, and waiting.
After being set free from slavery in Egypt, the Hebrews were led into the desert to undergo, so to speak, spiritual combat in preparation for entry into the Promised Land of Israel. So too is Lent structured, as we journey for forty days with Jesus in the desert, undergoing penance and sacrifice for His sake, so that we might enter with Him into Jerusalem at Holy Week. We are faced with trials and temptations on every side, just as Christ Himself was by the devil. But we need not lose hope. Christ goes before us to show us the way to victory over sin and the devil, and by His example we can progress in sanctity.
The prophet Micah speaks of how the Hebrew people asked for and received wonderful signs in the desert. They received the manna, or the heavenly bread, and the water from the rock as signs from God of their inheritance. We might ask: what are our signs in our own deserts? Does God continue to work for us in the same way He did for the Hebrews?
The answer for us should be a resounding: yes and even more so! In our desert in Lent, full of penance and sacrifice, the Lord is walking before us, just as He led the Hebrews through the desert to the Promised Land. The Heavenly Bread we are given is that of Christ Himself, the Bread come down from Heaven. The water in which we are nourished is the waters of our baptisms. This is how the Lord, the Good Shepherd, leads us through the desert. He leads us the flock, removes our guilt, forgives our sins, and has compassion on us, all along the way if we follow Christ our Shepherd to the Cross, and, God willing, the true Promised Land of Heaven.
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.
How has the desert of Lent been so far for you? What temptations have you had to endure?
How have you grown closer to God so far this Lent? How have you let Him lead you and help you through the desert?
Have you let the Heavenly Bread of the Eucharist sustain you this Lent? How can you rely more on the Eucharist for the rest of Lent?
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.
"Sustain me Lord."
"Lead me Lord."
"Thank you for your mercy, God."
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?
Let the Lord sustain you more this Lent. If you aren't going to Mass every Sunday, make a commitment to go for the rest of Lent. If you are going every week, make a commitment to try and go at least once more throughout the week if possible! And let Him cleanse your soul in confession as well!
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 Kevin Poynton, graduate of the University of Dayton with a Degree in Religious Studies.