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).
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
I often wonder, why do people choose a certain religion, and what convinces them to stick with it?
or many of us we’ve been born into and raised in a certain faith, but there is eventually a moment when we take ownership and dedicate ourselves to the truths we profess. Others are drawn to a faith because of good music, engaging lessons, and the comfort community gives us. Those positive things aren’t bad; the powerful lessons, upbeat music, and community—but there is a deeper foundation for us as Christians. Why Christianity? Why the Catholic Church?
There are countless reasons, but one of the foundational life-giving truths is this: Jesus is who He said He is. God became man, and freely accepted death out of love for you and me. The all-powerful God-man dragged an excruciatingly heavy cross to His place of death. In dying He destroyed death and made eternal life possible for each one of us. It’s a gruesome image that in its proper context is the world’s most hopeful image. The story doesn’t end with that walk and death on calvary; Christ invites us into His sacrifice.
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
Jesus has gone to the Father in heaven, the place of perfect joy. Heaven is the top goal; it is the ultimate driving force for saying a resounding yes to the call of faith. Jesus doesn’t just flip a switch at calvary that forces us to love Him. He invites us into His sacrifice.
First, He calls us to deny ourselves. Time and time again Jesus goes above and beyond to love the souls in front of Him, even after long days of the crowds pressing in on Him. He steps away from ministry to pray to His Father, but quickly is pulled back into service. Without exception, He denied Himself for the good of the beloved souls in front of Him—and we too are being called to deny what we might want in a certain moment, that another might experience deep love. He calls us to take up our own crosses. It can be tempting to run at the sight of any heaviness or pain, yet Jesus is saying that we should freely take up our cross. In Him accepting His cross, the world was saved from death. I imagine his friends couldn’t quite grasp that something painful could eventually bring a greater good.
The same goes in our crosses. Even if the weight of the world seems to be on your shoulders, Christ is there. Seeing purely as man does, delving into a faith that calls for suffering wouldn’t be my first choice, but seeing as God does, through your yes to bearing your crosses countless souls will know the sort of eternal bliss dreams are made of. Following Christ might lead us on a bumpy road, but the destination is so worth 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.
What do you imagine it was like to be one of Jesus' disciples and hear him talk about taking up your cross?
What are the things in your life right now that are crosses you're being asked to bear?
How can you allow your pain and suffering, your trials and difficulties, to unite you more fully to Christ and his cross?
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.
"Thank you, Jesus."
"Help me carry my cross."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
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?
Pay attention to the things – little or big – that you encounter today which are crosses for you. As you take them on, silently thank the Lord for this chance to be united to his cross.
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. Robert Blood, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.