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).
As we start to get closer and closer to the end of this Liturgical Year, many of our readings start around now to turn to a common theme: the Second Coming. This, of course, refers to our belief that, at a time and an hour unknown to us, the Lord will come back and the world as we know it will end. At this time, we will all end up either in eternal union with the One who grants all of our hopes and desires, or eternal separation from Him.
Obviously, the end of the world is not a fun topic. Why, then, does the Church make sure that our readings start to point to this moment year in and year out? It's pretty simple, actually: at some point, the world is going to end, Christ is going to come back, and we are going to live for eternity one place or another. It's probably good, then, on a regular basis, to take stock of where we are in our lives and what sort of fruit we're bearing.
The First Reading from Isaiah today begins to ask the question in a real and concrete way: what sort of fruit are we bearing?
In this prophetic reading from Isaiah, the Lord's voice can clearly be heard: what more do you want Me to do in order to reveal myself to You? I created you and gave you this beautiful world. I gave you the chance to be protected, to be cared after, and to be picked at the appropriate time. I took care of everything, and yet are you really ready to give me the fruit that I long to see?
Jesus will come again, and this should be a joyful thing! As we go about our lives, we are given the grace of the Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Wisdom of the Church to lead us into deeper union with the heart of the Father. If we allow Him to produce fruit within us and around us through our cooperation with His will, the Lord will prepare us so that, when He comes again, we are ready to be united with Him for all of eternity.
First and foremost, then, we need to take stock. What is the fruit in my lives? We can learn this fruit by looking at our day-to-actions, our relationships, our prayer, and everything else in our lives; is the fruit what the Lord desires, or have we allowed our gardens to run wild? Then, once we've taken stock and allowed the Lord to reveal to us what He wants to do in our lives, we must have the boldness to truly and authentically commit to allowing Him to bear fruit in our lives. We can do nothing without the Holy Spirit; let's allow them to bear fruit in our lives today, and let absolutely nothing come between us and the God who gives us all that is good.
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.
Take some stock of your life. What fruit do your friendships bear? How about your family relationships? How about your school / work? What sort of fruit do you see around you in your life?
How can you be more open to the Lord being the one who takes care of the vineyard that is your life and let Him take control?
In what ways are you preparing for the Second Coming of our Lord? What in your life can (or should) change in order to truly prepare for that moment?
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.
"I trust You, Lord."
"Help me bear fruit."
"I am Yours."
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 concrete way to examine the fruit in your life. One helpful way to do that would be to make a chart with two columns - "bears fruit" or "doesn't bear fruit." List areas of your life, activities, relationships, etc. under one or the other. Then, use this to form a plan to allow God to bear more fruit in your life.
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 Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.