Step #1: Lectio / Read
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).
Don’t even think about skimming through this.
You know that one sin?
Yes you do.
The one you don’t talk to anyone about, the one you barely even acknowledge to God. Maybe you haven’t told your friends, your family, anyone; if they knew, of course they’d admonish you. They’d think of you differently, they’d look down on you, or, maybe the worst of all, they wouldn’t understand in the slightest. You’re scared of judgement, because obviously good Christians don’t struggle with this.
You think about it sometimes, maybe lying awake at night. About how it entered your life in the first place, about how badly you just want it gone, maybe about how you want to talk about it, but the words/timing/people just never seem right. Maybe you want it completely out of your life, or maybe you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that it’ll always be there, too attached for even God to remove it. It can make you feel unworthy and undeserving of God’s love, and it can make you feel very alone.
Well that’s a lie.
Hidden sin or not, today’s Gospel (and one of my favorites) speaks very loudly about the power and authority God has, and our own weakness in the face of that power.
To this centurion, Jesus was potentially his last hope to save his servant, regardless of what the other Romans thought of Christ. Even the disciples praised this man by saying “Jesus, look at all the good he’s done. He definitely deserves your help.” The centurion’s plea for help, however, demonstrated the opposite.
Just like us, this centurion had his own sins, and he acknowledged them. When the centurion asked Jesus for help he showed his weakness yet also his need for God’s grace with the words, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof… but say the word and let my servant be healed.”
The centurion knows he doesn’t deserve Jesus’ help, but trusts Him enough to know that His mere words contain infinite amounts of power. Just as a military officer’s command is always obeyed, so is Jesus’ command. If Jesus said the servant would be healed, he would be healed without a doubt.
Do you believe that?
Just like you, the centurion knew He didn’t deserve God’s love, His grace, or His help. He asked for help anyway, demonstrating a lot of strength in what the rest of the world calls weakness. And just like the servant, we’re all in need of God’s help. Whatever you’re struggling with, you’re NOT less worthy, you’re NOT less loved by our infinite God, and by no means are you alone in this.
God has thousands of angels, saints, and powers of Heaven lined up, prepared to rush to your defense at any moment. God’s been watching, listening, and loving you throughout it all. All you have to do is ask for help.
Don’t you dare close this tab without doing that.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart.
What is that one sin you're most afraid of in your life? Don't make excuses for yourself. Simply own up to it, acknowledge it, and face it for a moment.
Now offer it to Jesus. Like the centurion, recognize your own weakness and failure to cure or fix yourself. Totally rely on Jesus' mercy.
Pray for the courage and faith to accept His mercy. Pray for help to really believe that He can and will forgive you.
Praise and thank our Lord for His love and mercy. Spend some time letting Him fill you with hope.
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.
"Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed."
"Jesus, I need you."
"Lord, have mercy on me."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Make a resolution to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation soon. And don't just decide to, start taking steps to make it happen: find the confession schedule at your church, look at your calendar to figure out when you can go, etc.
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 Tatiana Schaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne studying Engineering and Psychology.