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 recently had a conversation with some friends about other non-Catholic denominations (i.e. branches of Christianity). One of my friends mentioned the year that one of the denominations was formed. What struck me about it was that it was founded after I was born. I’m older than that religion. There are many, many new expressions of Christianity springing up every year. Even if you’re pretty young, more likely than not even you are older than some of those denominations too.
I gotta say, personally I’d be a little uncomfortable if I was older than the religion I professed. Particularly if the original founder - in our case, Jesus Himself - walked the earth thousands of years ago.
This reflection is not meant to bash other non-Catholic Christians. The Lord is bearing fruit through many of them! It’s just that on a day like today - the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter - I’m so grateful to be Catholic.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to Peter a famous line, especially for us Catholics: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” At that moment, St. Peter became our first pope. But my favorite part is the sometimes overlooked thing Jesus says next: “and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”
That is what the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter is all about! It’s no secret that popes aren’t perfect. The Church has had a fair share of not-so-great popes. That’s why it’s not called the Feast of the Amazing Perfectness of Every Single Pope (St. Peter was far from perfect. Also, that’s a terrible name for a feast day).
Even today some people don’t like Pope Francis. But Jesus’ promise is not so much about the pope himself ... It’s about his chair. I know that sounds weird, but his chair represents the authority of our Lord who founded the Catholic Church that you are a part of. He promised that no matter who sits on that pope-chair, no matter how imperfect they are, and no matter what happens, “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”
We are safe in the embrace of Holy Mother Church. As you pray with today’s Gospel, be at peace. As a Catholic, you are in the one place on earth where you are guaranteed to be victorious over the powers of hell.
Happy Feast of the Chair of St. Peter!
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.
Why are you grateful today, even if it's not always easy, to be Catholic?
What does Jesus' promise that the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against the Church mean for you and your life?
How can you be more active and involved in the life of your church, bringing those who don't know Jesus to a full encounter with him through your sharing of your faith with them?
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 for the Church."
"Your promises are true."
"You are the Christ, the Son of the Living 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?
Thank a priest today! Either through text / email / Facebook / Twitter / in person, tell them you're thankful for their ministry. Ideally, you'd thank the Pope himself; but since you likely don't have his number, you can thank your parish priest, and tell him you're praying for him, since his ministry comes from his Bishop, who does his ministry in union with the Pope who sits on that chair of St. Peter!
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 Dan Wolff, husband, father and spreadsheet extraordinaire in Crystal Lake, IL.
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