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).
What is holiness? What is the Christian life?
We see Jesus in His Transfiguration today in the Gospel, and I was so tempted to write about that, but this second reading really stood out to me. It is so real, so honest about the Christian journey. And also somehow only two sentences - thanks St. Paul. So how does St. Paul explain holiness and the Christian life to us? Let's break this down a little and see.
First he starts off by saying we will suffer. Not really a warm and welcoming greeting, but honest and realistic. I don't know about you, but I can really appreciate when someone can acknowledge that a situation is going to be tough. Then he continues by saying even though we will suffer, God will give us the strength to bear it all. Just like that friend who says "it is going to be tough, but you are tougher," St. Paul knows that we are tougher because of God's grace. So we know that the Christian life means we will suffer, but it also means we are stronger than the suffering because of God.
And now the second sentence. There are a ton of things we can pull out of here, but two main things stick out to me: how can we be holy, and the victory of Christ. First St. Paul says we are to be holy, but not because of our works. He says we are called to be holy "according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began." This means it is God's grace that makes us holy, not our own merit. This can be confusing though, because clearly we become more holy when we pray more, and go to Mass, etc. So how can that be? Ultimately it boils down to us accepting and cooperating with God's grace. We find this grace everytime we pray, but most especially in the Sacraments. But the Sacraments do require our participation. God does the work, but we have to participate. That is how we become holy, that is how we are transformed by grace.
St. Paul finishes his second sentence talking about the victory of Christ. He uses the word immortality. St. Paul is telling us that we will live forever if we bear the suffering with God's strength and participate with God's grace to become holy. That is the Christian life. It will be hard, but God will give us enough to pull through. We have to do our part, but God gives us the grace just for participating. Nothing we do on our own can make us holy, only running to God's grace freely outpoured for us can do that. And we get to live forever because Jesus destroyed death. Amen.
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 are some ways that you may need to suffer and share in hardship for the gospel? In other words, in what ways might you have to endure suffering to live for Jesus and to share His love?
How can you better (or more often) participate with His grace so that you can become more holy and be able to endure that suffering better?
What does immortality mean to you? What does life after death with Jesus look like?
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.
"Jesus I trust in You."
"Lord, give me grace."
"Here I am Lord."
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?
Make receiving the Sacraments a greater priority in your life. Receive the Eucharist as often as possible, even daily if you can. Go to confession regularly. Nothing you do on your own can make you holy, only running to God's grace freely outpoured for you can do that.
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 Sean Norris, a theology teacher at JSerra Catholic High School in Orange County, CA.
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.