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).
This week, our first readings give us a taste of the story of Job, one of the most fascinating figures in the Old Testament. Job, we hear in today's readings, is one of the great men in the world: he is blameless, fearing God, avoiding evil, and serving the Lord at all times. Due to his steadfastness in following God, we hear God reminding Satan of Job's goodness, then giving Satan permission to tempt Job, and then a series of horrible things happening in Job's life.
Before we break open the story, it is important to give a little background on Job. The Bible is not one book, but rather it is a compilation of books, all written for a very specific group of people in a very particular moment in history. Job is a book that is written as poetry; this does not mean it's not true, as poetry can convey true events, but it is not written to be a history textbook. Therefore, when we read God talking to Satan, we don't have to try to picture this happening and figure out why God would have been having this conversation or letting this happen, but rather we can read it to understand why the things that happened would have happened and what the human author, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, meant to portray.
So what is Job all about?
First and foremost, Job is a book about the perseverance and faith it requires to handle the times in life when bad things happen to good people. What God's conversation with Satan reminds us is that God does not cause bad things to happen in our lives, and what Job's response here (and throughout this book, as bad things continue to happen) teaches us is that, even in the face of the worst tragedy (the man lost ALL of his animals, his shepherds, and even his own children in one chapter!), we can respond with faith.
How is it possible to have this sort of faith?
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."
In today's Gospel, Jesus knows the apostles are fighting about being the greatest, and so he places a child in their midst. He tells them to accept the child, to be the least, and to know that in becoming the least we receive our reward. If we become like children, meaning we trust in a Father who is good despite the bad things in our lives, we will be able to have faith in the face of suffering.
Many times, as we grow older, we start to focus on our own success. When God blesses that, we see that He is good; when we have hard times, we get mad at Him. Job shows us a radical new (old) way of faith: no matter what happens, God is still good. Children can believe that - they've been told God is good, they've chosen to believe that, and they've continued to choose it even if something hard happens.
Do we have the faith of children? Can we trust God in the face of tragedy and difficulty, knowing that He does not want us to suffer and that He is good even when things are not?
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.
How do you deal with tragedy? What is your first response in times of difficulty?
If you had to name what God is doing in your life right now, could you?
Does your own desire to be known, loved, and appreciated every outweigh your love of and trust in God? If it does, how can you work on making sure that doesn't happen?
Would you describe your faith as that of a child? Take some time to take stock of where your faith in God is right now.
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.
"You are a good Father."
"I trust You."
"I give you everything."
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?
What ways can you live out the faith of a child today? Pick something - maybe it's just taking time to notice a beautiful flower or sunset, or maybe it's telling your parents you are thankful they raised you in the faith - and do it.
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.