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 am not good at waiting. I’m the kid that always tried to snoop for Christmas presents so I knew what I was going to get. I’m the one who looks for spoilers before movies come out so I can know what to expect. I am a poster-child for this generation of “I want it now”.
I’m terrible at waiting because I hate that period of not knowing or experiencing. The biggest issue I have with waiting is that, once what I’m waiting for finally arrives, I experience it in a passing moment and then it’s done. I’ve learned that if I wait for something and build it up to be great in my head, I’m often disappointed and unchanged once that thing finally happens.
Today’s gospel reading introduces us to a wonderful challenge to my terrible ability to wait: Simeon. Simeon was a holy man, so it’s no surprise that we find him in the temple as Mary and Joseph come to present Jesus. Simeon is a master of waiting- he was told by the Lord that he wouldn’t die until “Christ of the Lord” had come. That’s more intense than any sort of waiting we do on earth. Think about this- you are literally stuck waiting for something, but once it comes, you die. I think I’d be horrified if that thing finally happened! But Simeon was a wise man, filled with the Holy Spirit, who knew that his waiting would mark the biggest event in the history of the world.
Jesus is presented to Simeon as the moment finally comes. Simeon praises God with his beautiful song, blesses Mary, and then as far as we know, goes on to pass into eternal life. But what’s so amazing about Simeon and about this story is what it teaches us about waiting.
We just spent a season of Advent waiting for the Lord to come. But how much did our waiting affect us? Is your life any different today, in this Christmas season, as a result of your waiting during Advent? If not, I think you can take a lesson from Simeon. Our waiting shouldn’t be a fleeting thing or a passive experience that leaves us unchanged. Simeon waited for years and years to see the coming of the Messiah, but his waiting cultivated a deep holiness in him- it changed him. When we wait for the Lord, especially, we should be seeking to prepare for the change that comes once He arrives. Jesus has come and our lives should be different this Christmas season because of that!
We have to let the times when we’re called by the Lord to wait begin to really shape and transform us, so that once He does come, we are changed for the good. As Christmas ends, take time to reflect on how you’ve been changed now by your experience of waiting in Advent.
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.
Do you feel like you changed and grew in your relationship with God during Advent? How can you begin to grow or continue to go deeper with Christ?
How do you handle waiting? Do you find it difficult and become impatient, or do you use it for your personal betterment? How can you let the times where the Lord calls you to wait to shape and transform you for the better?
How would you have reacted if you were in the place of Simeon? How can you grow to have more trust and faith in God so that the Holy Spirit can fill you with love and peace, especially during this Christmas season?
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."
"Help me change."
"Thank You, 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?
Today, work on patience and trust in the Lord. Pray about what you have been asking the Lord for and praise Him for how He has made you wait. Take time to see your situation, or a past situation, through the eyes of God and pay attention to how God used that time of waiting for your good. Let waiting be a tool for your holiness.
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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 Adam Smyth.