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).
While my wife and I were dating, leading up to almost every special occasion for which she knew I had a surprise planned, there she was, begging for a hint of some sort. She found such joy in the element of mystery, and her joy multiplied as she got a foretaste of the outcome in store for her.
When I read the parables, I imagine the disciples with a similar level of enthusiasm, as if to say, “Come on Jesus, just one more tiny hint!” They have an idea of where they are journeying, but at the same time, they cannot even fathom the depths of joy that they are made for. As such, Jesus enters into relationship with them, and little by little, He reveals the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. The parables in today’s Gospel follow suit.
Reading today’s Gospel, I especially appreciate how Jesus’ parables maintain a certain element of mystery. Although He uses these stories and images to put the Kingdom of Heaven into language that we can understand and relate to on some level, He doesn’t give it all away. We are still left with the element of surprise, as we know that the Heaven to which we are ordered is a place we want to be—a place we were made for— even though a true vision of eternal life cannot even begin to be grasped.
This element of mystery makes it possible for the Lord to speak to us on an individual level through the parables. We hear and internalize like a group of children gathered at story time—all receiving various messages, depending on the perspective we bring.
Today, my perspective felt a little overwhelmed as I read the three, rapid-fire parables that make up the bulk of this Gospel passage. Nonetheless, after taking time to reread and dwell slowly on every word, a question jumped out at me: am I the pearl or the merchant? Resting on this question for a while, I felt a little voice say, “Maybe I am both.”
Taking these words to heart, I began to see this whole passage in a new way: I am both the one seeking the treasure as well as the treasure itself. On one level, I am on a journey to find myself, a feat which can only be arrived at by a true and total self-offering. As I make this offering, when I think I’m finding myself, I am actually finding the One in whose image I am made.
It is only after the merchant and the seeker sell all that they have, that they are able to uncover the treasure that they seek. It is only after looking completely beyond the self’s attachments that they plummet deep within, discovering a true illumination of the self. It is only after practicing this true and total abandonment and offering that one can come to know the heart that made ours beat.
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 look forward to heaven? What do you think it will be like? Do you view life as a journey towards heaven?
What do you hear the Lord speaking to you, individually, in today's parables?
What treasure are you seeking? Earthly treasures, or the treasures of the Lord? How would you react to finding such a treasure?
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.
"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure."
"You are worth everything, Lord."
"I praise 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?
Seek the treasure of the kingdom of heaven in all that you do today, in your interactions with others, in your prayer, in the Eucharist.
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 Antonio Marchi, Program Manager for St. Joseph County Right to Life in South Bend, IN, and Jennifer Marchi, K-8 Resource Teacher at Mishawaka Catholic School in Mishawaka, IN.