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).
Sweet! Today's first reading includes one of my favorite Bible verses! "For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens" (Ephesians 6:12).
Yeah, I know it doesn't sound that poetic or inspiring at first.
But it reminds me of two things: (1) the real battle is with the devil and his demons, against sin and death, and (2) it's not with the people around me.
First, it's easy to forget about the hidden spiritual reality happening all around us. While it's true that our sins are actions that go against the Lord's will, they also represent small spiritual battles that we've lost. And when we choose to follow God's will even when it's hard, those are small spiritual battles that we've won. Every choice for or against our Lord is a battle against the temptations and obstacles that the devil and his demons throw at us. Our struggle is with "the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens."
That brings me to my second point. With all the conflict and drama we endure with other people, it's also easy to forget that our battle is not really with other people. I'm not saying that Catholics shouldn't argue with people or fight for a good cause even if facing opposition from someone. But everyone around you is also engaged in the very same spiritual battle as you are. Everyone around you is struggling against temptations and sin. Everyone around you is in a spiritual battle with the devil and his demons. Just because someone often chooses to go against the Lord's will does not make them your enemy. After all, don't you and I often choose to go against the Lord's will, too?
The devil likes to divide and conquer, to sow seeds of discord among us, to turn us against each other. He tries to trick us into believing that he doesn't exist, and that our real battle is with all those "bad people" out there. But the reality is that we are all God's beloved children, brothers and sisters in His family. Even during those times when we are most frustrated with people, it's important to remember that they've got the same Father who loves them with the same infinite love with which He loves us. Some of us get more lost than others at times, but the Lord never stops fighting to bring them His mercy and love.
And neither should we.
"For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens."
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.
When are some times you have sinned and gone against the Lord's will? What is something practical you can do today to choose God and follow the Lord's will?
What temptations or obstacles are you currently struggling with?
Who is someone that you truly struggle to love like you should? What can you do to better understand and love that person?
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.
"Lord, deliver us from evil."
"Thy will be done."
"Lord, grant us victory."
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?
Take some time today and to reflect on the temptations and obstacles in your life that you are currently struggling with. Ask the Lord to help you fight those temptations and obstacles. Be confident that the Lord will help you fight those spiritual battles.
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, High School Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.