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).
At first glance, the first reading and the Gospel today seem to contradict each other. The first reading leaves us with this beautiful message: "choose life." When we reflect on these words, we come to the understanding that this is at the heart of the Christian life.
Our beloved St. John Paul II referred to the world in which we live today as the culture of death. As a missionary on a college campus, I constantly see students around me inadvertently choosing death over life. They make choices with the hope that the outcome will bring them true peace and happiness, but ultimately that leave them empty. Every single person is longing for something... we long to be loved, we long for happiness, we long for peace... but how do we fulfill all of these desires? By choosing life. By making choices that will bring us true joy, not emptiness and death.
However, in choosing life, in choosing to live for Christ and to live for true joy, this means we also have to die in some ways. The Gospel makes this clear to us: we cannot be disciples of Christ without first losing our lives.
So how do we do this? How do we both choose life, yet lose our lives?
As we enter the season of Lent, I invite you to ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing this season. Are you giving certain things up because you have to, or because of a real desire to grow in relationship with Christ?
A friend of mine described the season of Lent in the best way... reflect on what graces you want to receive through the Resurrection of Christ this Easter, and then practically figure out what you need to do during this time of preparation to ready your heart for those graces.
And this may involve giving certain things up that are hindering us from growing closer to the Lord. This may involve incorporating things into our prayer lives, or giving of ourselves more fully to organizations or people around us.
Ultimately, what we are doing this season is losing ourselves... We spend these 40 days losing ourselves in Christ, growing in prayer, emptying ourselves entirely of anything that is not of Him.... so that we may choose life with Christ. We enter into the Passion of Christ during this Lenten season, so that we may join with Him in His Resurrection at the end of the 40 days.
Christ is the only one who can fully satisfy our desires and our longing for happiness. I invite you to look at Lent in a whole new way this year. To not get caught up in the things you can't have, or the ways that you are suffering, but to embrace these moments, and to live in the hope of the new life that is to come on Easter Sunday.
Lose yourself in Christ, so that you may choose life with Him.
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 is your fasting helping you to grow in relationship with God?
What choices have you made or what things are you currently pursuing that are leaving you feeling empty?
How will you lose yourself in Christ this Lent and choose life in Him?
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 choose life."
"Fill me up, God."
"I lose myself in 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.
Fast from anything that does not bring you life today, and lose yourself in Christ.
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 Sarah Freddino, a FOCUS Missionary at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.