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).
Here we are in the middle of Lent. We, as Catholic followers of Christ, offer this season as a time of reflection and preparation as we approach the glorious celebration of Easter. In many ways, this time for us echoes the flight of Moses and the people of Israel through the desert as they journeyed out of Egypt and to the land that the Lord had promised them. Their trek lasted 40 years, while ours is 40 days. They were brought out of slavery in Egypt, as we are delivered from the slavery of sin. They ultimately attained the freedom found in their new land, just as we, at Easter, recognize the great miracle of our salvation and freedom bought for us by Christ on Calvary.
Typically, we practice a tradition of sacrifice during Lent. We focus ourselves more towards God. Many of us “give something up” as a way of reminding ourselves of the significance of our Lenten journey. I would bet that each year, all too often, many of us would probably have to confess, that at times we’ve neglected our chosen sacrifice. This year, I decided to skip weekday lunches during Lent, and only have a small snack. Trust me, I have found myself very much reminded of my sacrifice each and every weekday afternoon since Ash Wednesday. One day last week, a good friend texted me and asked if I wanted to join him for lunch at Panera. I hadn’t met with this friend for some time, so I immediately began running through the justification process in my mind to convince myself that it wouldn’t be a big deal if I blew my sacrifice that one day … I told myself that God wouldn’t mind, he knows I’m human … I tried to barter it away by pledging to make it up on the weekend … I even thought “why do we even give things up for Lent anyway?” In the end, however, I fought off the temptation to break my self-imposed fast and sat at Panera chatting it up with him while eating a single apple.
What was it that convinced me to stick it out? During the height of my temptation, I realized that, just as God had let the Israelites off the hook sooooo many times during their journey through the desert, when they gave in to their human frailties and chose to go their own way, rather than His way (such as in the story of the golden calf in today’s first reading), God would also lovingly forgive me if I lapsed in my sacrificial exercise. I didn’t want Him to have to do that. I didn’t want to take advantage of His mercy. I decided in the end, that I would do my best, through my own small sacrifice, to try to live up to the monumental sacrifice Christ made for me. The great beauty of it for all of us is, just like he did for the Israelites, God will always relent of his punishment when we turn away from Him, and welcome us back when we repent and return to Him. The joyous season of Easter is drawing ever nearer.
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 have you been tempted to give up on your Lenten fast?
How will you recommit yourself to fasting this Lent?
How have you experienced God's mercy this Lent?
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 give it all to you, Lord."
"I recommit my life to you, Lord."
"You save me, 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?
Recommit to your Lenten fasts today, and pray about why you have chosen to fast from these things.
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 Jim Lundgren, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.