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).
As I type this, I know I have a lot to do. I’ve got three quizzes, two exams, a speech, a lab report, and a few homework assignments due before Thanksgiving, and I wish I was kidding. As a student, it’s fairly hard not to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work we might find ourselves facing. Actually, scratch that: as a human, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of “everything” we find ourselves facing. So when today’s psalm focuses on victory, it’s a different kind of victory than the victory the world encourages. Victory isn’t about getting the best grades, having the coolest friends, wearing the right things, or even looking the right way. It’s not about having it all together, never worrying about anything, or feeling in-control all the time.
Do you know who the Church considers victorious?
Job, the one who lost everything all in one day, whose prayer was written in tears and questions for God.
David, whose psalms overflow with suffering and anguish.
St. Paul, who was constantly thrown into jail, stoned and beaten several times, and was killed for everything he believed in.
Jesus Christ, who loved both the outcast and the overly powerful, who refused to speak out against those persecuting Him, who fell three times as He carried His cross, who ultimately died the most gruesome and humiliating death possible in His time.
Of course, these people all had great moments of joy and love as well, which come as a side-effect to serving God. This happiness manifested itself in community, in laughter, in friendship, in family, in peace, etc. It was different for them all, but all ultimately found happiness and strength from faith, even through their trials.
Overall, being victorious in God’s eyes is just as the psalmist describes it in the stanzas: follow God, no matter how many people tell you otherwise. Rely on God, especially in the worst of times. Trust God with all your heart. And yes, this last part means it’s okay to be pretty blatant with God about how you’re feeling about all of this too. By asking us to be victorious, the Church isn’t asking us to prove our success in gold, grades, etc. It’s just asking us to trust and love God, knowing that He’s providing everything you could ever want.
Bottom line: God loves you more than you could ever know; and even if you aren’t feeling victorious in any sense, He’s incredibly proud of what you’ve done so far, fist-pumping it up in Heaven and showing off your achievements to all the saints. And He’s using everything around you to encourage you to keep striving for victory in 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.
Spend a little time offering God all the things that are worrying or overwhelming you right now.
How is God supporting you through those trials?
How is the Lord calling you to claim true victory, through Christ, in those difficult moments?
Take time to rest in His peace. He loves you more than you could ever know.
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.
"Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life."
"Jesus, I am victorious in You."
"God, help me to trust You."
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?
Next time you encounter a trial -- before you even deal with the problem -- stop what you're doing and pray. Pray for greater trust in God's will for you and in the victory He's won for you.
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 Tatiana Schaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne studying Engineering and Psychology.