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).
I’ve always felt a personal connection to the central figure of today’s gospel reading, St. Thomas the Apostle, called Didymus (which means “the twin”), but known most commonly by the more informal nickname of “Doubting Thomas”. Not only is Thomas the patron of my own parish, but I also very much relate to his apparent hang-up for wanting hard evidence of something before he can fully buy in on it. For a long period of time in my faith journey I harbored varying degrees of doubt that all the claims of the Church could possibly be true.
In the Gospel, we all are familiar with Thomas’ assertion to the other Apostles, after they claimed that they had seen the Lord, that he would not believe unless he was personally able to see with his own eyes, and put his hands into Jesus’ wounds. To him, and to most people I imagine, believing that this man had come back after he was brutally beaten and crucified to the point of death was just too tall of an order. There was no, absolutely no, doubt that he had died; the events Thomas, and all the Apostles, lived through beginning with the arrest of Jesus in the garden had an absolutely decimating effect on all of them. Believing in something so seemingly impossible as Jesus being back from the dead, after witnessing and suffering through the monumental tragedy of his torture and murder, was simply "impossible" for Thomas. I reckon though, that it would just as easily have been “Doubting Peter” or “Doubting Bartholomew” or “Doubting any one of the others” if they had not seen Jesus with their own eyes. It’s easy to see where Thomas deserves a break on this one.
Like Thomas, I also struggle at times with truly squaring my mind with things I am told, but haven’t personally witnessed myself. How can I know for certain that God has a plan for my life? How can I really know that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ? How can I be certain that an eternal life of joy has been unlocked for me because of the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the Cross? Perhaps you feel the same way at times. How can we overcome our doubts?
Jesus gives us the answer to that question. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed”, he tells Thomas later. What does that mean? It means “those who have Faith”. None of us are as privileged as the Apostles were to have walked with Jesus, or to have heard with our own ears and learned from His words. Nonetheless, it is the gift of Faith, given freely by God to those who seek it, which allows us to truly know that God does have a loving plan for us, that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist at Mass, and that we are zealously awaited for by our Creator in heaven; where He will welcome us home with a love that will finally and forever utterly wipe-out whatever human uncertainties we may still have.
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 have any of those doubts? Why do you think God lets us doubt things instead of just giving us all the answers immediately?
How can we overcome our doubts?
Would you have been like Thomas and doubted, or would you have believed your best friends? Would you have been able to have the same response of faith when you did know the truth? "My Lord and my God!"
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.
"My Lord and my God."
"Help my to believe."
"Jesus, I trust in 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 the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Let go of your doubts and run to confession. Let your wounds and doubts be healed in the wounds of Jesus and feel His Mercy.
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.