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).
“Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.”
How do you feel after reading this psalm? Did it touch your heart in a particular way? Perhaps you read the psalmists words and say, “that’s me”. Perhaps you read it and said, “that was me a few months ago”. The reality is that each of us has a moment in our lives that we can look back on and feel similarly to the psalmist as he cries out to the Lord. We’ve all been sunk in the abysmal swamp, feeling no foothold to help draw ourselves out of it. We’ve been overwhelmed by the floods of suffering and evil at some point and felt like we have no way out. We’ve been afflicted and felt real pain in life in one way or another and that’s what makes this such a universal reading.
Suffering is real and there is no hiding from it, even if we feel like we can run away quickly enough to avoid whatever life slings at us time and again. But today, the Lord is speaking comfort and consolation to your heart and mine. I don’t mean to minimize suffering in saying that we all experience it or that we all get through it stronger and holier. The truth is, we often leave our sufferings broken, battered, and doubtful of God’s goodness or ability to care for us. But today, the Lord desires to speak comfort and consolation that go beyond any human words or exhortation.
The Lord hears the poor and he protects those who love him. If you truly turn to the Lord, in any circumstance, he will hear you and he will rescue you. The reflection I had with this psalm wasn’t focused on how it will all work out or in comparing my blind trust and faith in God’s goodness with the psalmist. If you read this psalm you’ll see that it doesn’t say, “I was afflicted and God answered me, so now my life is great- praise God”. This psalm is a pleading and a petition for God’s help, followed by trustworthy praise. There is no guarantee that God will alleviate every pain and every suffering right when we ask him. There is no sure way to speak the right words so God will pull you out of the swamp and live happily ever after right then and there. We’ve all experienced moments where we seek God for help and we feel as if we’ve been left alone or abandoned in the midst of the flood, even if just for a time. But nevertheless, God is moving and working to protect us and draw us into his love.
Today God is calling us to trust in his goodness- the goodness revealed to us as Christ hung upon the cross. The goodness of God may not be felt immediately and our suffering may not end with just one prayer, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have faith that God is still working for our good. Trust in that goodness, make your petitions known to God, and praise him in the meantime. God will always answer when you turn to him in your need and he will draw you into his Divine Life.
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 are you experiencing suffering in your life right now?
What makes it difficult to trust that God is working to save you and protect you?
In what ways has God been testing your faith? How can you grow in that faith?
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.
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"Increase my faith."
"Help me unite my sufferings to 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?
Write your own version of today's psalm: put words to how you're suffering right now, be honest with how you feel, and follow that with a prayer of praise. Let God know that you trust in him, however hard it may be to do so in your present circumstance!
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 Adam Smyth, the Life Teen Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Woodlands, TX.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.