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 recently been reading C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time. The series consists of seven allegorical novels in which a lion named Aslan is the ruler of all of Narnia. One of my favorite quotes from the second book in the series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, comes from when the children first hear about Aslan:
“Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”
Of course when you see a lion, you don’t think of it as safe, especially considering you typically only see them on the other side of a thick glass wall at a zoo. However, Aslan’s character presents a striking idea that maybe just because something is not safe, does not necessarily mean that it is not good. Now I’m not talking about recklessness here, but rather the sense of unsafeness that challenges us and pulls us out of our comfort zone.
The paradoxes we read about in the second paragraph of today’s first reading flip our own world on its head in so many ways. These phrases are things we would never imagine seeing happen in our world. But maybe that is the way the world was always meant to be. I think sometimes we become too comfortable with just accepting the world as we see it while scrolling through social media or while flipping through channels on TV, whether we are watching the news or reality TV or another dark and twisted drama.
Jesus came into our world to flip it on its head. He came to shift our paradigms and challenge the way we think and view this world. Jesus never promised that following Him would be safe. In fact, He told us that we would each have to carry our cross and face persecutions. But we never have to doubt that He is Good. God became man to enter into our broken world and call us out of our complacency into new life with Him.
As we begin Advent, I invite you to take a step back and look at the way you view the world and particularly this season. I think our world wants to offer us a certain view of these days leading up to Christmas - mostly consumer-driven and greedy. I encourage you to challenge the status quo of this season and search for that deeper meaning which the Lord wants to reveal to you in these days leading up to His birth.
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.
What are some things that you are too comfortable accepting in your daily life?
How can you dive into the paradox of this season and let the Lord really flip your life upside down in the best ways?
Do you trust that the Lord is Good even if He doesn't seem "safe"? Why or why not?
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."
"You are Good."
"Here I am 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?
Don't let yourself settle for a "comfortable" Advent this year. Find a way to challenge yourself to get beyond comfort and embrace the beauty and paradox that this season really entails.
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 Maggie Super.