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).
Stories about evil spirits being commanded out of people is one of those things that had always just been a “bible story” to me. You know those bible stories that you’re totally cool with- they make enough sense, are beautiful and powerful even, but don’t seem super “relatable” nowadays?
Ever since recently finishing the book, “Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance” by Neal Lozano, this kind of story no longer seems so far-fetched.
What struck me in this Gospel passage is both the word “authority” and that Jesus successfully commanded the unclean spirit to leave the man. In the book I just mentioned above, the author, Neal, makes a recurring point about the importance of authority in deliverance prayer: “Authority is the power to act on behalf of someone else… Jesus had authority as the Son of God. He did not need someone else’s name to cast out demons.” (pp. 100-101)
Jesus gave his disciples authority over evil spirits; He gives us authority. The deeper our faith, the more full our personal relationship with God is, the more authority God gives us- even as lay people!- to act on His behalf. And when we speak, pray, and command with authority, in the name of Jesus, we are not relying on our own strength or abilities, but acting as an instrument for Jesus to work through us.
When I read this passage, I couldn’t relate exactly to the man and what he said, but I could relate to having spiritual bondage, the impact of sin, and the effects of personal hurts and wounds. I still have a long way to go, but I am already so grateful for all of the graces God pours out for me to have strength to resist the devil and overcome sinful habits and temptations, and for the holy people in my life who have prayed for and over me in the name of Jesus.
We don’t need dramatic evil manifestations in order to start seeking healing and freedom or to pray over one another. Jesus gives us, you and me, authority in His name to advance the Kingdom of God here on Earth now!
None of us were around to witness Jesus free this man from the unclean spirit, but there is still need for Jesus’ merciful, powerful, loving authority. Remember St. Teresa of Avila’s prayer: “Christ has no body but yours.” Pray for yourself and pray for each other. Act on the authority entrusted to you. Renounce the evil one, the lies, the empty promises. Speak confidently in Jesus’ name. You are a beloved son/daughter in Christ. He desires your healing and freedom. Do you also desire it?
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 can I glorify you today?
How can I listen to you in the silence?
What do you want to me to hear from you?
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
Calm my heart, Lord.
Help me to hear your voice.
I want to know 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
Do something today for someone else to that lets them know you see them as a brother or sister in Christ.
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 reflection was prepared by Katie LoBosco.