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).
The readings today are PACKED. Feel free to go back and read them through once or twice more - there is a lot more wisdom in them than I could possibly break open in this reflection.
The thing I want to zero in on today is the first reading from Ezekiel, and specifically the water flowing from the temple. This water, which comes from the side of the temple, flows until it makes a great river. Ezekiel walks in this river with the angel until eventually they stop, sit on the bank, and realize that through this river, flowing from the temple, abundant life has been brought to the world.
For the Jews in the Old Testament, the temple was the very place of God's presence. The temple was the place where the ark of the covenant was held, the place where sacrifices were offered, and the place where you could encounter God's presence. In this sense, the image of water bringing life from the temple would make sense: this is the place of God, of course life comes from that place!
It is also interesting, though, because we can historically imagine something like this sort of a river running from the side of the temple, although it is a less pleasant image. You see, the temple was the place of worship and also the place of sacrifice. Not having the same sort of modern sewage systems we have, the blood from the sacrifice would have had to run somewhere, and downhill out from the side of the temple creating a sort of river of blood mixed with the water to wash it away would have been the result.
During this season of Lent, as you and I prepare for the events of Holy Week and Easter, the image of a temple, a place of God's presence, placed up on a hill, where a sacrifice is offered that leads to blood and water flowing forth, and eventually in that river that flows forth life is found, can be a very powerful image for you and I. What does it remind you of?
Jesus is the new temple, the new place wherein God's presence is because He is God, the beloved of God, God's presence on earth. He is taken up on a hill, offered as a sacrifice, and eventually His side is pierced so that blood and water gush forth. The Church Fathers have always looked at this moment and seen that from the blood of the side of Christ we find life; this is the place from which the Church is born.
Today, you and I can walk with Ezekiel in the river rushing from the temple and find in that place life. Even when the walk and the journey with the Lord is difficult and involves suffering and pain, we can look around and see that in persevering with the Lord there will always be life. This is the promise of the Lord: not that the suffering will not come, but that if we endure, if we walk with Him, if we enter into the river that is His life-giving water but also His blood shed for you and I, we will find that as we wade deeper and deeper into the river of the Lord's sacrifice we find new life in Him.
The rest of this Lent and beyond, may you and I find our life by wading into the Lord's great love, poured out for us at Calvary.
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.
Where is your temple? Where do you encounter God every day?
How is God pouring His love out for you?
What suffering is God calling you to endure with Him?
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.
"Thank you, Jesus."
"Teach me how to suffer with you."
"Show me your love."
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 take time to reflect on the living water that Jesus pours out for you. Write down whatever you are suffering from today and ask the Lord to walk with you in each situation.
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 Jason Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.