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).
One of my biggest revelations was this simple fact: I expect way too much from myself. How do I mean? I don’t know if it was from the idea that we all have to be A+ students and the best at any sport we do or be involved in every single activity and be perfect in it all, but somewhere in my American childhood I accepted the idea that I did not have permission to fail. Because failure equated “There was no hope.” Unfortunately, this mentality found its way into my spiritual life and therefore I thought sin meant failure and failure meant…no hope.
Fortunately, Jesus wasn’t caught up in this American mentality* and today’s Gospel teaches us a bit about who He revealed Himself to be. Consider for a moment yourself as the servant who goes to the king and receives mercy and pardon. But instead of going out and finding one of your own servants you go out and accuse yourself because you didn’t meet your own expectations. This happens all the time. In the sacrament of confession, GOD forgives us of our sins through the priest, but because we have such high expectations of ourselves we can sometimes leave the box not feeling like we have been forgiven. Our shame accuses us that what we did was sooooo horrible that even God couldn’t forgive us (except that He just did) and therefore we should still feel shameful and not good enough. #AmericanMentality.
Rather #Catholic we realize that the very reason Jesus came to this earth was because He knew we needed Him if we wanted to overcome our sins. See the word in that sentence? OVERCOME- it means that this life is a process of purification, sanctification and struggle. It is not a simple New Year’s resolution- “I will never sin again.” This life is a battle, but because Jesus Christ died for our sins and offers us forgiveness, we have permission to struggle. If we happen to fall or fail in the midst of the struggle, then we have His permission to ask for forgiveness meaning I have permission to forgive myself. For no matter how many expectations I may place on myself, there was only one who is Perfect and that is not me. Thanks be to God.
*Disclaimer: I am proud to be an American but grateful that Our Lord is bigger than our American mentality.
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 let yourself accept God's forgiveness? Why or why not?
How has "needing to be perfect" affected your spirituality?
How are you changed after receiving forgiveness (especially in Confession)?
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.
"I am sorry, Lord"
"Thank You Jesus."
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?
Fast from being so hard on yourself. Do the best you can, give it all you have, and be okay with being imperfect. Fast from the need to be perfect in the ways you want to be, and let the Lord heal and perfect you.
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 Fr. Sean Grismer, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.