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 have a friend who struggles with her faith. About a year ago, while we were talking on a long road trip, she finally told me that her biggest stumbling block is the concept of the existence of Hell. She said, “I just don’t understand that a loving God would send someone to Hell. It doesn’t seem fair.” We had a long conversation about it, talking about how God doesn’t send anyone anywhere; rather, we make choices in our lives – are we living for God, or against Him? – and those choices we make throughout our lives bear weight into eternity.
God speaks through his prophet Ezekiel in today’s first reading, calling out the Israelites for claiming that God is not fair because their sins have consequences. We can all relate at least a little bit to the Israelites; we’ve all tried to justify our sinful actions for various reasons and felt it unjust that we be held to the higher standard, given this or that circumstance in our lives.
But we have all probably heard from our parents at least once in our lives that “actions have consequences”. This isn’t just a phrase they learned in Parenting 101 – it’s true. I can’t throw a baseball at a window and claim that it is unfair when the window breaks and needs repairing. I can’t turn off the light and claim that it is unfair that I am in darkness. I can’t turn away from God and claim that it is unfair that I am distant from him if I refuse to turn around.
The miracle of God’s mercy, though, is that with one tiny inkling of repentance, all is forgiven – the window repaired, the light turned on, the intimacy restored. He does not desire the death of the wicked; but each day we have set before us “life or death, blessing or curse,” and the reality is that we sometimes choose death. Out of love for us and our free will, He allows us to do that – but He never stops reaching out and urging us to turn back, to repent, to choose life.
And, through His Church, He gives us an entire season of Lent each year to dedicate to just that – turning back, repenting, choosing life. He is waiting to restore it all, to forgive and forget our sins, and to rejoice with us.
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.
Have you ever considered the consequences of your actions? How can you balance living in the moment with being aware of the consequences of your actions?
How has your sin kept you away from God this past year, and how can you reconnect with God this Lent?
What are you doing this Lent to let the Lord restore you so that you can have the most joyful Easter?
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.
"Purify my heart."
"Help me turn back to you, Lord."
"Repent and choose life."
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?
Take some time to take an honest look at your life. Find an examination of conscience and prepare your heart for confession. Then go to confession (most Churches have confession sometime on Saturday). Make that first real effort to turn back to God.
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 Megan Miller, the Director of Faith Formation and Youth Minister at Holy Cross parish in Deerfield, IL.