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).
When I was in college I got to visit a place called Montserrat, which is in Spain. This is where St. Ignatius of Loyola famously laid down his military arms to proclaim himself a soldier in Christ’s army. The pilgrimage site is run by Benedictine Monks and when we arrived, my friends and I were shocked at our reception. A ragtag group of mangy college kids in t-shirts and flip flops (my hair was 13 inches long at the time), the monks put us in comfortable living quarters, allowed us to roam and tour their multi-million dollar facilities, and welcomed us into the daily prayer of the monks. We ate all of our meals with them and even upon our arrival were treated to a wide variety of local cuisine. We hadn’t paid anything, we didn’t know any of them, we hadn’t done anything for them. Our only prior contact was that we had emailed them letting them know we planned on coming to visit.
I reflect on that moment in looking at today’s Gospel, a Gospel that illustrates Jesus’s desire to give of Himself not to the deserving, but to everyone, without exception, at all times. The setting for the Gospel is the pool of Bethesda. According to local belief, an angel would from time to time come and stir up the pool into a whirlpool; the first to enter the whirlpool would immediately be healed of their physical ailments. So, a vast multitude of physically ill would gather around the pools and wait for their opportunity to enter the waters and be healed.
Jesus asks the sick man in today’s Gospel if he wants to be healed. One might expect him to say yes, but instead he answers with a complaint that there is no one to take him into the pool. Jesus heals him and the man takes up his mat and walks away. The Pharisees ask him who healed him and he doesn’t even know! He didn’t really bother to catch Jesus’s name. When Jesus comes back into the temple and the man identifies him, but again offers no thanks or praise.
And yet, Jesus heals him anyway. The sick man in today’s Gospel showed very little signs of faith. Jesus, however, heals him anyway. That is why the passage intentionally pits Jesus against the Pharisees: the works of Christ are for the undeserving, while the Pharisees obsess over who is deserving (determined by the exactness of the prescribed law that must be followed in order to please God.)
Make no mistake about it, you are undeserving of God’s love. We all are! But that is no reason to despair. Rather, that is a reason to boast! Our sin and unbelief makes us undeserving, but God doesn’t care. He instead looks at each of us and asks that proverbial question: “Do you want to be well?”
Today, is the feast day of St. Francis of Paola, founder of the Order of Minims. Minims is a word meaning small, lowly, least. Pray to the Lord today for the humility to come before Him, recognizing that we are undeserving, celebrating more in the Lord’s goodness: that in spite of anything we have done or what little faith we may have, He looks at us regardless and says at all times and in all places, “Do you want to be well?” AMDG.
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 do I need healing of in my life?
How do I fall into the lie that I don't deserve God's love?
How is my view of myself different from how God views me?
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 love you, Lord."
"Increase my faith."
"Let me be healed."
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 time today to ask God to help you see yourself as he sees you. Don't focus on your own view of yourself but ask God to help you see yourself as his child- let his love for you be the lens through which you see your life.
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 Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.
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