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).
Have you ever walked into a situation where you felt confident that you knew what was going to happen, only for the total opposite to actually take place? I think about that all the time. I move through life pretty fast, making assumptions about people and what they are doing, only to be blown away when I drop my pretenses and actually encounter them.
The shepherds, the magi, and all who came to see the baby Jesus must have felt this way. Jesus, their long-awaited Savior, probably didn’t look anything like they had expected. The magi traveled for a long time looking for a king. That journey probably took at least a few months, and they first went to a palace expecting to find a king. Instead, they found a baby, born in a cave, born to a teen mother, and sleeping among the animals. That is probably like nothing they had expected to find.
But still, they came. They did Him homage. They recognized that this little baby was their king. They truly saw Jesus for who He was.
We have opportunities each and every day to see Jesus. Yet, often we pass them by because it is not how we expect to see Him. St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) said, “I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.” St. Teresa could see Jesus in the poorest of the poor, in the unexpected, and in the people that are so often overlooked. Ultimately, that is not very different than how He came: poor, unexpected, and overlooked.
This past Advent, I was trying to see Jesus in the people that I overlook. The tired person in a shop. The cashier who got yelled at by someone in front of me. The mom with a screaming child who everyone is avoiding making eye contact with. I tried to see them as Jesus and offer whatever help I could by smiling at the cashier, giving an extra dollar to the cold bell ringer, and helping people with their bags. This was my goal. But, most of the time, I was too rushed, too impatient, and too full of my own problems to make it happen.
Then, one night, I knocked on my neighbor’s door. I only intended to drop something off, because I had a million places to go and things to do. But then she invited me in, and I said yes. And, in our conversation, I saw Jesus. I saw Jesus in the woman I have lived next two for two years and didn't know. I saw Him in how much she wanted to sit and talk, and I saw how busy I had been that I wasn't letting anyone, including Jesus, interrupt my plans.
I saw Jesus that day somewhere I didn't expect. And in seeing Him, I had the opportunity to choose Him.
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 have you encountered Jesus in ways you didn't expect? What has He revealed to you recently that you didn't expect?
What tends to hold you back from encountering Him? How can you be more open to seeing Jesus wherever He wants to show Himself to you?
What do you think the experience of the Magi was like? What would it be like for you right now to be able to look into the manger with them? How does God want to reveal Himself to you in that manger scene today?
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.
"Reveal Yourself to me."
"I long to see You."
"Help me follow 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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Change your schedule or attitude in some way today so that you can spend time talking to or listening to someone you normally wouldn't in order to see what God might want to reveal to you in that person or 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 Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.