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).
This time of year is nuts. Students and teachers are scrambling to make it through exams, deadlines are approaching office workers, gifts are being shopped for at every store, holiday plans are being solidified, and every one of us feels the weight of the end of December. It’s a little bit backwards, if you think about it. Holidays and time-off have ended up becoming a time of stress and craziness for just about everyone, young and old.
Up until a year ago, I felt the same stress and pressure this time of year. But in taking a new job I found myself in an office that has a totally different philosophy this time of year: take time off. I’m really fortunate to be able to have a couple of weeks at the end of the year where I can use vacation time to just take off, shut down the engine, turn off notifications, and simply rest. However, I learned that this time of rest isn’t simply about not having to do work, but it’s about finding ways to take the burdens and the weariness and give it back to the Lord.
Today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah, paired with the Gospel from Matthew, reveal the beautiful strength that God has and the trust and dependence we are called to have. We are going to grow weary, time and again, in our lives due to the very real and necessary responsibilities that we have. The burdens of dealing with our jobs or our classes aren’t going to magically disappear, and we are called to be faithful in giving our best effort for them. But the good news is that no matter how over-burdened we become, God is strong enough to bear those burdens.
Jesus doesn’t preach to the crowds today in a metaphorical or hollow way—to just say something that is nice to hear but can’t be backed up. Jesus is inviting the crowd to truly come to him and to hand over their labors and their burdens because he can bear them. When we place our cares, worries, struggles, and weariness on the Lord, he alone can not only bear them, but also give us the rest we need.
Take the weariness of the end of this year, however crazy it is for you, and turn it over to the Lord. Trust that God can bear the burdens that you offer him and then take advantage of the rest that he offers you.
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 is burdening me or making me feel weary this month?
How have I seen God help me carry this burden and find my way through the busyness?
When and where will I find time rest and find time with the Lord this week?
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.
"Come to me."
"I will give you rest."
"Learn from me."
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?
Sit down and actually schedule out when you are going to pray each day this week, whether it is for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or a whole hour. Set reminders on your phone, and share your plan with someone, asking them to hold you accountable.
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 Adam Smyth, the Life Teen Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Woodlands, TX.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.
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