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).
There are a few ways to interpret the intense first verse of today’s reading from Hebrews: “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.” One is to give thanks that we are still living and able to spread the Gospel by our words and actions. Another admittedly less helpful way is to believe that we aren’t doing enough in our fight against sin and we should be suffering more.
I’d like to suggest another way to interpret this: struggling against sin won't always have the publicity of martyrdom. Martyrdom has been romanticized as the be all, end all of living a fully Catholic life. Sometimes, we wish that our efforts to live a moral, counter-cultural, and radically holy life would be affirmed by giving our lives for sake of the name of Jesus Christ. But we typically experience the opposite. Instead of a public witness of virtue, our battle with sin is witnessed by only ourselves and God.
This is where the discipline that Hebrews speaks of comes in. Disciple comes externally (parents, coaches, teachers, and the like) and internally (self-discipline), and it is something that must be learned and developed. We want to get to the place where we can have the self-discipline to battle sin without being worried about the recognition for doing so. That’s the place in which we can find union with God.
In order to achieve saintly self-discipline, we need some help. This is where God steps in. “Do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him,” says the writer of Hebrews, “For whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” We ARE sons and daughters of the Almighty God by the grace of baptism. This means God wants us to grow as his children. This means you are worth being disciplined.
Does this sound odd? Think about being a child and disobeying your parents. Everyone has an experience of this, and likely more. What would you think if you got away with everything? Would you feel that you were truly cared for? Would you feel like a lost cause? If this was your experience, I am truly sorry. Still, we take heart that God IS that good Father who never sees us as too far gone.
It won’t be easy. We hear that “all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.” God sees you fighting your sin as you strive toward holiness. He has grace to give us on the way. You are more than able to achieve this level of discipline to, with the power of Jesus Christ to help us, live out the radical holiness that gives witness to the love of God.
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.
In what areas of my faith can I be more disciplined?
Do I accept your forgiveness when I lose my way?
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.
"Dwell among us."
"Help me be patient."
"Jesus, I trust 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 the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Spend 5-10 minutes extra in prayer today. Keep it simple and don't overcomplicate things—God wants to dwell with you and be deliberate with his time, so give him just a little bit more undistracted time to dwell in your heart.
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 Kevin Gregus, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Chicago.