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).
“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise” (Pope St. John Paul II).
Our readings today across the board are chock full of beautiful testament to the fullness of truth, beauty, and happiness that we find in Jesus Christ alone. In today’s first reading especially, St. Paul urges to the Athenians to take their desire to worship and find happiness in something to its logical conclusion: there is something, or rather someone, who offers us happiness, fulfills our desires, and does so perfectly and to the full, and His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died, was raised, and remains present to us today.
In Athens, they set up a variety of idols and false gods to give worship to, seeking their personal fulfillment in these gods and idols that fall short. Think in your life of any false idols or gods you may worship: fame, success, relationships, wealth, college, career, or whatever other thing it may be for you. Now, think of a time when making any of these things or pursuits the first thing in your life left you feeling happy or satisfied. The truth that Paul proclaims is the beautiful reality that these things cannot satisfy our deepest desires of happiness and fulfillment. Instead, we receive the life-giving and freely given gift of Jesus Christ Himself to direct our lives and very being, to order everything that we do towards something greater, namely, back to the One who created us, that by His love we may be with Him forever in Heaven.
To this end, Paul stands up at the Areopagus in Athens (think of a high court or something akin to Congress) and utters these profound words: “For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth…it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.” In the midst of all these things we may be tempted to worship and place at the center of our lives as the means by which we strive for happiness, truly, Jesus Christ and the glory of the Resurrection supersedes all of them.
For our own lives, may we take the words of St. Paul in today’s first reading to heart and may we order our desire, sense of happiness, and worship to the only one who matters: God Himself. In this is life, and what a beautiful life this is. Indeed, it is God who “is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.” 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 you think will bring you a sense of fullness and happiness in this world?
What are the idols or false gods that you worship in life? Do you feel like these things have brought you the fulfillment of all your desires?
How has the Lord brought you true joy and fulfillment?
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.
"You are my joy."
"I delight in you."
"You alone, Lord."
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?
Think in your life of any false idols or gods you may worship. With courage, ask God to rid your heart of those idols, and delight in the Lord who offers you the fullness of joy which you seek.
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 and currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.