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)
How often do you feel the weight of the world coming down on your shoulders? Or feel temptation and sin start to creep in? Or even lose sight of Jesus in a world filled with so many shiny and new products? I'm not going to pretend that this isn't a struggle that many people face in their faith lives. The reality is that we'll face many struggles and sin, but how we allow it to transform our hearts will change whether or not we are willing to receive the word of God.
When I was dealing with a serious sports injury and a bad break up in high school, I saw this play out in my own life. At first, I let my burdens consume my heart. Even worse, I let sin take the place of God in my life because I wanted instant gratification instead of waiting for fruit to grow. I though that if I could be in control of my life and my circumstances, everything would be perfect. But in the end, this ended up making my heart hardened. A hardness of heart means that we aren't willing to hear anything other than what we want to hear, and that was the reality I was living in during that time of my life. It was through a realization that nothing in this world could ever fulfill me like Jesus can that I began my journey to faith.
The struggle to bear fruit in your faith life isn't always about tragedy or sin, either. For some people, life gets so filled up with desires for things of this world that they don't leave room for Jesus. Or sometimes some people hear the Word of God and want to follow it, but don't let it take root in their lives through prayer, sacraments, and fellowship. No matter what the struggle may be, our hearts can't grow the fruit of the Word of God if we allow those burdens to overtake us.
Whether you are facing struggles, anxiety, sin, or desires for things of this world, the truth is that none of those things are of God, but the seed is. Our hearts are like gardens and it's our choice whether or not they will have a rich soil for that seed to be planted. You will always have struggles or distractions in your life, but you also can choose to control those things rather than let them control you. If you're anxious about life after you're out of school, choose to not let yourself dwell too much on it. If you're facing sin and it's making your heart hardened, stop putting yourself in a position where you have the opportunity to sin. If you're not praying, participating in the sacraments, or seeking good Christian friends, you need to be. The richness of the soil of your heart is your choice. If you make it easy for the devil to come in and steal away that seed from you, I guarantee you that he will. But if you make your heart a garden ready to receive the Word of God and let it bear fruit in your life, Jesus will work miracles within you. So what can you do to prepare your heart for Jesus today?
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 are you calling me to prune in my life?
How is my heart a place for you to grow?
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 want to know you.
Holy Spirit, come.
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
If you are able, spend your time in prayer outside in nature. Cherish the beauty of the world that God created for us to enjoy.
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 reflection was written by Brendan Slovacek.