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).
Let me be the first to say it: Welcome to the desert.
We’re officially into the second day of Lent, and today’s reading is a perfect overview of all of Lent. The first reading is the last message Moses has to his people in the desert before Moses’ death, and he’s laying out very clearly the two choices they all have in life: “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom.”
But here’s the thing: the choice is clear, but it’s not easy. Of course we want to choose life, but do we actually know what that means? The life offered to us by Christ requires a lot of sacrifice, requiring us to put aside everything else and follow Him. Following Him when it’s hard, when the sacrifice isn’t instantly rewarded, when prayer seems pointless, when we’re seemingly in the desert with nothing but ourselves. This is the kind of life that God promises will bring us happiness, because it turns our attention away from us, focusing on God instead of our feelings.
Welcome to the desert.
And on the other side, we have death and doom. How lovely. Yet as harsh as it sounds, this is what life outside Christ ultimately leads to. This is what ultimately happens when we try to live without Christ, fulfilling our every desire and living life simply by what we want. When the first reading says choosing other things will bring us death and destruction, that’s not God threatening to smite us for any wrong move we make; that’s God warning us that all happiness and goodness is found in God, and trying to live without Him will only bring us heartache and pain. The point of Lent is to put aside some of those things keeping us from God, put aside the things we use to find happiness in, outside of God, and turn back to the one who gives us the ability to be happy in the first place.
So when Lent gets hard, come back to this first reading. God isn’t just sitting in Heaven on a golden throne surrounded by Heavenly perfection scoffing at us and only accepting the best and most intense sacrifices. Instead, every little sacrifice basically leaves Heaven thundering with joy and celebration, St. Michael high-fiving St. Peter whenever someone chooses God over something in the world, even something as small as soda or wasting time online. All our little sacrifices this Lent have Heavenly consequences, and God promises to help us throughout every sacrifice we make.
So this Lent, don’t worry when things get hard. Grace comes out of each sacrifice we make, even when we can’t see it. And whenever Lent gets rough, remember the hundreds of thousands of angels and saints in Heaven rooting for you and ready to support you whenever you need it.
Keep your eyes on Christ, and keep going.
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 have you decided to give up this year for Lent and why? How can that sacrifice, small or big, bring you closer to God?
How will you choose life and prosperity over death and gloom this Lent? How are you able to recognize what will ultimately lead you to life and what will lead down a path of death?
What are some ways you can persevere this Lent? How can the prayers of the angels and saints help you in this journey?
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.
“Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom.”
"Keep your eyes on Christ."
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?
Take a look at what you are sacrificing this Lent. Be intentional about how these sacrifices can help you grow closer to God. If you need to change some of your sacrifices, do that today.
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. As you'll notice, we have a new format to the lock screen that you'll see to help us keep our focus throughout all of Lent. Purple is the color of this season, and the simplicity reminds us of the spirit of this season. May God bless each of us abundantly this Lent!
Today's prayer was prepared by Tatiana Schaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne studying Engineering and Psychology.