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 is so much going on in this reading today, and quite honestly in my mind, it is kind of hard to know where to start. But if you couldn't guess by the title, today I really want to focus on: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Now when I read this as a Theology Teacher, I think of the richness of this statement and how it points back to the Suffering Servant in Isaiah and the story of Issac and Abraham. It is incredible to see how this simple sentence can show Jesus' Identity and Mission in a subtle yet powerful way. However, I want to focus on it a little differently today. I want to focus on what it means to be "beloved" and what it means to make God "well pleased".
Love is the way we are most like God. Our ability to love and to be loved is what sets us apart from all other creation. And simply because we are God's creation we are loved by Him. We are the beloved sons and daughters of God just because we exist. It's hard to know what it looks like to be loved sometimes, because no one on earth can love perfectly, but no matter how much or how little love we receive from other people, God is always loving us with an infinite and unconditional love.
When we receive that love and share it with others, then God is well pleased. I like to think that when Jesus told us to be perfect like our Heavenly Father, He wasn't talking about never making a mistake but more about loving well. The New Testament is covered with commands to love, and that kind of love is only possible as a responds to the unconditional love God gives us at every moment. Pleasing God is not about being perfect as we think of perfect, it is about being perfect as God sees perfect; it is about love.
One year ago today was the worst day of my life. My youngest sister, one of my best friends, passed away. My sister, Heather, had been struggling with a drug addiction for years and on January 12, 2019, it took her from us. On earthly standards, she definitely wasn't perfect. Her legacy was not her imperfection though; rather, everyone who knew her remembered her for her love. Countless people came up to us at her funeral telling us of times they personally felt loved by Heather. Literally hundreds. As I look back, one year removed, missing my sister so much, I realize that she lived her life as a beloved daughter of God and because she was so willing to share that love with other, God definitely is well pleased. I know more deeply what love is because of her, and I can only hope to have that same impact at the end of my life. I honestly don't care about any other legacy than that.
So today, as we officially end the Season of Christmas, let love be born in our hearts. When we were baptized, God spoke those same words to us; that we are His beloved child and call to receive and share His love. There is no test or achievement or formula, simply love and be loved by Him. Stop trying to live up to the world's standards of perfection and let God's love be your legacy. And if you ever feel like you've made too many mistakes to come back from, just ask for Heather's intercession, because if love can overcome and outshine addiction and death, it can overcome and outshine any obstacle in your life as well.
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 some ways that you can receive God's love today? (Seriously spend some time praying through this question because there are endless ways He is trying to love you right now.)
How can you share this love you have received with others?
What do you want your legacy to be?
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.
"Here I am Lord."
"I am Your beloved child."
"Thank You Jesus."
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?
Tell someone you love them today. Show them that you love them as well. Make a habit of letting those you love know it. Never let a day go by without sharing this great gift of love that God has given us.
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 Sean Norris, a theology teacher at JSerra Catholic High School in Orange County, CA.
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