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).
Washington, D.C. traffic is horrendous. And by horrendous, I mean there are so many cars (not to mention terrible drivers, ill-planned streets, and pedestrians) on the road at one time that it can turn the nicest, most patient person into a road-raging terror.
A few weeks back, I was driving home on the highway when I had the utterly terrifying and out-of-body experience of seeing a terrible car crash right in front of me. On this rainy Sunday, a small sports car whizzed by me and several other cars, then lost complete control and drove up the side of a berm. The car catapulted into the air, then was crushed as it flipped over five or six times, finally landing right-side up on the road, not far from my vehicle.
I pulled over and sprinted to them, expecting to find two dead people inside.
But, by one of the greater miracles I have ever seen, both of the passengers were OK. They were bloodied, bruised, and in shock, but they were struggling to get out of their twisted seat belts and crawl through the now glassless window. A few other people had also stopped, and we frantically tended to the victims and tried to grab their personal items now strewn on the highway. Cars kept whizzing past, some even honking at others who tried to slow down.
First responders were there not long after, and taking one look at the scene, completely shut off the highway. I remember my stomach dropping as I watched one officer bravely ignoring the anger, horns, and yelling that was directed at him as he blocked the road.
All I could think about was what a miracle it was that this man and woman were alive – and how angry and spiteful some people were that they were going to have to wait.
The whole situation shook me to the core, and after I was released, I drove away very slowly and in silence. I vowed to have more patience when stuck in traffic, especially when stuck because of a car accident.
Unfortunately, I was confronted with this scenario just 20 minutes later, on that same drive home. A smaller fender bender left the road nearly blocked. Even then, I had to verbally remind myself how grateful I was that I was OK and not involved, and that 30 more minutes in traffic was not going to make my day as bad as the people who had been involved in a wreck.
There are hundreds - probably thousands - of symptoms, but the impatience shown at this accident scene is just one indicator of people “living for ourselves.”
In today’s First Reading, St. Paul reminds us that as Christians, we are not to live for ourselves but that, once Christ died for us, we are to live for Him.
This acknowledgement – that we are living for Him – should change every aspect of our being. Our lives should be radiantly different than those who are not Christians. Our patience should be greater, our resolve stronger, and our smile bigger.
A Christian living for God would not have honked and cursed at a police officer while a young woman was bleeding on the side of the highway. This may be an extreme example, but self-centeredness and this self-first mentality can sneak in stealthily, and the reality is that we all have certain areas where we struggle with living for ourselves.
To check ourselves, we need make sure that our hearts and minds are secured in God, that we may be aware when we are not living for Him, and begging for the graces, understanding, and strength to live for Him, and to live to love others.
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 areas of your life where you've noticed that you have a self-first mentality? How can you change your focus?
Why is it so easy for you to focus on yourself instead of God or others?
Where do you need to beg God for grace today? He always wants to give you the aid that you need to follow Him, but you need to ask!
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 choose You."
"I live for You."
"Give me Your grace."
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?
Seek out ways to go above and beyond in your quest for virtue today. Don't do things so people will see you, but rather seek out opportunities to love more selflessly or have more patience than most people, and beg God for the grace to truly live that way each day.
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 Andrea Scott, a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.