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).
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices.”
I feel that Jesus, I feel that. I’ve felt like the ‘Man’ has tried to keep me down, while my friends seemed to have the whole world. FOMO big time. My buddies want to get drunk but you’re ‘not supposed to’. I really care about my girlfriend or boyfriend, we’d been together a while, and I want to have sex but it’s ‘against the rules.’ My parents asked me to stay in tonight, and there’s a sweet party in the next neighborhood over, I could play my parents against each other…but I’m supposed to ‘honor them’. Bummer. The next Monday the only thing that everyone wants to talk about is the party, the drunken fun, and how far they ‘got’ with their girlfriend or boyfriend…and you are left with nothing to say because you went to Mass, had brunch with your parents, and then played crazy eights with your nephew.
You feel the twinge in your heart that while they were rejoicing you were stuck mourning the loss of all those good things. You feel jealous that you are left out. You might be tempted harder the next time because of it.
“So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice…”
It’s not easy to get jacked up about the faith when we think about the can’ts and shouldn’ts. But Jesus in this Gospel today is letting us know that we are made for so much more. Lets flip things around: You live a full Christian life. You graduated high school. You did well in college, having time to grow intellectually and spiritually. You loved your spouse well. You worked hard for your kids. You were successful enough to know that they would be taken care of. You attended mass weekly, sometimes even going during the week. You went to confession when you fell, and had Father over for dinner a few times a year. Sometimes your mind still wondered to how college would’ve been more fun had you given in to your roommates prompting to go out every night…but deep in your heart you know that you’d chosen the better part.
After this full life, you pass away peacefully holding onto your rosary beads. You come face to face with Jesus, and he recalls to you all of the moments that you sacrificed because you loved Him. He shows you that night in high school, where you wanted so badly to choose against purity and yet you bit your lip and stayed chaste. He showed you the night your buddy was drunk driving and crashed into a tree, and how if you hadn’t been sober and a phone call away he would’ve died. He showed you how your spouse struggled with self-worth and it was precisely through your hands that the Lord chose to love them. He looks into your eyes and says, “Well done my good and faithful servant, now share in the Master’s joy.”
Your mind no longer wonders what if… Your spirit no longer longs for anything… Your heart is flooded with a joy and love far beyond anything you could’ve ever hoped for. Our Lady walks up to you with her gentle and sweet smile and asks you, “Was it worth it?” You begin to laugh at the thought of that question…Tears flow freely as the love you offered to your friends, your spouse, your kids, and to God all rise up in you. You say with a confidence you doubted you’d ever have, “Any sacrifice would be worth it to be with Him."
“...no one will take your joy away from you.”
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.
When have you felt like you were giving up something you wanted to do for Jesus? What was that like?
How is Jesus calling you to live? How is He asking you to follow Him? Are you ready to make sacrifices to follow Him?
At the end of your life, what do you want to be known for? How does following Jesus lead you to where you want to go?
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.
"My heart will rejoice."
"Jesus is worth it."
"In Jesus, my joy is complete."
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?
Often we can feel conflicted between the world and our Lord. Pope Benedict XVI said, "The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness." Today choose not what the world offers, but the greatness that God offers.
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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 Robert Blood, seminarian of the Diocese of Rockford.
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