Before we begin this week’s lectio divina practice, please have this Sunday’s Gospel reading in front of you. For each of the four sections below, you will want to prayerfully read the Gospel passage before reading the section. For a quick review of lectio divina, please see this page from St. Meinrad Archabbey.
I recommend always starting with a prayer, I prefer a prayer to the Holy Spirit, but anything you are comfortable with will work.
This is the first time you are hearing this reading. Take your time as you read it and make note of any word (or phrase) that catches your attention. Say that word (or phrase) out loud and listen to it. Say it again if you need to. If you have more than one word allow sufficient time between them for you to contemplate each one.
If you are doing this with a group, share your word (or phrase) but only that. No additional commentary is needed.
REFLECT: What is God saying to you?
“Those convinced of their own righteousness” and “humbled.” This phrase and this word are the two things that stayed in my head when I read this passage. All I can think of when I roll these words around in my head is our current political environment in this country. Humility is something I am not seeing from the two main contenders for the Office of the President. Instead they both seem to reflect the very people this passage says that Jesus is talking to, “those who were convinced of their own righteousness.” And as a matter of fact, I feel like there is a lot of this going around these days. Not just in matters of politics, but I think social media has in many ways caused us to forget that we should not exalt ourselves, that humility is a virtue.
To be humble does not come naturally to many of us. As humans we often have a desire to be recognized, especially when we perform good deeds. But we also want our opinions heard and when we are convinced that our opinions are the only way to go, humility goes out the window. This Sunday’s passage has God telling us to forget all that other stuff and be humble, don’t worry about recognition or rewards, that stuff doesn’t matter.
As a mother, I know I have a chance to be humbled daily. Changing diapers, running errands, washing dishes, cleaning toilets, driving kids to activities, making lunches and dinners, and any number of tasks I do on a daily basis are all chances to act with a humble spirit. I don’t get a promotion for doing a good job (unless you count grandparenthood, but that’s still a long way off for me). I could get annoyed if my husband comes home and doesn’t notice that I finally got around to organizing some mess or cleaning some part of the house that I would rather ignore or even that the children are still alive; instead, a humble heart just takes delight in knowing that I am caring for my family, plain and simple. Phew!! That is a hard one day in and day out. I fail often at this. That’s why I like Scripture passages like this. It’s a good kick in the pants. Work with a humble heart here in this life and our reward is in the next life.
RESPOND: What do you want to say to God?
My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
This is often my prayer when I first enter the adoration chapel at my parish and often during the consecration during Mass. It’s basically the same prayer as that of the tax collector in this Gospel reading. I should try to repeat it to myself on a regular basis throughout the day. It’s a good reminder that I am nothing without God and that I need his mercy. Oh how I need your mercy, Lord!!
Clear your mind and read the passage a fourth and final time. Then just rest in the Word.
Share in the comments, what do you feel God is saying to you in this passage? How would you respond to him? You can also join the conversation on the Catholic Sistas’ Instagram account, but I’d love to hear your thoughts here too.