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).
Happy Birthday St. John the Baptist! Today is a very sacred day; it is actually the only day that the Church officially celebrates the birth of a saint, we usually celebrate saints feast days on the day of their death or near to it.
What struck me today was words from the Prophet Isaiah, which prefigure the coming of St. John the Baptist. First off, we heard that from his mother’s womb he was made to be a “sharp-edged sword” and a “polished arrow.” We often think of the tenderness and beauty of children, but does anyone ever think of a child in the womb or a new-born as one to be made like a sword or an arrow? What this phrase brings to mind is the fact that God has created St. John the Baptist to be part of His army! He will be fighting for God! Not fighting in the sense which we typically associate the word, but with steadfast truth. St. John the Baptist is a model preacher and proclaimer of God’s Word, and he does it with great loyalty. This first point calls us to reflect on the role we have from our birth as well, as children of God through baptism, we are part of God’s army, we are the voices of truth that must not shy away from defending and speaking the Word of God to a world that more consistently refuses to hear it. So first off...keep proclaiming God’s Word as St. John did!
Secondly, as the Prophet states, often times we might think this witness in God’s army “is in vain.” “I’m uselessly spending my strength, time, freedom, and life on something that doesn’t reward me now.” Well, I would argue there is some reward now! More joy, peace, simplicity of life, fulfillment and happiness are a few incentives for our daily lives! But here’s the point...St. John the Baptist was a voice for God from his mother’s womb all the way to his martyrdom. He didn’t count the cost, rather, he listened to God’s voice, remained steadfast, and acted on His word in order to be a light to the nations. We might not see the results immediately or ever, but the eternal reward will make our perseverance worth it.
St. John the Baptist received a vocation from all eternity, and on earth he lived it out. How about us...Are we living out our roles in God’s army?
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.
How do you fight for God?
Do you share the Gospel message with others? Or do you shy away from it?
How has a relationship with God changed your daily life?
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 reward is with the Lord."
"The Lord called me from birth."
"I praise you, Lord."
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?
As a member of God's army, fight for Him today by sharing the Good News with someone.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. John McNamara, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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