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).
Growing up, I had a best friend named Pat who lived about 30 seconds down the street from me. Ever since I can remember, we would spend virtually all of our Fridays and Saturdays together, as well as pretty much every day during the summer. We went to the same grade school together, played in the band together, and balled out with some mad games of 21 almost every day after school. We went to different high schools, but still stayed close. Then, we went to college and fell off a bit. For about 6 years our contact was limited and the texting low. But whenever we would come home, we knew where to find each other again for a game of basketball. Fast forward another year to my wedding, and one of my greatest joys of the day was to have Pat travel all the way from St. Louis to Texas to be by my side at the wedding. Though not as close now as we were growing up, I sincerely hope you can find a friend like Pat in your life.
Today’s first reading is a very practical take on friendship, one that causes us to reflect on the friendships in our own lives and the ones we should strive to have. In very plain words we receive from the Book of Sirach what a good friend looks like: “a study shelter, beyond price, a life-saving remedy.” In a word as Sirach puts it: faithful. This faithfulness in my opinion has a two-fold meaning: 1) a friend who has God at the center of their lives and 2) a friend who, in the imitation of Christ, is always present and genuinely there for you.
Contrast this ideal with your own friends. Obviously, no one is perfect and we shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations of people. The larger point, however, is to discern about the friendships you have and whether or not they are ones that are genuinely leading you to holiness. That is what God is calling us to contemplate through this first reading. Sirach gives us quite a few examples of what bad friendship looks like: untrustworthy, only a friend when it suits them, won’t be nearby during times of distress or sorrow, or publicly shames you to others.
And yet, how often do we settle in our friendships? How often do we forsake the ideal of community God wants for us and instead trade it in for friendships based off of insecurities and peer pressure?
Pro tip from God today: seek out faithful friends. And not just because they are Catholic, but seek out genuinely faithful friendships for your life: people who truly love God and others and will be by your side no matter what. On the flip side, be that friend for someone who needs it. Reach outside of your already existing friend group and extend a hand to those who may not normally receive it. Love the Lord your God above all things and your neighbor as yourself; find faithful friends and be a faithful friend. AMDG.
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 qualities do I bring to my friendships? Am I a faithful friend? Do I bring my friends closer to holiness?
What qualities do I look for in friends? Do my friend help me be more faithful? Do my friends bring me closer to holiness?
Do I need to make some difficult choices about the relationships I have with those closest to me?
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.
"Help me be a better friend."
"Show me how I can be a faithful friend."
"Teach me about holy friendship."
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?
They say that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. Who do you spend the most time with? Are these people faithful friends who are striving for holiness? Pray for your friends today!
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Today's prayer was prepared by Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.
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