Step #1: Lectio / Read
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.
“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.”
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Sometimes dads can be so annoying. Can I get an Amen?
When I was younger, my dad had this phrase he'd use that bugged me so much. "What if I gave you a million dollars?" He would use it when I would get frustrated with something and want to give up. Let's say it was a discussion about my prayer life. It might've gone something like this:
Me: "It's so hard to pray every single day! I'm so busy and forgetful, and I don't feel God's presence in prayer. I just can't do it! No matter how hard I try."
Dad: "What if I were to give you a million dollars if you figured out how to pray every day? Could you do it then?"
Me: "No, the problem is I can't find time to pray."
Dad: "Then wake up ten minutes earlier every day."
Me: "Yeah, but I turn my alarm off and fall back to sleep."
Dad: "Then set a second alarm."
Me: "Yeah, well, even when I wake up early, I forget to pray."
Dad: "Then write a reminder in your planner."
Me: "But by the time I look at my planner, it's too late, I'm already busy at school."
Dad: "Then tape it to the bathroom mirror so you'll see it first thing in the morning."
Me: "Yeah, but..."
Dad: "What if I gave you a million dollars? Could you figure it out?"
Basically, my dad was calling my bluff. It wasn't that I couldn't pray. I liked the idea of prayer, but it wasn't truly important to me. I wasn't actually prioritizing it. I was making up excuses for myself because I wasn't willing to make the necessary changes or sacrifices in my life. My dad's point was that if I had more motivation -- like a million dollars -- then maybe I would make it a bigger priority. Even though it annoyed me at the time... he's got a really good point.
Are there areas of your relationship with Jesus where you could use more motivation? Where you like the idea of giving your life to Jesus, but it's not truly important to you yet? Maybe you want to make Him a priority in your life, but you're intimidated by the changes and sacrifices you'll have to make? Jesus plays the annoying dad in today's Gospel and lays it out perfectly clear to us: "Whoever loves me will keep my word... Whoever does not love me does not keep my words."
Make all the excuses you want. Find creative ways to explain why you "can't" give your life fully to Him right now. Proclaim your love for Him with a poetic masterpiece six volumes long. But our words and good intentions alone do not make Jesus a priority in our lives. To truly love Him, we must intentionally choose to keep His word and live our lives according to His will.
It's not easy. But it's simple: "Whoever loves me will keep my word... Whoever does not love me does not keep my words."
What if I gave you a million dollars? Could you figure out a way to live more fully for Him today?
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
"Whoever loves me will keep my word... Whoever does not love me does not keep my words."
God, show me what priority I've made you in my life.
Lord, I'm sorry for not making You #1 in my life, and for the excuses I make.
Holy Spirit, help me! Fill me with greater zeal and motivation to put You first.
Jesus, show me some practical ways I can make you a bigger priority in my life -- like prayer, involvement in my parish community, Mass, confession, loving my neighbor, etc.
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"Whoever loves me will keep my word."
"Holy Spirit, set my heart on fire for You."
"Jesus, be my #1."
For the Rest of Your Day...
Pick one way you can make Jesus a greater priority in your life today. Try to catch yourself if you start making excuses, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you greater zeal and love for Him.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Dan Wolff.