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).
So first and foremost, I have a confession to make: I used to aggressively dislike St. Paul. Okay, okay so maybe “aggressive dislike” is too strong of a phrase. It would probably be more appropriate to say that I just found him to be really, really annoying. With all his writing about how we should be more like him (1 Cor. 4:16) or all his bragging about being all things to all people (1 Cor. 9:19). And just take a look at today’s second reading (it’s one that I used to really take issue with). I mean the vast majority is St. Paul just talking about how wonderfully detached he is (insert overly-dramatic eye-roll here).
You see, after first choosing to follow the Lord in high school, I spent a good two years feeling really anxty about what I perceived to be all of St. Paul’s self-righteous instructing and bragging. And then one day, when I was in prayer asking the Lord who I should take as my Confirmation Saint (that’s right, spoiler alert, the end of this story is that St. Paul became my Confirmation Saint because Jesus just has a really great sense of humor), I felt a movement in my heart to open up my Bible to Philippians 4:13. This is what I found: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” That’s right, St. Paul says that he “can do all things in him” (aka Jesus). The Lord led me to realize in that moment that St. Paul’s confidence (which I may or may not have interpreted as arrogance) wasn’t based on himself or his own abilities, but based on Christ.
That was the key to everything that Paul taught and lived out. He was able to live in abundance and in humble circumstances, to handle being well fed as well as going hungry. It was not because he himself possessed the strength, but because Christ was his strength. St. Paul knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God would supply everything that he needed, exactly when he needed it, and that’s why he could be confident. And I don’t know about you, but I could definitely do with a bit more of that St. Paul-like confidence. So today let’s ask the Lord, through the intercession of St. Paul, to increase our faith, that we might be steadfast in the truth that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
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.
From what source do you draw your strength? Do you rely on the Lord who never fails?
Do you have as much confidence and trust in the Lord as St. Paul? What is holding you back from having complete faith in God?
How can you grow to a St. Paul level of reliance on God?
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.
"Lord, help me."
"Lord, strengthen me."
"Lord, I trust in You."
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?
Today ask the Lord to strengthen your faith. Through the intercession of St. Paul, ask the Lord to help you grow in confidence to trust fully in Christ who in all things are possible.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.
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