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).
“And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that?” This verse is a fantastic self examination as we are a little over week into Lent and really trying to dig down to see how Christ is calling us to deeper conversion during this season of Lent. Often times we call ourselves Christian, yet there is nothing that “unusual” about us. I have noticed recently that many of my non-religious friends tend to be holier in me in the ways that they love others. I love those whom it is convenient for me to love, and most especially those who I can receive something in return from. I see many non-religious friends act so generously and hospitably to strangers and people who cannot repay them, and I ask myself, what makes me different from them? What makes me unusual? That I spend time in prayer everyday yet it clearly doesn’t change the way I live? If this is true, then I have some serious reflecting to do this Lent (which I do).
“What is unusual about that?” We need to be more unusual. We need to get off our phones when we are checking out at the store and read the cashier’s name tag and call them by name and ask them how they are doing. We need to go buy a box of granola bars and hand them out to homeless people at stop lights. We need to go and talk to that socially awkward person or that uninteresting person or that annoying person or that person who looks terribly lonely at that party instead of just talking comfortably to our friends. These are small ways to start. Maybe one day they could lead us to be as unusual as Christ is calling us to be, as unusual as the early Christians who shocked the roman official Aristides when the emperor Hadrian sent him to go observe these radical religious folks. This is what he wrote back in his report of these very unusual people who called themselves “Christian”:
“They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If a man has something, he gives freely to the man who has nothing. If they see a stranger, Christians take him home and are happy, as though he were a real brother. If one of them is poor and there isn’t enough food to go around, they fast several days to give him the food he needs.
This is really a new kind of person. There is something divine in them.”
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 is "unusual" about you?
Do I step outside of my circle of self to love others? Or do I only focus on things that directly affect me?
Would someone know I'm a Christian by my actions?
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.
"I am called to love others."
"I am made for love."
"I trust you with my life, 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?
Fast today from your phone any time you are in the room with someone else. Looking up at people, ask how you can help them. How can you serve someone else when you aren't looking inward?
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Austin Ashcraft, a graduate student in New Orleans.
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