STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.”
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
When I was about twelve years old, I went to go visit my grandparents who were living in a small, coastal town in Texas called Rockport. I remember one of the first local attractions we went to go see was “The Big Tree.” During the Civil War, the rest of the surrounding town had been destroyed except for a Catholic chapel and “The Big Tree.” This live oak tree is estimated to be almost 2,000 years old and is over 45 feet tall and 35 feet in circumference. When I looked up at this monstrosity, I was amazed by how it branches seemed to stretch on forever. It was crazy to me that this tree was still standing and growing after all these years and all it had been through, from the Civil War to numerous hurricanes. This tree was known by its great strength even in the face of adversity.
There are so many false prophets in our world today. We are told we have to dress or look a certain way, have the latest and greatest Apple product, or have the most likes on our Instagram photo. When it comes down to it though, would we rather be known for having the most Facebook friends and Instagram likes? Or for the good fruit we have to offer the world?
At first, it seems obvious. Of course people don’t pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles. But when it comes to everyday life, I know I often find myself falling for the traps of this world and listening to the false prophets. However, we must get rid of the bad fruits in our lives in order that we might bear good fruit. Whether it’s negative friends, bad habits, or any other negative influences, we need to take those difficult steps to cut those things out of our lives. These false prophets, or ravenous wolves, try to steal our joy and separate us from Christ. Find those people in your life that will lead you closer to Christ and journey with you on the path to sainthood.
Christ also calls us to bear fruit in our world. Like “The Big Tree,” we should all be known for our great strength, or “good fruit,” despite the false prophets that try to separate us from Christ. It is by our fruits that people will know we are Christians, that people will know we belong to Christ.
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
“Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.”
Who or what are some of the “false prophets” in the world and in my life?
Are there any “bad fruits” that I need to cut out of my life?
What “good fruits” are there in my life?
What “good fruits” can I offer the world?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
“By their fruits you will know them.”
Lord, give me the strength to cut any bad fruits out of my life
Holy Spirit, help me to bear good fruit in the world
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
Ask the Lord to reveal to you anyone or anything you might need to cut out of your life in order to grow closer to him. Trust that he will give you the strength you need. Seek ways you can bear good fruit and bring joy into the lives of those around you.
SMARTPHONE LOCK SCREEN
Today's prayer was prepared by Maggie Overbeck.