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).
I’ve been thinking a lot about smallness lately. Small words that make a big difference in someone’s day, small kindnesses that go a long way, small sacrifices that demonstrate so much more. It’s very interesting to me how some of the smallest things we can do can make the biggest difference in life. In a special way, I’m reminded of this reality on this Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Of the virtues that Mary demonstrates, her humility is perhaps the most striking. As we look through the readings today, we encounter the smallness at the heart of Mary and the Incarnation of Christ – the event that transformed human history forever.
From the start of our readings, we hear the prophet Micah share the words regarding the unlikely reality of how small Christ’s human beginnings would be, “You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel…” The fact that the Incarnation comes through a small section of all of Israel shows how something so big can come from such a “small” place. Remember, Israel was hoping for a great warrior-king who would come and undoubtedly rule and restore the nation to it’s prominence. Yet, we see a humble, unmarried teenage woman, from a small section of Israel’s history and tradition, bearing the fate of the world in her decision to say “yes”. Jesus is the only human in the entire human race who could choose how he would come into the world – think about that. To come and restore the world is no small task, and Jesus could have come and been born into a powerful and influential family. But yet, God chooses to come to us in a small way – born of refugees who were stuck in a cave at the time of his birth.
Mary shows us that a small and humble life can be the canvas for God to create the greatest masterpiece in human history. This is why we look to our Blessed Mother as not just a key player in the story of salvation history, but as the paramount example of how we are to live as disciples of Christ. If God chose to work in small, humble ways, or even a small, humble life, to bring about the greatest good the world has ever known—to draw humanity into intimacy with his very self—shouldn’t we strive to live a small and humble life like the Blessed Mother?
Today is an opportunity to not look at Mary alone, but to see how she cooperated with the Lord’s immense and eternal plan to work the greatest good in all of creation through such a small and unlikely avenue. God can work big things in our small lives if we let him—but we have to give him the same yes that our Blessed Mother does.
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.
How has God worked big things in small ways in my life?
In what ways am I striving to live the small, humble way, like Mary?
How can I decrease in how I am living so that God can increase in my life?
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 to be small."
"You must increase, I must decrease."
"Work big things through my small yes."
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?
Find time today to focus on how you can begin to model Mary's humility in your life - maybe it's a small sacrifice you can make, finding time to go out of your way to help someone around you, or spending time in prayer inviting God to come and be magnified in your life.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Adam Smyth, a Campus Minister and Theology teacher in Houston, TX.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.