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).
Think what you will about bread and pasta, but do keep this in mind: A balanced diet is important to human thriving.
I ran cross country in college. I wasn’t a great runner, but we were putting in many miles every day, and dozens and dozens of miles a week.
My senior year was the first time I had lived on my own, and I was determined to eat healthy in order to help my running season. Grocery shopping for myself was exciting, and I loaded up on a few favorite staples: chicken and spinach. It’s what I ate for months, cooking on a little George Foreman grill in my tiny old apartment.
I was eating, running and sleeping. And feeling successful and strong.
Near the middle of the season though, my energy started to wane. I wasn’t recovering as quickly, and I barely had energy to get through the day, let alone practice. To make matters scarier, my hair was falling out in clumps, and eventually I started noticing my eyelashes were falling out.
Obviously concerned, I went to my coach, who also was a talented biology professor. “Are you eating enough protein,” my coach asked me. Yes, I was eating chicken at pretty much every meal, every day. “Are you eating enough carbs?”
I was stunned.
I had forgotten to eat carbs for months … and with my high running mileage my body was burning off all my protein.
I wasn’t sustaining my body by eating the basic nourishment I needed for success. No wonder my eyelashes were falling out.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells his followers that He is the bread of life. That if we eat of Him, we will not be hungry, and if we believe in Him, we will not thirst.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in life. We think we’re doing the right thing -- a la eating a healthy grilled chicken and salad for dinner -- but in our striving we forget the basics.
I forgot to eat carbs. I’m pretty sure we learned the basic food groups in kindergarten, but here I was as a 22 year old, and I somehow forgot a basic foundation that I needed to survive.
The same can be true of Jesus. In our striving to be good people and on top of work and school and whatever else life brings, it can be easy to forget that Jesus is what we need for success.
When we remember, it can be dumbfounding. "Duh, I know I need Jesus. I know He is what will give me nourishment to live my best life possible."
But we still forget.
And then our energy and fortitude wanes. And we wonder why.
It's because we need Him.
So here’s your reminder today: Jesus is the bread you need to live. He is the nourishment that will allow you to run fast, live hard, and love deeply. Stay close to Him, and eat of Him and drink of His love for you every single day.
Imagine how successful you’ll be.
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.
Am I spiritually healthy? Or am I lacking a complete "spiritual diet" by neglecting the basics?
How can I be nourished by more Jesus in the basic ways I go about my life?
In what ways can I build reminders to eat the Bread of Life to have fuel for the journey?
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.
"You are the Bread of Life."
"I can do nothing apart from you."
"I need you, Jesus."
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?
One of the big fads of today is meal planning and prepping for the week. Take time today to map out your "spiritual meals" for the rest of this week: schedule time for prayer and simple ways to turn back to Jesus each day for the rest of your week. Build your spiritual diet!
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Andrea Scott, a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.
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