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).
One of the most frustrating (and quite possibly dangerous) things to come out of the 2020 chaos so far is this notion of a "cancel culture." By no means am I trying to get political with this at all, but it is a reality we live in today. As most things, I think the intent behind this idea was a good one - namely to no longer romanticize historical figures, especially those who did heinous things such as own slaves or conquer through murder. I think there is definitely merit to this, but this mentality can also be a slippery slope. Many of the greatest saints were first some of the greatest sinners. If they were simply canceled because of their mistakes, then we wouldn't know of God's redeeming mercy.
The big difference here is that there was a conversion of heart. It is one thing to talk about if we should have certain statues in honor of people who lived and died oppressing people; that is a very fair discussion to have. But it is completely different when we look at the flaws in someone else's life, especially things they have converted or grown from, and say they are only as good as their mistakes.
My sister was one of the most loving people I have ever met. She literally had the biggest heart and everyone who knew her felt that love. She was also a drug addict trying to fight that addiction on a daily basis. It would break my heart if someone were to write her off as just a "druggie" because that is not who she was. But it would also be blind of me to deny that struggle and say she was perfect. St. Paul was the reason many early Christians were killed, but then he because the greatest Christian evangelist of all time! No sin is too big for God's mercy! But we must do our part as well and convert our heart from the evil we have committed.
Instead of falling into the traps of canceling someone for a mistake they made or romanticizing someone and seeing them as perfect, we should let God be the judge and trust and hope in His Mercy. Let us realize that we all have made mistakes we are ashamed of and instead of looking for the flawless hero, let us look to those who have repented of their mistakes and sought to reconcile for their wrongs. Otherwise, the only one we wouldn't be able to "cancel" would be Jesus himself.
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 often do I adopt the "cancel culture" mentality with people in my life? What do I think motivates me seeking this type of vengeance?
How often do I struggle with judging myself by simply looking at my faults and how I fall short? What is dangerous about this mentality?
How can I grow in choosing to love others and not simply judge them? How does God desire to work this conversion 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.
"Help me experience conversion."
"Let me see others as you see them, Lord."
"Lord, you are merciful."
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?
Take a small amount of time to do an act of penance for those people in your life who you tend to judge most severely: say a prayer for them, choose to actively fast from something for them, ask God to soften your heart when it comes to how you view them. Take the first step of mercy, just as the Lord does with his children.
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Sean Norris, a theology teacher at JSerra Catholic High School in Orange County, CA.
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