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).
When tough things happen in our life, most of us tend to try and push it away. We bury our feelings or distract ourselves from them any way possible. We love good feelings, but avoid bad ones at almost all costs. And I totally get it, that is natural and good. We are built to be in union with God, and there is only peace and joy and love with God.
So if we are made for that good, then why does St. Paul tell us to boast in our afflictions? This is really simple, but maybe not so obvious. It is not because St. Paul likes to suffer, no human truly enjoys suffering. Rather, It is because St. Paul knows that suffering is the thing that will make him a better man. It will purify his intentions, it will give him perseverance, it will teach him discipline. And to him, those things are worth the pain.
Grueling training becomes much more bearable when you get to play the sport you love at the highest level. A tough diet is worth it when you feel better, have more energy, and are much healthier overall. Long distance relationships still are awful, but even they can become a joy when you meet a person that you love in a way you didn't know you could love before.
Never seek suffering, never seek affliction. The story of life will bring you enough of it on its own, but maybe there can be good that could come out of it all. Maybe instead of running or distracting ourselves from the pain that does come from these inevitable sufferings, we can now look to grow in the virtues in requires. If training helps make an athlete elite, so too does affliction and suffering make a Christian "elite". But even still, it is not through our own doing, but the grace that God gives us to endure these things. If we simply learn to cooperate with His grace, we will be with God at the highest level.
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 are some areas in your life right now where you need to grow spiritually?
Do you often run, hide, or distract yourself from tough situations? How can you use those situations to grow instead?
What are some ways you can turn tough situations into training sessions for your spiritual 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.
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"Come Holy Spirit."
"Give me your grace, 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?
Take account of the ways you may be distracting yourself from tough situations in your life right now. Try to find healthy ways to train and grow from those situations spiritually instead. And don't try to do it alone, find a spiritual director or mentor to help you on this journey.
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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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