Step #1: Lectio / Read
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Question?...What makes church, church? Often people will say, 'Why do I have to go to Mass on Sunday?' or 'I don't like my church because the music isn't good enough' or 'I'm going to go to another church because the preaching is better there' or 'The community is better down the street.'
All the issues are legitimate desires, but are those topics the things that define church?
The reality is if music defines church well the truth is I can get better music at Jay-Z concert or an Elton John concert. So does preaching define church? Well the reality is if I want I can go onto YouTube and find an amazing sermon uploaded in 30 seconds; one that might be better than the one you might get at Sunday mass. So then does good community define church? In all honesty I can get amazing community at Starbucks or at a soccer game or Bears game.
So if these things don't define church, what does? Well the only thing that makes church, church is the Eucharist! It is the fact that nowhere else in the world does bread and wine truly become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Nowhere else in the world do I walk into a room called a church and receive the very life and essence of God. This is the food that we must work for. The food that endures for eternal life because nothing else in this world can save us except for Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
So God-willing every Catholic Church does indeed have great music, great preaching, and great community, but never forget that we go to Mass not for those things; rather only for Jesus Christ!
So lets ask ourselves when we go to Mass, 'Do I realize the profound truth that I am going to receive the God of the Universe!?'
Ask yourself now, 'Am I being faithful to daily prayer?' 'Do I ever find time to get to Eucharistic Adoration?'
If we make these questions a spiritual focus in our lives, everything will change! We will truly be burning for love of God because only God can ignite us!
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
Why do you go to church (or not go to church)? When you truly reflect on the reasons, do you think you could get more out of it if you went for even better reasons?
Why do you pray? How can you grow closer to God if it becomes less about obligation and more about relationship?
How can you go beyond the external good of a faith community to the heart of church? How can you make your main focus on receiving and adoring Jesus, and let the other things be added bonuses?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"It's all about You, Jesus."
"Purify my heart Lord."
"I love You, 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?
Go to a church and pray today. If it is locked, then just sit outside or in your car and pray. We can pray with God everywhere, but it is good for us to seek Him in the Eucharist as much as possible.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. Kyle Manno, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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