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).
A few weeks ago I found a pretty big bug in my house. Then the next night I found another one. Like the first one told its friend "I found a great place" but wasn't able to get back to him to say "hostile owner, be careful." Then the next night, I was sitting in my living room thinking about how I haven't cleaned under and behind my couch in quite some time. I'm always squashing bugs (it's the summer, I live in the South, it's just life) and then just cleaning up the square foot of bug guts from the floor before I move on with my day.
So I brought my vacuum downstairs, moved all of my furniture, and then mopped the entire downstairs on my hands and knees. I felt pretty great about myself afterward.
Today's Gospel reminded me of this event. Because if I really want to get rid of bugs, I need to clean everywhere. This is what the Lord is talking about in the Gospel today about cleaning your house after the demons leave so they don't come back.
It's similar to deciding that you're going to stop gossiping. You confess the sin, your soul is clean, but then you go hang out with the same friends. You're going to gossip again. You've fallen right back into the same habit because you didn't change your environment.
If we want to truly remove sin from our lives, we need to alter our habits and our environment. So go to confession, clean up your house, and then repeat as often as necessary. It's not a one-time deal, it's a continuous process.
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.
After going to confession do you live out the resolve to amend your life by changing your habits and environment?
Are you trying to be holy without changing your friends, habits, or environment?
What needs to change in your life for you to truly pursue holiness?
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.
"I love you Lord."
"Show me how to change."
"I trust your ways."
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?
Think about your most frequently confessed sin. What are you doing to change your environment so you don't continue to fall into that bad habit?
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Today's prayer was prepared by Katie Herzing, a former youth minister turned parish evanglization consultant living in North Carolina.
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