Step #1: Lectio / Read
Step #2: Oratio / Pray
A few weeks ago, my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world. It was the most incredible moment of my life to date (I think my wife would say the same). Thankfully, my employer had given me a substantial amount of time off work to help care for my wife and our new daughter. Now, six weeks later, I am getting back into the office catching up on a very cluttered inbox and knocking things off a long to-do list. If I’m honest though, I wasn’t ready to go back. I didn’t want to go back. I would have much rather stayed at home with my wife and child for a few more weeks. I would have much rather spent my time caring for them, loving them, and being with them every moment of every day.
That’s a good thing right?
Well, even though that’s a good thing, the Lord has called me to a career and has put responsibilities in my life that I must uphold, so it is only right and just that I start back up at work again; but man is it tough.
I find strength in our second reading today. Paul tells us that “to live is Christ, to die is gain”. Each day, Christ is calling me to die to myself. He is asking me to “die” to the things that I want to do, and live for the things that He has for me. Even though I don’t want to go back to work, I have to die to that selfish desire (even though my intentions for not going back are good and pure) and live the life that Christ has set before me.
Life with Christ is not easy, but it is the most rewarding, joyful, abundant life you could ever imagine. What do we have to do to obtain this life? We have to learn how to say “no” to ourselves a lot. We have to learn how to temper our earthly desires, lean into our prayer lives, and “die” on a daily basis so that our wills may be fully united with the will that God has for our lives.
I recommend fasting as a great way to start down this path of learning how to "die" on a daily basis. There are a number of ways to do this, but pick one thing and "give it up" or "fast" from it for a week. Maybe next week you fast from eating dessert, or maybe you only drink water with your meals instead of soda. Start small and allow Christ to meet you in your fast and fulfill the longing and desire that fasting instills within you.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
What are the things in your life that you know God is asking you to "die" to in order to live for Him?
How have you seen the joy of the life Christ has called you to already? What ways can you continue to seek Him and follow Him more closely?
This week, how can you fast? Think about ways that you already do or maybe have in the past. What would be an effective way to start?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"I choose You over myself."
"Help me die to myself."
"You are enough."
Step #5: Actio / Act
Begin fasting this week. Choose something you could do, don't make it too big. Maybe you choose one meal a day where you'll only drink water. Maybe you skip Starbucks this week. Maybe you don't have dessert. Whatever it is, begin to deny yourself good things to remind yourself of Christ's presence in your daily life.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Connor Flanagan, a Youth Minister and Catholic Musician who lives in St. Paul, MN.
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