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).
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I realize that intro may sound like the beginning of a fifth grade history report, but it’s honestly one of the truest things I’ve ever heard. Comparison is the thief of joy and no one loves to steal our joy more than the Devil. As someone who works with young people in the Church, I can tell you that I’ve not only personally experienced the truth of this, but I’ve also seen the effects of it on the lives of young people everywhere. Comparison can impact every part of our lives, but I often see it rear it’s ugly head the most when it comes to our spiritual lives.
In today’s first reading, St. Paul tells the Ephesians: “he [Jesus] gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ.”
And I think that many of us read this and think, “yeah, sure, he’s given each of us a unique calling for the building up of the Kingdom of Heaven, that makes sense.” And it does, make sense I mean. But when comparison enters the picture, as it so often does, we can get so caught up in who/what we are not, that we forget to live out who we are.
Allow me to offer an example; say a friend of yours is offered a leadership role at Church or at school, a role that you also wanted but didn’t get. The reality might be that the Lord allowed you to not be offered that role so that you’d have the time to serve with a different ministry or club (one that you might be able to have more of an impact in), but comparison will tell you that you weren’t offered that role because your friend is objectively better than you. Sound familiar? I know it does for me.
But did you catch what Paul says as he’s talking about the different roles that have been assigned to us by Christ? He tells us that, “the whole Body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the Body’s growth and builds itself up in love.” You see, the body can’t properly function without each and every part. You are necessary. You’re role in the Body of Christ is necessary, even if it doesn’t necessarily look like the role of someone else.
So my prayer today is that we’ll ask the Lord for the grace to stop comparing ourselves to one another. Because in all reality, if our leg spent all it’s time wishing it was more like our arm, we wouldn’t be able to walk. Each part of the body is necessary, and so are you.
Jesus, today we ask for the grace to lean into the specific and individual call you have given us. Amen.
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.
In what ways have you noticed comparison being the thief of joy in your own life?
What are some of the ways God has called you to follow him and to serve him? How has he prepared the way for those opportunities for you?
In what way are you being called today to use the God-given abilities and gifts you have to serve God and others and work for the building up of the body of Christ by doing your part?
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."
"You call me to follow you."
"Teach me to hear your call."
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 the time today to affirm the gifts you see in someone in your life and the ways that they are using those gifts for good. Tell them why you admire those gifts! Even if, at times, you have been jealous of how they have used their gifts, affirm them in it and realize as you do that God has given you just as powerful of gifts, even if they're very different.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.
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