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).
Depending on where you go to Mass today, you have the chance of hearing three different sets of readings: the normal ordinary time readings, the memorial of St. Wenceslaus, or the memorial of Sts. Lawrence Ruiz and companions. And while it’d be worth it to look through all of the different readings for today, I’d like to focus in on the readings for St. Lawrence Ruiz and his fellow martyrs.
Turn your attention to the first reading from 2 Maccabees. If you have time today, I’d invite you to read the full story, all of chapter 7 from 2 Maccabees. Both books 1 and 2 of Maccabees describe the Jewish rebellion against the Hellenistic empire that ruled over them and were attempting to force the Jewish people to adopt their customs and renounce their religion. In this particular account, the scriptural author recounts the story of a mother and her seven sons who willingly endured suffering and death for the sake of their faith, refusing to renounce it even the slightest bit.
When you look at the life of St. Lawrence Ruiz, he demonstrates the same zeal and courage. A Filipino missionary to Japan, St. Lawrence was a normal lay person for the Church: a married man with children and a strong devotion to his faith. Almost immediately upon his arrival in Japan (which at the time was violently resistant to the Catholic faith) he was detained, tortured, and martyred for the faith. According to legend, his final words were: "ego Catholicus sum et animo prompto paratoque pro Deo mortem obib. Si mille vitas haberem, cunctas ei offerrem (EN: I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God. Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him shall I offer)."
Ego Catholicus sum. I am a Catholic.
Today, let the martyrs be your example. Think of the situations in your life where it is difficult to proclaim your life boldly and proud. Are you willing to say ego Catholicus sum? Are you willing to say that you are a Catholic? One of the most profound meanings behind today’s first reading is that the four brother martyred alludes to the resurrection, one of the few times in the Old Testament: “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by Him.” (2 Maccabees 7:14)
For your own life, recognize this: in dying to yourself, you will be raised up by Him. Make no mistake about it, giving of ourselves, sacrificing to boldly proclaim the faith, it’s difficult. It will never be easy. But the glory that awaits you is far more important, far more noble, far more honorable, than shying away and pretending you are someone you are not. Today, look at the situations in your life where it is difficult to proclaim the faith, face them head on, and proudly, boldly, and unashamedly say, ego Catholics sum. I am a Catholic. AMDG.
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 can the martyrs be your example today to step out in faith even when it is difficult?
How often do you find yourself willing to say you are Catholic? Why is it difficult sometimes, if it is, and how can you rely on God's strength to say it anyways?
God is calling each one of us, on a daily basis, to die to ourselves that we may live for him and the Kingdom that he has prepared for us. How can you live out that calling today?
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 am Catholic."
"Ego Catholicus sum."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
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?
Share your faith with at least one person today. Whether it's someone you meet new or someone you just haven't shared with before, tell them about your love for Jesus.
Smartphone Lock Screen
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Today's prayer was prepared by Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.
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