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).
How well do you handle being exhausted? Are you the kind of person who shuts down and becomes essentially useless until you can take time by yourself and recuperate? Or are you someone who can ride out exhaustion for a long time and maintain being kind and generous in the midst of your tiredness? I can say that for I am definitely more prone to be the one who shuts down until I can recuperate.
Today’s Gospel has many different areas that one could dive into, but I have to admit that what stuck out to me was exhaustion. Jesus, right after he leaves the synagogue after a day of teaching, is brought to Simon’s house, presumably to take a break. It’s a long day of work to go into a synagogue and teach, defend, and interact with people. But, instead of getting a break, he ends up going straight back to work by healing Simon’s mother-in-law. Now, since I’m not divine and have never performed a miracle, I have no way of knowing if that would be tiresome or not, but I can’t imagine it feels the same as taking a quick power nap. But Jesus isn’t done - he keeps working!. We read that it was evening, “after sunset”, (which in the ancient Near East is basically the equivalent of after about 11pm in our world) when Jesus ends up having ALL who were ill or possessed brought to him. Think about how tired he must have been! A full day’s work of preaching, healing, exorcising demons, and at the end of the day, right in the heart of night, the WHOLE TOWN was gathered at his door. I would be grouchy, grumpy, and probably a bit rude at that point.
The work Jesus did in his earthly ministry was tough, hard work. It’s easy to view the Gospels as simple stories about Jesus without really looking at them critically so as to understand. Jesus did so much in the day recounted in the Gospel today. Not only that, he rose the next day, “very early before dawn”, to go off and pray. I think this is the heart of today’s Gospel. Jesus is clearly burning the candle at both ends here - late nights and early mornings. I, for one, am utterly incapable of waking up early after being up late, so the fact that Jesus not only does so, but wakes up to go have quiet time alone in prayer, is something that is really remarkable.
Jesus reveals something very important about prayer to us. Prayer is not just an obligation, ordinance, or opportunity for us as Christians - it really is our life-blood. That Jesus would go and pray after such a huge day- a day of performing miracles, healing, and teaching- shows us that prayer is the one truly necessary thing. I mean, if I were God and could heal and perform miracles, I don’t think I’d feel the need to wake up early and go pray. However, if Jesus sees it as necessary, I think I should too. If ever we need be refreshed in times of tiredness, exhaustion, or anxiety, we should take the example of Jesus and turn to prayer.
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.
How do I respond to busyness and exhaustion?
What role does prayer play in the busyness and work of my day to day life?
What changes do I need to make in order to make prayer more of a priority in my day?
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.
"Lord, I need you."
"Lord, let me rest in you."
"Holy Spirit, refresh my heart."
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?
In the midst of all the things you have going on today, take a few minutes to plan out time this week where you can sit down, pray, and rest in the Lord.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Adam Smyth, the Life Teen Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Woodlands, TX.
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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