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).
I’ve been writing for Carpe Verbum for about two years now, and I like to sit with the readings for a while. The Lord has been very faithful and He shows me a few words that really stick out. And I can sit with those words for a day or two before I write my reflection. It’s been very beautiful for my own spiritual journey. Even when I think nothing stands out, He always finds something to speak to me.
However, this month, I just have to laugh. The words that have stuck with me have been the following two words: dung heap. Seriously, Lord? Dung heap? Who even knew those words are in the Bible? I’ve tried looking for other words to write on, but no, the Lord wants me to reflect on "dung heap". However, Scripture is living and breathing, so here we are.
In the Psalm today, we read “my heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.” There is so much encouragement in these words. It calls us out of discouragement and into the arms of our Savior. This past Advent had me coming face to face with the desperate need for a Savior. I needed Jesus to come as a baby for me. The reality of my life is that I need the Lord to show up and come into my messiness, into my dung heap. These weeks after Christmas are often discouraging. The world stops playing the uplifting Christmas carols, the trees are taken down, the lights are dimmed, and all the cookies have been eaten. When all of the festive lights and colors and gifts are gone, we can feel like our lives aren’t so great. We might feel discouraged. Without all the distractions, we can feel lonely and empty. But we can turn to the psalm today, to Hannah.
In the depths of her soul she believes that God is in control. He can raise the needy from the dust. He lifts up the poor from the dung heap. He puts to death and He gives life. In Hannah’s case, she was barren, but the Lord granted her a son. God is in control and God is safe. Our hearts can rest in Him and rejoice like Hannah. He is a good God, who came to save us, who came to dwell with us. He came to make things glorious and to bring us out of the dung heaps of our lives and into deep communion with Him. Not every day or every moment is going to be okay. In the words of author and speaker Chris Padgett, “I’m not okay. You’re not okay. And that’s okay.” But, our hearts can exult. Our hearts can turn toward the Lord who comes to us in whatever life we are in. If our lives are seemingly ugly dung heaps full of sorrow and sin, He comes there and raises us to new life in Him. And that is something to rejoice in.
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 am I experiencing the drop-off after Christmas? Am I experiencing loneliness or emptiness as the season ends?
How does God want to lift me up and pull me out of where I am lacking to fill me up?
Am I okay with not "being okay"? How can I rely more on the Lord to be my everything?
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.
"My heart exults in you, Lord."
"You are my hope."
"Bring new life."
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 response from today's psalm and pray it throughout the day: "My soul exults in the Lord, my savior." When you have a moment or a break in whatever you're doing, repeat these words prayerfully. No matter where you are, how you're feeling, let the words become a prayer and move your heart to truly exult in the Lord.
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"Today's Prayer was prepared by Megan Kramer, a parishioner at St. Mary's Parish in Huntley, IL.
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