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).
“All discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain” – Hebrews 12:11.
When reflecting on today’s second reading, how do you feel?
At first read, I feel some dread when pondering the passage—especially in reading that trials are a way in which God disciplines us. However, when I read the passage for the second time, my perspective shifts.
“For what 'son' is there whom his father does not discipline?” On second read, I realize the focus on the passage isn’t discipline, it’s about our relationship to God our Father (if you look up this passage in the Bible, “God our Father” is actually the header).
Let’s take a minute to reflect on that reality. The all-powerful God of the Universe doesn’t treat us as slaves or mere creatures. Through our Baptism, He has adopted us into His family.
Now, let’s try to place ourselves into the mind of a father or mother (if you are one, this will likely be easier). Do you want what’s best for your child? Do you want their lives to be filled with goodness and joy? Do you want them to courageously seek justice and truth? Do you want them to share their lives by loving and sacrificing for those around them? Do you want to see your child discover their true selves and know purpose and meaning?
I want all this for my (hypothetical) child. God wants all this and more for us. Nevertheless, if I take the above questions and compare them to my life, I’m not quite there yet.
Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed. Where does discipline come in? As our Father, God wants to remove what prevents us from living our best lives. He wants to heal our wounds. Rid us of sin, apathy, and disaffection. Order our lives so that we love what is good, true, and beautiful. He does this in a multitude of ways, and giving us opportunities to build discipline through trials is one of them.
At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. If we want the peaceful fruits that result from discipline, I’ve found it’s helpful to try to keep a mindset of growth and love. And in the midst of trials, to remember that God is a loving, gentle Father who is always waiting to listen.
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.
What are some areas in your life where you need more discipline?
How can discipline and trials really be moments of love and joy in your life?
Think of one way that discipline and correction has made you better. How can you have that mindset when you face future discipline and correction?
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.
"God is Love"
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"Come, Holy Spirit."
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?
Be humble. Look at the areas in your life that aren't perfect and let God's Fatherly love perfect it, even through discipline. Don't fear the process, but seek the perfection that His Love brings.
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Today's Prayer was prepared by Liam Brady, an accountant in Chicago.
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