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).
I have had countless people tell me that they feel bad for doubting God. Many people will confess doubt in the Sacrament of Penance. I find it very helpful to remind people in these cases that sin is an act of the will. Basically, you must choose sin for it to be a sin. You can’t accidentally sin. It is always, on some level, a choice we make. Feelings are not sins. What we do with those feelings is what matters. I think often doubt works the same way. Something in our life happens and all of a sudden we are struck with the feeling of doubt. Is God really as good as the church tells me he is? Does God really want to heal me? Is God even out there at all?
These questions and doubts will strike us from time to time. They don’t feel good. It never feels good to have what we rely on thrown into uncertainty, but the question then becomes, "What do I do with this doubt?” God made a promise to Abraham that only God could possible deliver on. He promised, that even though Abraham and his wife Sarah were far past their child rearing years, they would still have child, and not only that, but also their descendants would become a great nation.
As time goes on and Abraham continues to be childless, he begins to doubt, but he brings those doubts honestly and completely to God. God, in a way that may have been frustrating, simply reminds Abraham of the promise. God doubles down on the promise. Yet, even so, Abraham’s doubts keep creeping back into his mind. God isn’t bothered by this. In fact, he shows Abraham just how committed his is to the promise. He has Abraham set up the covenant ritual. Normally, when forming a covenant, both parties would pass through the split animals. It was an even exchange. Basically, both sides of the covenant were saying, “if I don’t fulfill my part of the covenant, may I become like these split animals.” But now, only God goes through the split animals. He takes all the responsibility of the covenant on himself. It is still only a promise, but Abraham is reminded about who it is that made the promise to him.
God is always faithful. He goes far more than halfway for us. He isn’t offended by our doubts, and He wants to show us how much He loves us. If He went all the way to the cross for us, where won’t He go? Maybe, right now in our life all we have is a promise from God. But if we remember who he is, that promise will be enough to dispel our doubts.
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 doubts or questions do I have?
What do I do with my feelings of doubt?
Am I bringing my questions and doubts to the Lord?
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 faithful."
"God keeps His promises."
"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?
Pray with Abraham's story, and ask Abraham for help and guidance as you wrestle with your doubts and questions.
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Today’s Prayer was prepared by Fr. Anthony Sciarappa who was ordained in 2016 and is a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
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