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).
Has anyone ever had to tell someone you care about and love that they are clearly wrong about something? This can be an extremely difficult task to do, especially when it is something that can become quite confrontational. Without a doubt, correcting someone or being corrected is one of the hardest things , yet at the same time it is highly beneficial to the spiritual life.
In our 1st reading today from St. Paul to the Galatians, Paul receives the task of fraternally correcting Peter, the first pope. St. Paul stated, "I opposed him to his face because he was clearly wrong." What did St. Peter do that was so wrong? It wasn't Church teachings or dogmas, but rather, it was how he was living out the Gospel.
The basic mistake on St. Peter's part was that he was told earlier in a vision by Jesus that even the Gentiles (outsiders, the non-Jews) should be welcomed and accepted into the community of Christians, but when he arrived at Antioch, a city filled with a large number of Gentiles, he gravitated towards his own people, the Jews, because he feared that he would be unpopular. So in other words, he was not fully living out the Gospel message of unity and acceptance of all peoples.
St. Paul rebuked St. Peter because he preached one thing, but practiced another.
What is the message for us to reflect on?
St. Paul was a man with guts...he helped bring a truth to light in the heart of St. Peter, which was a great benefit for his soul.
As Jesus' disciples, fraternal correction should not be seen as something to fear, or something only for priests and bishops to do, but rather, see it as a Christian responsibility, and an aid on our path to holiness. Some of the saints who practiced this quite well advised...When the Holy Spirit moves us to fraternally correct, remember three important and simple points. 1. Do it privately first (then if need be bring other witnesses with you). 2. Do it rarely (only if something is particularly harmful to the soul). 3. Always do it with great charity.
Let's not see fraternal correction as "judging people" or "being judged", but see it as an act of Christian charity.
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.
Are you living out the Gospel message? Or are you leading a double life?
Is there anyone you know living contrary to the Gospel message? How can you call them on in holiness?
How can you be a better witness to the Gospel?
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.
"Do everything in love."
"Lord, grant me courage."
"Holy Spirit, guide my words and actions."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Ask the Lord for the strength and courage to talk to someone in your life who is in need of fraternal correction. Then, take the steps described at the end of the meditation.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. John McNamara, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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