STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
After staying in Antioch some time,
Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence
through the Galatian country and Phrygia,
bringing strength to all the disciples.
A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,
an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus.
He was an authority on the Scriptures.
He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and,
with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus,
although he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue;
but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,
they took him aside
and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.
And when he wanted to cross to Achaia,
the brothers encouraged him
and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him.
After his arrival he gave great assistance
to those who had come to believe through grace.
He vigorously refuted the Jews in public,
establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.
ACTS 18: 23-28
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
I have a particular friend I call when I am very upset. We have been friends since Kindergarten and she is just as positive as joyful now as she was back then. Her joy is contagious.
A few years ago, I was in a really bad spot. I was struggling at work, struggling with friends, struggling with just what to do with my life (adulting is hard). So I picked up the phone and called her. I didn’t need to say much. She knew exactly what I needed. She was so encouraging. She told me how awesome I was, and she made me believe it too (even though I didn’t want to). I don’t remember all that she said, mostly because I was crying the entire time, but what I do remember is that when I hung up the phone with her that night, I felt stronger, braver and ready to tackle a new day.
She didn’t stop there. Even though we lived in different states a few weeks later I got a package from her. She sent me a bowl full of happiness ideas, things like have a random dance party by yourself. That bowl is still sitting on my dresser. She also sent me a jar full of candy for emergencies. The jar is still on my desk at work. These two things remind me not only that I can do it, to be brave, but also of a great friend who is there to support me.
We all need friends. No one can go through life alone (very, very few people are called to be hermits, and even then sometimes hermits have visitors). We each need people to depend on, to lift us up and to encourage us. This is true for every aspect of life, and it is especially true in living out faith.
The people of Greece needed Paul to come back to them. They needed his visit. Acts 18:23 states that he brought “strength to all the disciples.” They needed his encouragement. They needed his guidance. With his help they were better able to understand the teachings of Christianity and their faith grew.
Who is a “Paul” in your life? Who is encouraging you in your faith? Who do you turn to in those tough times?
We need people to rely on. Our communities should lift us up and encourage our faith. With good community, we should always been encouraged to having our faith deepen and grow. Always remember, “Each of us is willed. Each of us is loved. Each of us is necessary.”- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
After staying there some time, he left and traveled in orderly sequence through the Galatian country and Phrygia, bringing strength to all the disciples.
Do your friends life you up in faith or do your friends take your faith down?
Where do you find community?
Who can be your "Paul"? Who can you ask questions about faith to who will help you go deeper?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
He brought strength to all the disciples.
I am not alone.
I am necessary.
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
If you have a friend that helps you grow closer to God, reach out today and tell them thank you. Let them know how their witness has helped your faith grow. If you can't think of anyone, pray about who you can turn to when you have questions about faith.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lisa Kendzior.