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 love Chinese food; I mean, it is hands down my favorite kind of food. Any chance I have to get a good Chinese meal I won’t pass up. However, every time I eat it I find that there’s one simple truth about it: it never actually fills me up. Every time I eat a meal, I feel full right away, but after just a few hours I’m really hungry again. Maybe you have a similar favorite food or meal, the one that you can’t pass up when it pops into your mind even though you know it may not be the healthiest and that in just a short while you’ll be hungry again. It never ceases to amaze me when I get so bent on eating a meal that I know will simply not satisfy the actual hunger I have.
It may seem like a simple comparison in light of the Gospel reading today, but as I sit to reflect on the words of Jesus I can’t help but be drawn into my love of Chinese food, despite it’s ability to actually satisfy my body’s needs. I think there is something innately human about desiring the things that won’t actually satisfy our needs, and that is precisely why Jesus teaches us the way he does in today’s Gospel reading from the bread of life discourse in the Gospel of John. Our human hearts desire things that are completely unattainable in this life. We are finite but made for the infinite. I’m not saying that we have a physical hunger that will never be satisfied by Chinese food, but I’m saying that our spiritual natures will never be satisfied fully this side of eternity.
Jesus brings the disciples and the crowd following him together to teach them a lesson about being satisfied. After the miraculous feeding of the thousands in the crowd with simply a few fish and loaves of bread, the people are astonished. But Jesus explains that it isn’t simply the sign of food being multiplied that has them feeling this way – it’s the fact that they were actually satisfied. It’s like Jesus telling me that it isn’t simply amazing that a Chinese meal, after never doing so before, actually filled me up; but it’s the fact that I’m fully satisfied that is really the true amazement. We desire so much more than this world can offer us, and not just in terms of food. Our happiness, peace, hope, and goodness are things that are so big the world simply cannot satisfy the longing we have for them. This is the most important spiritual lesson being taught in today’s Gospel, I think. We will never be satisfied by anything until we allow ourselves to be satisfied by the only One who can truly fill us. Jesus offers us satisfaction not just for one day, or one meal, but for eternity. Let him satisfy you.
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 the things that you go to in life for satisfaction which don't leave you fully satisfied? What can reflecting on those things teach you?
What do you think it means to let Jesus fully satisfy you?
How have you encountered the satisfaction found in Jesus in your life? In what areas of your life are you still seeking that?
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.
"You satisfy me."
"I desire only You."
"Fill me up."
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?
This week, carve out specific time to go to Eucharistic Adoration or daily Mass – more than you do in a normal week – and while there spend time quietly asking the Lord to fill you up, and letting him do just that.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Adam Smyth, the Life Teen Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Woodlands, TX.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.
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