Step #1: Lectio / Read
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).
Empty handed. Broken hearted. Eyes filled with tears. Wondering if it was all worth the sacrifice.
I remember many times sitting in an Adoration Chapel angry with the Lord, bringing to Him all those things above. I felt like I had nothing left, that I had made all the sacrifices I could imagine, but yet felt more empty than ever before. I know I am not the only one who has ever felt this way. People talk about how "it always pays off in the end," but honestly, in those times, I didn't know if I believed it. I felt like I was being abandoned after trying so hard to do it right and give it all back to Him.
I remember feeling like Peter saying, "I have given you everything Lord, now what?!" But had I really given Him anything at all? I would fast or give up my time or make other sacrifices that looked holy and pure, but was I really giving it up for Him? Or so that He would give me what I imagined I deserved? In reality, I wanted so much less than I deserved, and God didn't want to see me settle for only the treasures of this world. Sometimes He wants those goods for me too, but He always wanted to give me more!
I have felt your pain and so has Jesus! I know what it feels like when you think you are giving God everything and it seems like there is no consolation... but so does He! Maybe that person, or test, or position, or whatever you sacrificed for today is worth it and is something God wants for you, but I guarantee you that is not ALL He wants for you!
As we start Lent tomorrow bring Him all you have, even the tear-filled eyes, empty hands, and broken hearts. Sacrifice for those you love, for the important people and things in your life. But more important than all of that... trust that He does love you, He does see you, and all your sacrifice does matter. Let us sacrifice freely this Lent, and may God bless our sacrifices and prayers on earth and in heaven.
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.
Think of a time in your life when you felt like what was described above. What do you think the Lord was trying to tell you during that time?
What is the world offering you? What is the Lord offering you?
What are you going to sacrifice this Lent?
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.
"The first will be last, and the last will be first."
"I give you everything, Lord."
"I want more of you, God."
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?
Pray today about what you are going to sacrifice this Lent, and ask the Lord for the grace to sacrifice with a glad heart.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Sean Norris, Youth Minister at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights, IL.
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