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).
Have you ever been a slave to someone? Maybe we would say that we felt like slaves when we had to do our chores or other household jobs but for the most part, the majority of us have never properly been a slave to someone. In fact, in America we think the word “slave” to be a rather appalling word touching a nerve in our history and we would much rather throw it out because of its many connotations. It is interesting then that St. Paul says in the second reading: “I have made myself a slave to all.” What?! How do we reckon this phrase of St. Paul with our understanding of slave?
One option is to just throw it out and say “Well maybe St. Paul didn’t mean slave…” or “Perhaps the translation is bad…” or “He must have been tripping on something because no one willing becomes a slave.” To make any of those excuses would be to neglect the tremendous insight that he is offering to us in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
It would be best to understand this “slave” word in the context of one who loves another. If you have ever had a girlfriend or boyfriend, you know that there is a certain excitement in the beginning of the relationship such that each of you drop off notes or send little texts expressing words of affection. And at that stage in the relationship you are willing to do ANYTHING for the other person - you are willing to try to move mountains so they know that you are in love with them. And wouldn’t you know it, without ever claiming the term, you have become a “slave” to them or for them and all for the sake of the love that has welled up in your heart.
This is indeed the “slave” that St. Paul makes of himself. Out of complete self-sacrificial love for Jesus Christ, St. Paul becomes a slave to the gospel. This means that he is willing to go out of his way, in any circumstance, so that the love he has for Jesus can be made known to every person. He doesn’t do this in any weird way or to be obnoxious but because he desires each person to know the love of Jesus Christ. As a newly engaged couple or newly married couple has “enslaved” themselves to each other out of complete love for the other, they make it known by sending out announcements and invitations. Why? So that others come to know of the love of the couple and lastly as St. Paul says, “So as to win over as many as possible.”
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.
Have I given myself to Christ completely?
Would others around me see evidence of my love for Christ?
Do I trust Christ enough to be His slave?
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.
"I give myself completely to you."
"My love is overflowing."
"Everything I am is yours."
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?
The Lord wants you to give Him everything. Today, what can you do to make yourself a slave to Christ? Maybe it is deciding to recite a morning offering, maybe it is making a plan to go to weekly Confession. Today decide one thing you can do for Christ to show your love for Him.
Smartphone Lock Screen
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. Sean Grismer, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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