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).
There has been a phrase the has been popping up for me all over the place for the past few months. I’ve heard it in spiritual direction, in prayer, in conversations with friends, on social media - God is in control. It’s a simple phrase but it’s packed with so much truth that it keeps hitting me at the core of my being again and again. Hearing it all the time makes me understand how essential it is, but it makes it no easier to actually do.
This is why I feel today’s passage from Isaiah on such a deep level. Through Isaiah, God tells us that his word will accomplish that which he intends, and if we allow it, we can bear incredible fruit. If we don’t, well…it’s still going to be fulfilled.
It’s really great and accessible imagery that Isaiah gives us, that of rain falling from the earth and bringing forth the food that we need to eat. I’m from the Midwest, and even though my family never farmed, it is always around me. In talking to farmers, I understand the importance of preparing the earth for the rain. The water is not some magic that will make things sprout all on its own, and the farmer needs to till the earth and fertilize the soil.
And that’s why, in Lent, we give things up or take up new spiritual practices. We are making a space for God to let his grace work, to give up the reigns that we desperately want to cling to for control. Candy, coffee, video games, social media – these are things that aren’t evil, but can take up the space in our lives in which God wants to operate.
In this first week of Lent, I’d suggest looking at what you chose to sacrifice. If it doesn’t open up a space for God, I’d respectfully suggest that you reconsider your sacrifice to give him that room for the water to come down into your life. It’s going to feel bad at first, but you’ll find God meeting you in the places that you leave exposed by your fasting. We aren’t going to give up control to God all in one go, and that’s why the Church gives us a time like Lent to help.
I just watched my brother and his wife, in handing control to God, have God’s will be accomplished in their lives at a higher degree than they ever imagined. Even in the toughest of situations, their ceding control was met with adopting a happy baby boy.
Like the rain, we can rely on God’s grace to be constant, refreshing, and life-producing. If we give him the space, if we recognize that God is in control, God will bring us back to himself. We will not only fulfill what he wishes to accomplish with us, but we will actually prosper from it.
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 things in my life are getting in the way of the rain that God wants to fall in the soil of my heart?
How am I planning to give God the room in my life this Lent to help me give over more control to him?
In what ways has God been tilling the soil of my heart to bring about new things and new fruit in my life?
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.
"Help me get out of the way."
"I give you control."
"Let your word take root in my life."
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?
Examine your Lenten sacrifices today- don't necessarily change them, just because, but look to see where you are making room for God. If you can, offer up an additional sacrifice this week to give more room for God to come and till the soil in your heart.
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"Today's Prayer was prepared by Kevin Gregus, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
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