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).
One connotation of rules is that they are negative. But, our society is governed by rules. Didn’t we all read Lord of the Flies at some point? Without some rules and parameters, a flourishing democratic society would cease to exist. Rules for voting, rules for taxes, rules for driving, rules for educating children at a certain standard – they exist to keep our society running smoothly. If we didn’t have discipline in society, we’d end up in chaos.
They also keep our families running smoothly. Children that are disciplined appropriately learn right from wrong. Even from a young age this is the case – if a baby isn’t disciplined for wanting to touch the power outlet, chances are they’ll be shocked before long. As a child grows older, discipline and rules can not only keep them healthy and thriving, but teach things like virtue and good life practices.
But, in addition to keeping us on track, rules and discipline can also take us to a higher level.
Think of a professional athlete. They have rules they must follow – if an Olympic runner ate McDonald’s burgers and fries with several beers every single night for dinner, chances are they wouldn’t be as good of an athlete as they could have been. If they chose to only get three hours of sleep each night, they probably wouldn’t be as ready for game-day as if they had gotten the recommended seven to eight.
I know we don’t want to talk about another Patriot’s Super Bowl win … but there probably is something to be said about the crazy strict diet of Tom Brady and his supermodel, seemingly superhuman, wife Gisele. Discipline of exercise – from weight lighting to cardio to flexibility – will bring an athlete to the top of their game. A good coach will discipline his athletes. A runner doesn’t become faster unless they train harder, and are pushed to their limits. Drew Brees didn’t become a stellar quarterback by sitting on the couch. Discipline, to a point, can help us excel as humans.
So why do we think it’s any different with our faith? In today’s first reading we are told that the Lord disciplines those that He loves. Just for the basic purposes of our imagination – we can think of the Lord as our coach: He wants to make us the best version of ourselves. And to do that, we’re going to have to be tried, tested and pushed.
If God were a bad coach, He’d just let us be as we are. And we probably would fail. And we most certainly would not make it to the Super Bowl of life, or anywhere close. Don’t run from the Lord when He is disciplining you. There is a lesson to be learned in everything. We need to remember that the Lord is a good, good father. And that is discipline is for our flourishing and to push us to the limits of who we can be as humans and spiritual beings. Of course His plans for us are good. He has our best interests in mind, always and even when we can’t see them. And His discipline is to set us up for greater success – here on this earth, and for eternity 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.
What disciplines do I follow?
In what areas of my life is God trying, testing, and pushing me to grow?
How has disciple helped me grow in my relationship with God? Where do I need to grow in discipline?
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.
"Push me, Lord."
"Show me my true strength."
"Make me the best version of myself."
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?
Ask the Lord to reveal to you one or two ways you can really grow in discipline this week, whether in prayer, habits, virtues, etc.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Andrea Scott, a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.
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