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)
Today in our first reading we read a beautiful account between God and the prophet Hosea. Before we get there, it is important to note that sometimes when we read the Old Testament, especially the prophets, we can get thrown off by the weird languages and references that do not seem to make sense. Beneath this passage, there is a wealth of wisdom in understanding both how God has dealt with His people throughout history and is active and present in your life today!
Historically speaking, this passage concerns the real account of the scattered and dejected nation of Israel. At the time of Hosea, Israelites had been dispersed throughout the world, many placing their hope of protection in nation-states (such as Assyria) and worshipping their gods instead of the one true God. This reading from Hosea then is a word of charge and love from God to the Israelite people: do not place your trust above all in the state or in society, but place your trust above all in me! For our present age, we could think of the gods of success, fame, money, notoriety, or any other number of false idols that we can be tempted to worship, but will not actually fulfill our deepest desires for happiness. Just as He did with Israel, God continually calls us back to Himself and invites us to follow His path of love and goodness for our lives.
To this end, two lines seem to jump out from the pages of Scripture today. First, there is that beautiful line of “for in you the orphan finds compassion.” As He is saying this to the Israelites, how pertinent it is to our lives as well; we find ourselves as humble children in need of our Father in Heaven to love us and show us the way. As well, what beautiful words God offers us when He proclaims what He will do for us: “I will heal their defection, says the Lord, I will love them freely.” (Defection means to desert one’s country). The deeper meaning of this passage for our own lives becomes clear: no matter how often we may turn away or how far away the Lord may appear, He never leaves us behind and is always present and with us. Without us even asking for it, He loves us! He loves us freely and to the end, and will stop at nothing to bring you into His great and unending love.
So today, know that the Lord loves your freely. This is not something that you need to allow to happen or merit yourself. Jesus Christ loves you, He gave His life to save you, and now He is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen, and free you (Pope Francis’s words in Evangelii Gaudium). No matter how far you may be or feel, Jesus is close by. From the overabundance of His love and grace, your life will bear more fruit than you ever could think imaginable! Jesus loves you dearly, and in this, we have life. AMDG
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.
Am I aware of all of the ways that Jesus loves me?
Where can I recognize God's grace in my day today?
Have I refrained from going to Jesus because of my sin? Do I know that he will welcome me back each and every time that I ask for his forgiveness with my whole heart?
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 am close to you Lord."
"I love you Jesus."
"I want to be free in your love."
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?
Fast from the noise of life today. Instead, take time to be close to Jesus in a Church. Jesus is everywhere, but He is physically present in a special way in the Tabernacle. Stop in for a visit and spend ten minutes being physically close to Christ. Ask Him to help you feel His love for you. Ask Him to free you of anything that hides His love for you.
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University and currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.
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