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).
The sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ longest teaching in terms of how we ought to live and love. This Gospel, to me, is really intimidating. When I first read these words I was feeling slightly overwhelmed that Jesus is asking for too much. Especially because in our culture today, it is easier to cling to our own comforts and defenses, rather than to respond in kindness. The exhortations of Jesus are about turning the other cheek, offering your cloak, going the extra mile, and loving your enemies. Dang- a pretty tall order Jesus asks of Christians. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. This is a big one, mainly because this is a call to be Christ, who is Love itself, to all we encounter- that includes enemies. As children of God, we are loved unconditionally, freely, and with mercy. This is what fuels our self-esteem, self worth, and confidence and we are called to not only live with this fuel for our lives, but to SHARE the truth of God’s love!
Just because we believe that this is a good thing to do, it doesn’t change the reality that it is a challenge to rise above and care for those in our lives that annoy us, hurt us, or misunderstand our circumstances. But as Jesus reminds us of this difficult question; what virtue is there if we only looked out for ourselves? What if we let our resentment against someone grow so strong that we do not even see the glimmer of Christ dwelling in their souls? When we have enemies that are difficult to love and we don’t WANT to be kind then that can almost always mean we should get over ourselves and love them. Not just by being nice, but by going that extra mile, turning our cheek, offering our cloak, and loving them well.
We have to remember that He makes His sun rise on good and bad people and the rain falls on the just and unjust. Life isn’t a competition of how long we can hold on to grudges, but as Christian children, our lives are about being Christ to all despite how uncomfortable it may feel. No matter the inconvenience to help someone in need, no matter how much we want to be stubborn and unkind to our enemies, and no matter badly our hearts have been bruised- we can do the brave and courageous thing in life- surrender our will to Jesus and believe in His love. Believe in His power, Believe that the way He made you is good. Believe that there is hope for healing from any brokenness in your life.
It would be unfair of Jesus to give these instructions with no help. We cannot forget that the lesson of the Eucharist is that we are supplemented in our imperfect efforts and be fed for the difficult path that is before us, by the God who is perfect. So even when they teaching seem impossible, we know that we have help from the one who makes all things 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.
Who are you holding a grudge again that you need to let go?
How can you better love the people that you really struggle loving today?
What does it mean to be perfect as God is, instead of how the world is?
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.
"Perfect my love."
"Help me to love like You."
"Thank you Jesus."
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?
Make amends today. Let go of those grudges and choose to love people, especially the ones you want to hate the most.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Katy Praetzel, a worship leader in Pittsburgh, PA.
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