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).
I don’t think I had ever been so heartbroken as I was when I met a young girl who struggled with severe mental illness. She had shared openly to me about how she had contemplated ending her life numerous times and she did not think she was capable of being loved or forgiven. Truly, my heart sank into that hard church basement chair while leading a retreat for High School students. She was lost and unsure of what hope tangibly looked like. What a terrible place to be in, especially when you feel helpless. Although I felt inadequate to have this conversation with her, words began flowing out of my mouth because my heart was so desperately longing to comfort her and speak truth.
I am not entirely sure what the Holy Spirit allowed me to say, but I am confident that it was His words straight from the Father’s heart and I simply spoke. We both cried, she hugged me goodbye after the retreat, all with a smile that was no longer lonely, but peaceful. I received a letter from her one year later and she shared how well she was doing with her small efforts everyday to let the Lord love her and fight her battles.
In today’s Gospel, it is almost like I tangibly hear the longing in Jesus’ prayer for unity of mankind with Him and for the Father’s love to be KNOWN. To be experienced through the Trinity, to be received in the Sacraments, and to be shared through us His followers to the world. In the “I Thirst” Meditation by Saint Teresa of Calcutta, we hear how the Lord misses us when we do not draw near to Him. He actually thirsts for love of us. Jesus even says, “Father they (us) are your gift to me” (John 17). The Lord’s heart is bleeding through these beautiful words of love, that the Lord delights that you are His gift to be cherished, marveled at, and known. The Lord is eager to put on armor and fight for our souls, but He is also gently nudging us to His arms. And the best part is Jesus takes this longing a step further and invites us to become one with Him in the Eucharist. We invite Him to come “under our roof” into our home, our hearts, and live as we are His beloved gift. When we really believe this pure longing that He has for us, how can we ever not lean into hope and allow Him to keep us company and fight any battle of loneliness or inadequacy?
We are not alone. We are not hopeless. Rather, we are His gift...and He is ours.
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 you ever or are you currently struggling with hopelessness? Which words of Christ in today's Gospel give you peace and comfort?
Do you long to know God's love as He longs to share that love with you? Will you rest in His arms and let Him love you?
How can you respond to God's invitation to be one with Him today? How will you allow Him into your life and embrace the gift of hope and unity?
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.
"You are my hope."
"Let me be one with you."
"You are with me, always."
Step #5: Actio / Act
Focus your hope in Jesus today. When something stressful happens or when you feel tempted to despair or doubt God's love, take a step back from the situation. Take a minute to say a prayer and ask God for His help, that you might remember that He is with you and loving you always. Accept God's gift of love that He has to give to you, and let yourself be His gift in return.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Katy Praetzel, a worship leader in Pittsburgh, PA.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.