Step #1: Lectio / Read
Step #2: Meditatio / meditate
"How big is your heart?"
In college, while I was studying abroad in Austria, my Christian Morality professor was an intimidatingly holy and passionate Scotsman. He was the kind of person that you never wanted to disappoint, intense and holy, a real saint.
As is common, the first day of class was devoted to walking through the syllabus. Generally, teachers and professors have some kind of attendance policy. Either you can only miss a few classes and still pass, or have to email the prof every time you miss etc. Fascinatingly, under the section on my Scottish professor's syllabus that was marked "Attendance Policy," there was simply typed a single sentence, "How big is your heart?"
The subtext was that attendance at his class should be done less out of a desire to meet a mandatory minimum commitment, but that the luxury of being able to pay for a college education should be accepted with a certain reverence that necessitated constant commitment. Furthermore, the personal virtue of each student would be displayed by how much they attended. Tempted to skip class one day? "How big is your heart?"
The couple of times I did skip that class (for super important reasons, of course, like catching a train to Vienna or because I didn't feel like it and it was really sunny outside) I would always hear my Scottish professor's voice reverberating in my head. "How big is your heart?"
I think of that line when I read this first reading from St. Paul. It can seem like the goal of Christian living is something very small and simple. As long as we haven't murdered anybody this week, we're pretty much guaranteed to go to Heaven right? Paul couldn't even begin to understand this kind of bare minimum thinking. To live as a Christian is to be tasked with difficult straining to be like Jesus. It's not to just be a little better than your friends that go party on the weekend. It is to be so utterly transformed by grace. It is to allow your heart to be ripped open, broken, so that it can be utterly available to love every. single. person. you encounter.
One more point from St. Paul, "If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast." There is often a first conversion we have where we turn away from the more obvious sins in our life. Pornography. Drinking. Etc. A second and much more profound conversion often has to follow which has to do with our motivations. WHY are we following Jesus? Is it for personal gain? So that we look good? Holy? Others applaud us? Or is it from the correct reason: that we just really love this guy and what He has done for us? No parent loves their kid because of what that kid offers them. Parental love is selfless love. This is the kind of love that we're called to offer God. We'll go anywhere, do anything for Him, not for worldly reasons, but just because we love Him so much.
You can't love what you don't know. You can't say you love someone if you don't really know them. To love God enough to have the right motivations in the Christian life, you have to get to know Him personally. Prayer is the only way to do that. By reading this reflection, and doing your lectio divina, you made the right decision today.
Go get to know Him.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
How big is your heart? Have you let Christ change your heart and truly teach you to love.
If you are honest, what are your motivations for following Christ?
What is your daily prayer life like? What are some things you could do or other times you could pray in order to truly get to know Christ?
STep #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
Jesus, I love you.
Jesus, I trust you.
Jesus, I am yours.
For the Rest of Your Day...
Spend time focusing on loving others, seeing how big your heart is. At the end of the day, and tomorrow, take some time in prayer reflecting on how Christ is challenging your heart to grow.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Tim Glemkowski.
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