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 gospel passage from Matthew today contains one of my favorite verses of the New Testament. I have contemplated its meaning and reflected on its broad implications within my life many times; it is also at the very center of how I became a Catholic. Chapter 23, verse 11 quotes Jesus’ words: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”. When you think deeply and honestly about the meaning of these words, I think you discover that this way of life Jesus describes just may be the most fundamental principle of Christianity.
The most egregious sin, the vice at the root of all other sins, is pride. Pride, from the very first sin of Adam and Eve, throughout history, all the way to this very day, has always essentially been able to be boiled down to the created thinking they know better than their Creator. Does this not exactly describe the “exaltation” of oneself? We see countless examples in the Scripture of those who display pride being brought down, just as Jesus describes.
The opposite of the sin of Pride is the virtue of Humility. Like pride, it can also be reduced to a basic concept. That is the acknowledgement that God is better than us and living our lives with that always in mind. Scripture is also abundant with examples of those who display humility and are rewarded.
To serve our fellow human beings is to be humble. To sacrifice our own desires, and to put their welfare above that of our own, is to be humble. To love and follow God is to utterly empty our hearts of ourselves and let Him fill them back up; what could possibly be humbler than that? Therein lies the whole point, the essential purpose of Jesus’ teaching . . . humble yourselves, and allow God to exalt you.
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 are some ways that God is calling you to be humble in your life right now?
In your mind, who is a truly humble person? Why do they exemplify that virtue for you? Talk to God in prayer about their example and your ability to live that out.
How can you sacrifice today for others around you?
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 great."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"God be exalted."
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?
Choose to serve today. In some way big or small, make a sacrifice and serve someone you love today by doing something for them that you might not normally do.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jim Lundgren, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.
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