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's First Reading and Gospel go amazingly well together. It's almost as if – I know this is a crazy idea, but hear me out – God speaks through the Holy Spirit in Scripture.
The letter from James today is particularly powerhouse and worth praying through. James is clearly VERY frustrated with the people he's writing to, knowing that they are living in conflict with one another and not following the commandments of God. In the way that a teacher and religious ruler should, he calls them out. You can hear a tone in this letter of a parent expressing displeasure with something their child did. As the parent of a 3-year-old, there's a battle that I can almost hear James fighting in these verses that I know all to well.
You've done something wrong! It was clearly wrong. You knew it was wrong, and you did it anyway. Why would you do that?!
For James, of course, it's different than talking to a toddler. But in a lot of ways it's not; there are habits that we have that are pretty close to a toddler. Sometimes, our emotions run wild and we don't know how to handle it; out of a place of sadness or anger or excitement, we do or say something that just sort of ... happens. We just did it, and now here we are apologizing again or we're back in the confessional bringing up the same thing for which we didn't want to be back there.
And yet, at the end of the letter, the gentleness of a loving parent comes through in James. You can almost hear him saying, "It's not that hard." Submit to God. Resist the devil. Approach the Lord in humility, and he'll exalt you.
What are the areas in your life and in mine that we need to submit to God? How do I need to resist the devil right now with more ferocity than I used to?
It's not that hard, brothers and sisters. But it will take control of my passions and emotions so as not to do things I do not want to do. And it'll take getting up when I fall, re-submitting myself to the Lord and re-resisting the temptations of the devil, knowing that in the Lord – and not the world – is all that I desire.
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.
Where in my life do I currently have conflict with another person?
How am I like a toddler in how I respond to God's or other's direction? Where do I sometimes refuse to submit to my wrongdoing and seek forgiveness?
In what ways is God loving me even in the midst of my failure and weakness? How can I be sure?
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.
"Humble me, Lord."
"Thank you for loving me."
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?
Find time to humble yourself before the Lord today, to draw near to him so he can draw near to you. If there's an area of unforgiveness, seek forgiveness or to forgive. If you have done something wrong that requires an apology, make that apology. Humble yourself and God will exalt you!
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald, Executive Director of Carpe Verbum.
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