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).
We have two major identity problems in our world; we either think we are not worth it, or we are the only one worth it. Both of these points of view are dangerous to us as individuals and society. If we think we are not worth it, then we deprive the world of our amazing gifts and talents, ones that God gave only to you!! If we think that we are the only one worth it, then we miss out on all the blessings that God has for us in this world and we become selfish and self-absorbed. There has to be a middle ground, there has to be a way to know our great worth without forgetting the worth of our neighbor.
That is why I love this Gospel story today. It is not about one sheep being better than the other. It is not that any is more important or valuable than another. The one the shepherd went after was not worth "99 regular sheep" nor were any of the 99 worth any less than the one who wandered away. They were all worth EVERYTHING to the shepherd. Each one was of infinite worth, and even missing just one hurt the whole flock!
Jesus is often compared to a shepherd. You are all of infinite worth to Him and without a doubt, this world and His Kingdom would be missing something special without you. This world not only needs all of us, but it needs you individually! We all struggle with self-image issues, but we have to remember that God made you on purpose and with a purpose. You are different than the person sitting next to you because God wanted you for something specific. You are worth everything to Him though, the exact same amount as that unique person next to you. We are different and that is okay, let's celebrate the gifts God gave us individually and know that without anyone one individual, so much would be missing!
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 makes you different? What are the unique gifts God has given you?
What are some of the unique gifts and qualities you find in your friends and family?
What can you continue to do to recognize your own worth and the worth of those 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 of infinite worth."
"He rejoices over the one."
"This world and His Kingdom would be missing something special without you."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Recognize your own worth and unique gifts as well as the worth and gifts of those around you. Give thanks to the Lord for those things!
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Today's prayer was prepared by Sean Norris, Youth Minister at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights, IL.
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