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).
Hardness of heart is a terrifying sin. It seems to be a sin of strength, rather than weakness. Pharaoh had power over nations, yet his heart was hardened by pride and control. When the True God came to meet him through the prophet, Moses, he refused to listen. He can not risk losing his power over the Israelites. The Pharisees in today's gospel are the same. They have power thanks to their learning. They know the scriptures and enjoy influence among the people. Yet when the incarnate God is in their midst, they refuse to listen. They only think of ways to cling to their power.
This is not just a temptation for powerful people. It can strike us as well, especially if we have been living the spiritual life for a while. We, like the pharisees can get comfortable with the way things are. We have given at least some of our life to God. We are not bad people, (for the most part.) We pray occasionally. We tolerate people. Isn’t this enough? Not for God. He wants to come into our lives to heal us radically. He wants us to truly love our neighbor. Faced with this dramatic change, will our hearts be hardened? Will the stern gaze of God fall upon us? Or, will we, like the man with the withered hand, see that we are the ones that need healing? The pharisees thought they were strong. The man with the withered hand knew he was weak. They both needed God. May God give us the true strength of a heart that is vulnerable to Him.
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 has my heart grown hardened? Have I become complacent in my relationship with God?
How can I be less like the pharisees?
What is my withered hand? What do I need to be healed of?
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.
"Heal me, Lord."
"Let my heart not become hardened."
"Lord, I need 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 the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Examine the ways that your heart has become hardened and ask the Lord to remove that hardness of heart in order to bring you the healing you need and desire.
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Today’s Prayer was prepared by Fr. Anthony Sciarappa who was ordained in 2016 and is a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
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