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 hear a lot of Christians aren’t supposed to judge, right? People seem to throw this in our faces a lot because they want to “call us out as Christians" and show us how we are being a hypocrite. As my pastor said last weekend, we are - because Christians sin, we do the things we say we shouldn’t do, we can seem hypocritical to others. This is why we have confession. And also why we call ourselves “practicing” ... as long as we are actively trying.
Today’s first reading though really points out the problem with judging others. They aren’t the only ones committing that sin. When we haven’t really examined our own lives first, our judgement of another’s actions or even voicing of how they could live their life better, falls on deaf ears. It’s not worth anything because we’re just saying “do as a I say, not as a I do.”
This is what happened in Jesus’ time with the Pharisees. They were telling the people all of these rules that they had to follow, but they weren’t doing them all themselves. They were like a parent saying “don’t smoke” as they light up a cigarette or “drive safely” as they go 90 down the highway.
We can’t judge people’s actions because we don’t know their intentions. Are they striving to follow the Lord, but have just failed today and are on their way to the confessional? Are we? Be careful in evaluating someone else’s life before you’ve evaluated your own. If you’re noticing something particularly concerning in someone’s life, be sure to examine your own to see if the Lord isn’t just helping you see your own issue. Then strive to rid it from your life. Your example will be a great witness to the other, and you’ll be able to say, “Can I walk with you on the journey toward holiness?”
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.
Do I examine my own life before I start to examine or judge others?
How can I journey with people toward holiness?
How can I be more genuine and charitable in my attitude toward others?
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.
"Journey toward holiness."
"Help me to examine my own conscience."
"Lord, stop me from judging the others."
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?
When you catch yourself judging someone, take some time to examine your own conscience, and go to Confession if you need to.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Katie Herzing, a former youth minister turned parish evanglization consultant living in North Carolina.
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