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).
This year, my family received a letter stating exactly how to decorate our house for Christmas. The letter specified that our trees should be decorated with multi-colored lights or we would be considered the Grinch of the neighborhood. I am sure the letter writer thought they were being cute or clever, but really all it did was offend my dad who did not want to be told how to decorate his house. It is so easy to think of lights as how we prepare for Christmas. But isn’t Jesus asking us for more?
As we being the second week of Advent, all of today’s readings ask us to prepare for the Lord. For Christmas we tend to prepare by putting up stockings, putting up the Christmas tree and hanging up lights. All are beautiful ways to prepare for the coming of the Lord. But how do we ensure we go a bit deeper, not to make it about just lights as our letter writer did, but how do we truly prepare for Christmas?
First, we must be joyful. The first reading states, “Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever:” We are not mourning, though the days are long and dark. We are called to be joyful, full of life. Where in your life do you need more joy? Maybe it is when you are scraping off your car, maybe it is in doing chores. Where can you bring joy to a place you normally complain?
In the second reading, Paul tells us, that his prayer for Christians is to love. To love genuinely and generously. The real love he is describing who push us on to share the Gospel with others and that love should reflect the glory of the Lord. Who can you love better? Maybe it is your annoying sibling, or the person who sits by themselves at lunch. Who can you be Christ’s light to?
In the Gospel reading, John is going around proclaiming the need to repent from sins. This is the ultimate way to prepare for Jesus: go to confession. Seek His forgiveness. Find a time this Advent and ensure that you will receive God’s love and mercy so that you can open your heart to Jesus.
So take time this season of Advent to be joyful, to really love and to repent. These three things will truly help you to welcome Jesus (and to not be a grinch) this upcoming Christmas.
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 your life do you need more joy?
Who (and how) can you love better?
What are some areas you need to repent in your life?
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.
"Fill my heart with your Joy."
"I love you Lord."
"Jesus, have mercy on 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?
Go to confession this week so you can love better and turn that mourning back into joy.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.
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