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)
Have you ever been persecuted for your faith? We see a little in the Gospels about Jesus being persecuted, but reading through the New Testament, particularly Acts of the Apostles, we see the persecution o the early Church.
Recently we’ve seen Christians being killed for their faith in other countries and I think “that’s awful! I’m so glad that doesn’t happen here in the U.S.” But the more I think about it the more I realize we do in fact get persecuted for our faith.
Have you ever been looked down upon because you go to Church? Ever been called a bigot or intolerant because you’re Catholic, even though you’ve never said anything personally to make that person think that? Ever been called a prude or told your dating expectations are too high because you respect the Sacrament of marriage and want to wait to have sex?
These are the forms of persecution the Devil is using in our time to draw us away from the Truth of the Church. It’s not always easy to tell someone you are a practicing Catholic for fear of being judged, this is when the words of Jesus in the Gospel today should ring in our ears: “So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”
Although we are free and will not be killed for our faith, living out our Catholic faith is VERY countercultural today. I have been looked down upon for still being a virgin because I’m not married or because of my views on contraception or abortion. Your situation may be similar, or it could be for other teachings of the Church. But when those conversations come up, I pray for the strength to loving express my opinion. Sometimes that means quietly observing the conversation and sometimes it means I need to speak up. It is important to be informed on the topic and not self righteous when speaking the Truth of the Church.
We won’t always say the right words, but that’s why it is good to have a regular prayer life so we can call upon the Holy Spirit to speak through is in those moments, to give us courage when we need it the most. It’s not always easy to be a faith Catholic Christian, but as Jesus says in the Gospel, our joy will be great in Heaven.
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
Am I prepared to be persecuted for my faith? Am I ready to stand true to what I believe even when I know that it will bring suffering?
Do I stand up for truth in the midst of anguish?
Am I okay being counter-cultural living out my faith? Am I prepared to not fit in by following Christ?
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
"I'm ready to follow you."
"I love you, Lord, more than fitting in."
"I trust in your plan."
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?
Loving Jesus behind closed doors is easy, but when we go out in public, it can be harder. Take time today to practice what you'll say when someone responds to your faith with "that's crazy, why would you do that?" Know what you'll say in response, so you can stand up for what you know to be important, to be the most important part of your life!
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Kayla Essner, a high school Math teacher in Denver, CO.
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