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).
It seems more and more that one of the most beloved "virtues" in the world today is not to judge. We're told over and over a similar theme: you can do whatever you want, and everyone else can do and believe whatever they want, you just can't judge them. In today's Gospel, there's a way we can hear Jesus' words and think that he's supporting the same thing: don't judge anyone else, just worry about yourself.
There is, of course, some value in seeing it this way. You and I can too often get caught up in viewing what others are doing and lose sight of the things happening in our own lives. How often have we found ourselves thinking that what we're doing is THAT bad because, well, someone else is doing something worse? Or, getting prideful about ourselves because we're doing better than someone else? If we struggle with this sort of comparison, the idea that we need to first get the wooden beam out of our own eyes can be very helpful!
What is not helpful and not what Jesus is saying, though, is the view where we can never point out something that someone else is doing wrong. Our faith reminds us that there are things that are right to do and things that are wrong to do and if we are doing something wrong we should be challenged to stop doing that in favor of only doing what is right.
In order to help with this, God should hopefully send us a community of people who can be a part of our journey. If we don't currently have those people, we should seek them out! It is vital to living a life of faith that we have people in our lives who, together with us, are striving for holiness and are willing to challenge each other to grow in our discipleship. These sorts of relationships mean a lot of things: praying together, encouraging one another, enjoying each other's company, and, when needed, pointing out something that the person we're in relationship with is doing so that they can stop and remove bad habits in favor of living as the man or woman God has created them to be!
May you and I today seek out the community that truly challenges us to grow in holiness, and then with those people be ready to have the tough conversations that lead to deeper and truer conversion of heart.
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 you think you're 'doing okay' because you're not as bad as someone else? Are you comparing your journey to theirs instead of to what God is calling you to do?
Are you obsessed with what other people are doing, judging their actions and intentions as 'worthy of a Christian'?
When you are thinking about how you 'measure up' as a Christian, who do you compare yourself to? Do you go to the Gospels and see where the Lord is asking you to be?
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 am seeking Jesus."
"I am striving to be like you, Lord."
"Give me your eyes Lord."
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?
Take a moment to evaluate your circle of friends who you let influence you. Are these people who are striving for holiness and are willing to challenge each other to grow in our discipleship? If not, what can you do to expand your circle of influence.
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald, Executive Director of Carpe Verbum.
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