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).
In my experience, today’s gospel reading can be a bit difficult to grasp. From the first few lines Christ speaks, his words are challenging: “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.” As people who consistently fail at keeping the Lord’s commandments it can be easy to read this as “I will love you only if you do what I’ve told you to do.” It’s a temptation to see God here as another person in our lives whose expectations we’re expected to live up to. But let’s take a deeper look at the text and see if things don’t become a bit clearer.
First of all, Jesus doesn’t say “If you keep my commandments, then I will love you.” His actual words are “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.” You see God’s love exists for us whether we do what he commands or not. How we act shows us whether we’re choosing to live in that love or in our own brokenness. But while our actions might shift and change, God’s love is constant.
Secondly, in the next breath, as soon as he’s invited us to remain in his love by obeying his commandments he explains, “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” God doesn’t present to us his commandments, because he feels the need to be in control, but because he desires for us to experience a joy that is complete and entire.
This was once a fairly hard concept for me to grasp, this idea that God’s commandments show us how to live a joyful life But it was once explained to me that God, as the Creator, knows best how his creation functions. A chair-maker, if asked how his creation best functioned, would tell you it was meant to be sat in. Now, certainly, the chair could be used for other purposes. We could decide we wanted to stand on the chair and jump around on it. But then the chair would eventually break, because it was not used for it’s true purpose. We could also decide we wanted to use the chair as a table, and eat off of it, but let’s be honest, it’s not a great call to eat off of a place where someone’s bottom once sat. The chair has the “freedom” to be used in a number of different ways, but there’s only one way that will allow it to achieve its true purpose. In a similar way, God offers his commandments to us not as an imposing tyrant but as a Creator who knows that the only way we, as his creations, will find true joy is by keeping them.
So today let’s ask God for the grace to see the love with which God expresses His commandments.
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.
Which Commandments do you find it hard to keep? Why?
Why has the Lord asked us to follow His Commandments? How do the Commandments show us our true purpose?
How can you see the love at which God has given us the Commandments?
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.
“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.”
"Help me live your commandments."
"I want to remain in your love."
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?
Pray through the 10 commandments, which ones do you struggle with? Reflect on how following those commandments can lead you closer to the Lord. If you don't know the commandments, you can find them here.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.
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