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).
“Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God.”
These are the words of an Old Testament Moses. But they still ring true to us today.
Yet, how often do we remember them? How often in our search for happiness or in an answering the existential question of what the Lord has planned for our life do we remember his commandments? Sometimes, finding the plan God has for our life is really as simple as following his teachings and commandments. That will lead us to where He wants us to be.
In the Bible the Lord makes clear some things are permissible, and some that are not. Though situations that the commandments touch can be nuanced, at their base foundation they are quite simple.
If you forgot the 10 commandments, here is a brief reminder:
1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Once the analogy of the Catholic Church as a ship was described to me. It was explained like this: The Catholic Church is a ship heading toward heaven. It knows the islands to navigate, the shallow waters to avoid and how to weather storms. If you stay upon the ship and follow the rules on board, the ship will take you to heaven.
That’s not to say that someone not on the ship can’t reach heaven – they most certainly can, and we believe many do.
But how much easier will it be to reach our final destination if we stay on the ship instead of swimming alone the choppy waves behind it?
The same can be true of the commandments. They are guideposts to lead us to success, in heaven and also on earth.
The ten commandments lead us toward love. When has stealing or committing adultery been beneficial for our earthly lives?
The Lord doesn’t give us more or less earthly blessings depending if we follow Him or not. In fact, some of the holiest people – the saints – endured much suffering on earth, even when following the Lord’s commandments closely.
We have to believe that that blessings they were promised were fulfilled in heaven, where they received a hundredfold or more in eternity.
But, following the commandments will still bless our time on earth. And, like staying on the ship, will lead us to prosperity and life as the Lord intended.
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 commandment(s) do you find most difficult to follow? Which commandments do you find easiest to obey?
How do you think God is leading you toward love and happiness through His commandments?
How can you grow closer to God through His commandments today?
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.
"Open my heart."
"Teach me to 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?
At the end of the day, pray with an examination of conscience. You can download one from the USCCB website. Use this tool to see where you obeyed God and where you slipped up. Note when following God's commands led to greater peace and love, and where straying from them led to discord. Overall, let it lead you closer to the Father's merciful and loving embrace.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Andrea Scott, a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.
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