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's first reading is one that if not thought about properly could seem out of touch in today's day in age.
Specifically I'm talking about the often pointed to: "woman being subordinate to her husband" and a "husband being the head of his wife." With no context but our modern times, it could seem chauvinistic. But in reality it's anything but. Let's see if this example is helpful to you.
This beautiful example was given by my college professor, and it has stuck with me ever since I heard it.
Imagine a couple ballroom dancing.
When an audience comes to watch the dancers, the audience is struck by the beauty and cohesion of the couple. But their eyes are also on the woman, who is in a lovely, swirling dress, capturing everyone's attention as she smiles as her partner seems to effortlessly swirl her across the dance floor.
In dancing one can define partners as "leads" and "follows." In most dances, traditionally, the woman is the "follow," and the male "leads" her in the dance.
Yet our eyes are drawn to the woman, even though she in some ways is secondary, the "follow."
The woman, however, couldn't be the center of attention in this beautiful dance without the steadiness and direction of the lead, or her male partner.
It is his guidance that leads us to look at her. He is the head of this dance, yet she is the one the audience looks at first. And their cohesion and unity is beautiful as a whole. His steadiness leads her to flourish as the light and beauty of the dance.
This may help give you some insight to today's first reading. Yes, in the Bible women are told to "follow" the "lead" of their husbands. Yet, in a healthy marriage, if done properly, this will only give the woman the space and freedom where she can shine and be most herself. If done right, it won't diminish her dignity, but instead bring it out in its fullness.
Next in the reading, husbands are then told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church.
And how did Christ love the Church?
Christ loved the Church with everything He had. He suffered persecution, floggings, a heavy cross, a crown of thorns and a the most painful of crucifixions for His love for the Church.
Thereby, husbands are asked to suffer and give everything they have for their wives.
When read properly these verses are anything but degrading to women. Instead, they reinforce that women are the "crown of creation." and should be treated with an extraordinary care.
The woman gives her love and humble respect to her husband. And that helps create a distinct, beautiful, complementary, cohesive union.
Like the ballroom couple gliding across a dance floor.
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.
How do I understand the idea of leading and following in a marriage?
In what ways do I allow myself to be led and how do I follow the Lord?
How do I experience the sacrificial love of Jesus in my 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.
"Help me know your love."
"Let me be led by you."
"I want to know true 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?
Take stock of your experience of what true love should look like. Men: evaluate how you are sacrificing for the women you love, like Christ sacrificed for his Church. Women: evaluate how you allow yourself to be led by Christ and the men in your life.
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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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