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 is the memorial of St. Peter Claver S.J. Peter Calver, a native of Spain, left his homeland as a Jesuit seminarian in 1610, inspired by his zeal for souls, and dedicated the rest of his life to the service of the poorest people in Cartagena – the slaves. After finishing his studies for priesthood, He began his work among the slaves in 1615. Peter dedicated his time to the spiritual and physical care of the slaves that entered the port city. He would enter into the ships that arrived to port, and he would bring the first taste of mercy, kindness, and care that these men and women had seen in months. He buried their dead, help heal their wounded, baptized and catechized as many as he could, and regularly tried to raise funds to buy their freedom or challenge slave owners to voluntarily offer freedom as well. After seven years of working to bring spiritual and physical healing to his charges, Peter took a private vow to be “a slave of the slaves forever.” He lived out this vow for the next thirty years of his life, working daily for any and all needs of his poor community, seeking to bring them spiritual and physical healing and freedom in any ways that he could.
Peter’s life and work offer us much fruit for our own prayer and reflection today. One such trait of Peter’s is his life of mercy. One pope once defined mercy as “love overcoming resistance” or “mercy is love that loves in spite of obstacles, difficulties, natural reluctance, or even positive revulsion.” Peter lived this kind of love daily. He would often write about his natural revulsion at the smells and sights that would greet him in his labors on the ships, but also of his joy at being able to bring Christ’s love to the people he met there. He would return at the end of the day, marked by his work in how he looked and smelled, and taste rejection or humiliation from his religious companions or friends in the city. He would often meet with hostility from the slaves that he worked with – due to linguistic barriers and their own natural suspicions due to their treatment by others. Despite all of this, Peter continued to bring God’s mercy – to bring a love that overcomes resistance – to those in his care. Today in our prayer, let us be inspired by this saint’s life of mercy, a life of costly love. Let us ask the Lord where we are invited to love like he did in our daily lives, loving in way that overcomes our own natural reluctance or resistance to those in our lives and drives us to serve them.
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 can I live a life of mercy?
What reluctance or resistance do I have in serving others?
What inspires me to serve?
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.
"Lord, have mercy."
"Teach me to love."
"Blessed are the poor."
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?
Work on overcoming any resistance or reluctance you may feel, and seek out an opportunity to serve today.
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Today’s prayer was prepared by Jon Polce, SJ.
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