STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
If you’re like me, sometimes it is really hard to watch the news. So often the world just seems like it is falling apart. Only a few months ago, Brussels was attacked and the people I used to work with were in danger. The Metro stop that was bombed, was only a few blocks from where I lived. Before that Paris and California. Suicide bombings happen across the Middle East. And then this weekend, 50 people died in a terrorist attack in Orlando. The city we normally associate with the happiest place on Earth was torn apart.
And I just feel like my heart is broken. We are surrounded by sadness and violence. Violence because we are afraid. Violence because we judge one another. Violence because we have forgotten how to get along. Our mentality often is “Love our neighbor, hate our enemy.” It seems like there is so much hate in the world.
But Jesus, has the answer for us in today’s Gospel. Jesus tells us, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” How do we fight hate? With love. How do we fight fear? With love. How should we treat those that are different from us? With love.
This message isn’t new, but it is one we seem to fail a lot. Loving one another is hard. It is hard to love our closest friends and families sometimes, let alone our enemies. But we must do it. We must reach out with love, kindness and compassion.
Praying for those who persecute us, that is a challenge. But it is one we all must take up. For it is not in anger we find peace, but it it is instead in forgiveness. While it is hard to pray for those who have harmed us, we will not find true peace any other way.
Jesus is challenging us today, just like He challenged His disciples 2,000 years ago to step up their game. We must reach out with love, because we are all God’s children. We might not fix all the problems in the world, but if we start by loving one another, maybe we can make a difference.
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
How am I called to love?
How can I share God's love with others?
How can I let go of hate?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
"That you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust."
"Lord, help me to love."
"Let me be an example of your love."
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
Pray for all those affected by violence. Look at those in your life that are hard for you to love. What can you do to share God with them today?
SMARTPHONE LOCK SCREEN
Today's prayer was prepared by Lisa Kendzior.