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).
There’s a lot to unpack in this Gospel readings. I’d recommend sitting with it and seeing which part touches your heart at some point in your prayer today.
For this reflection, I want to focus on Jesus’ first point: “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” - Luke 6:27-28.
The other day I had a conversation with a friend who shared a situation in which he found himself at odds with another individual. His attempts to reconcile were met with no response, and the antagonist seemed determined to prolong the conflict.
As I listened, I thought to this passage (I was already in the process of crafting my reflection), and after listening, I mentioned its applicability. I brought up how through the act of willing the good of the perpetrator, in many ways frees us from the negative emotional and spiritual effects of such situations. We can further this attitude by praying for them and even doing something to help, as Jesus goes on to teach. This conversation got me thinking about the genius of Jesus’ teaching on this topic; how it is both effective on a human and divine level.
Loving and praying for our enemies, allows us to, from a spiritual sense, rise above the situation and look at it from the eyes of God. We will not as easily be brought down by negative energy, but instead can flip the situation. As St. John of the Cross said, “Where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love.” And secondly, love and prayer have real power. By praying, we are inviting God to change the hearts and minds of those involved. With a loving attitude, we will have better luck with interactions that could arise with the individual and better our odds at reaching resolution.
Even if we don’t have someone that we’re currently at odds with, this passage is very important. We never choose to be in the situations for which our forgiveness is needed. It can occur at any time, which is why we need to allow this teaching to penetrate deep into our hearts. If we are armed with an attitude of forgiveness, we can courageously love others and speak the truth, and thus be less afraid of any conflict that may follow.
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.
Who are my enemies? Why?
How do I treat people who are against me?
How is God calling me to be transformed in my relationships with enemies?
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 love others like you."
"Jesus, I love you."
"Give me patience."
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?
If you have someone you are at odds at, perhaps because of a lack of forgiveness or a pain in the past, think about how you can reach out to them to try and reconcile. If that isn't possible, or if it isn't the right time for it, then offer up prayer for that person. If you don't have a current enemy, pray for the opportunity and grace to love someone who could hurt you in the future.
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Today's Prayer was prepared by Liam Brady, an accountant in Chicago.
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