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).
“You will be a people sacred unto the Lord” This passage from the first reading speaks of how God longs to be in relationship with us and how He desires it so much that He is making a promise to us. God’s love is so great that throughout the Old Testament we see God reaching out to us even after we have turned away and bringing us back into relationship with Him. Why? Great question!
The answer to that question is because of love! God loves us and the stories of us turning away and God taking us back reminds us that there is nothing we could ever do that God wouldn’t take us back. No matter the choices we have or will make, if we turn back to God with sorrow in our heart for turning away, He will take us back because of His great love for us!
I saw a movie this weekend that rocked my world. It captures this passage and part of the Gospel of, “Love your enemies.” I watched a man who as a child was beaten by his drunken father and watched his mother be beaten be able to forgive his dad and heal a deep childhood wound. The reason he was able to forgive that horrible experience was because he was given the insight that his dad was also beaten by his father and lived through horrible experiences as well. His father couldn’t handle what he experienced as a child so he drank and repeated the behavior to his own son.
The beauty of the reconciliation was found in forgiveness. This wasn’t the end of his path to healing he had another big person in his life to forgive. He had taken his 3 children on a camping trip and on the last day as they were leaving his youngest daughter was kidnapped and murdered. After this he fell into a deep depression and was in so much pain he couldn’t help his wife grieve or his children. He ended up receiving a note from God to go spend the weekend at the place where his daughter was murdered. Thinking the note was from the killer of the daughter, he went to find him, but what he found was vastly different. He truly spends the weekend with the Holy Trinity. I can’t tell you everything about this movie, but I can tell you that there was a point where this man had to love his enemies; he had to love the man who murdered his daughter by offering him forgiveness. What I saw happen to this man was that through forgiveness he was set free from the pain he had experienced from his Father and this man who robbed him of his beautiful daughter.
When Jesus says to us, "Love your enemies," He is truly speaking of people who have wronged us and Jesus is asking us to forgive them. During this season of Lent ask Jesus to help you to know those who have wronged you and seek to forgive 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.
When have you turned away from God? When you turned back, how did you experience His love for you?
What does God's love for us show us about forgiveness? Who is your life do you need to forgive?
Think about those who bug you or annoy you. What do they do that makes you crazy? How can you look past that to see them as a child of God?
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.
"Love your enemies."
"Pray for those who persecute you."
"Let me forgive like You."
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?
Loving your enemies is hard. What is one way today you can show God's love to someone you don't get along with?
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Today's reflection was prepared by Sr. Faustina Ferko, a Sister of the Order of the Holy Family of Nazareth and Youth Minister at St. James in Arlington Heights, IL.
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