STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.”
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
During the 3rd century persecution in Rome by Emperor Valerian, St. Lawrence was condemned to a slow, cruel death. He was tied on top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted his flesh, but Lawrence’s heart was burning with so much love for God that he almost did not feel the flames. God gave him so much strength and joy even in the face of intense suffering and death that he was able to joke and say to his executioner, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side!”
Today’s Gospel reading is short but powerful, and I also find it fitting that we hear this reading on the feast day of St. Lawrence. One thing that is certain in life is that we will all eventually die. It’s not easy to hear and not fun to think about. It’s actually really scary. Thankfully, we were made for more than this world. This world is not the end but only the beginning of our eternal life with God. In fact, it only gets better from here on out. St. Lawrence saw how close he was to finally joining the Lord in heaven that he couldn’t help but be happy and joke.
Serving the Lord means following him no matter what the cost. Sometimes that might mean losing your life and becoming a martyr as in the case of St. Lawrence. Maybe it means facing persecution from friends or family for going to church or believing in God. Whatever that hardship or persecution looks like in your life, the Lord calls you to follow him even to the end.
Where the Lord is, there also will his servant be. The Lord was there with St. Lawrence even as he was burning to death. The Lord is there with each one of us even when we are facing suffering or persecution. Not only does the Lord journey and walk with us here on earth, but if we are faithful in serving him and following him, we will have the joy of joining and walking with him in heaven. The Father will honor whoever serves him.
May we too be burning with such love for God that we become so untouchable that neither flames nor persecution may touch us or hurt us. May each one of us be filled with such as joy as St. Lawrence was because he was a good and faithful servant. May we may not fear death but look forward to joining the Lord in heaven one day with expectant hope.
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
“Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.”
What am I holding on to in this life? What do I need to let go of in order to better serve the Lord?
How is the Lord calling me to serve him and stand up for my faith?
How can I respond to persecution with joy?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
“The joy of the Lord is my strength.”
“Lord, I will follow you.”
“St. Lawrence, pray for us.”
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
When you are faced with persecution or suffering, ask the Lord for the strength to respond with joy and stand up for your faith.
SMARTPHONE LOCK SCREEN
Today's prayer was prepared by Maggie Overbeck.