Step #1: Lectio / Read
Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.
Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.
Step #2: meditatio / Meditate
Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt?
The prophets of the Old Testament, one of whom we read from today, had a very interesting role in their days. These prophets were people who heard specific words from God and spoke those out to the people in their time.
Most of the things that come from the prophets' mouths involve punishment from God for sins and mistakes and a need to make a change. Micah, who we hear from today, is usually no exception. He lives at a similar time as the Prophet Isaiah, the most important prophet the Jewish people had at that time, and he similarly spends most of his life prophesying against the sins and mistakes of the people in Judah.
This reading, though, presents a different tone from Micah. We are reading from the end of the book of the Prophet Micah today, and we hear him present a picture of God that does not focus any longer on the punishments of God for sins, but instead the greatness and the mercy of God. Micah reminds us here that, although the people of the time are sinful, often turning their backs on God and turning towards sin, God will still lead His people to freedom and to new life through His faithfulness to cast their sins away from them.
In the midst of daily life, it's important to remind ourselves what this is all about. At the end of the day, while we are facing our struggles to keep up with prayer, while we are striving to eradicate sin from our lives, while we are dealing with school and decisions and work, and while we're growing in relationships with people around us, there's something bigger happening all along. That thing is this: in the midst of it all, our lives are constantly covered in God's merciful love. The same God who made the stars has made me and you and has looked at our mistakes and chosen to forgive us.
Now, we work to eradicate our lives of everything that is not of Him precisely because we have been loved so dearly and our hearts long to return that love. It's not about returning anything; it's not about earning anything. In the end, it's about the Shepherd who shepherds His people with His staff away from the pain and into the freedom of new life. Today, let's receive that mercy and love and let's live in that freedom; our God is so good to each and every one of us, and that's enough to make everything else around us make sense.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
"Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance."
How am I doing in my relationship with God? Am I letting Him love me today?
What are those things in my life I need to turn over to His mercy (again) today?
What is God saying to my heart in a special way today?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
Jesus, I trust in your merciful love.
Father, I trust in your merciful love.
Speak your freedom into my life, Lord.
For the Rest of Your DAy...
Take moments throughout the day to call to mind God's mercy and offer each moment to Him.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald,
Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's in Huntley.