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).
When I was in high school I had a lot of success on the football field. It came as a shock to me that I was receiving any hype at all as an athlete, but people began to recognize my name, my face started to pop into our local paper with game summaries, and people started to notice me. Now, for a seventeen year-old high schooler, this was undoubtedly awesome. I realized that I was being followed, and in a selfish way, all I wanted was more.
I was an offensive player who had the opportunity to score, so I knew all eyes would be on me when I crossed the goal line for a touchdown. The selfish part of me wanted everyone to cheer my name and for the hype to increase because I was such a great athlete. However, I began to feel guilty about taking praise and I began to feel God calling me to realize his role in my success. In the end, I made the decision to be super cliché and point a finger to the sky as I scored in an effort to remind myself that any talent I had was not my own, but what God had chosen to bless me with.
After about a season and a half of this, I remember sitting with the team in a classroom on a Saturday morning watching film of the game we played the night before. Though I thought my skyward point only involved me and the Lord, my coach asked a question about it. He wondered if I was pointing just to say, “I’m number one, baby!”, or if it was to point up to God in thanksgiving. Surprisingly, without hesitation, I said that it was all about bringing God glory. I didn’t know it then, but there was another player on the team who was really impacted by me standing up for the Lord, and not being shy about my desire to glorify him even in the midst of my own success on the football field. From that day on, I wasn’t the only outwardly Christian player on my team, because this other kid began to share and talk about his relationship with the Lord. Together we were able to bring a little bit more of the Gospel into our team.
I share this story not to pat myself on the back or to try to give an example of how holy I was as a high school student, but because today the first reading is all about bringing God glory in the midst of our accomplishments. St. Paul and St. Barnabas are being missionary disciples in what is modern day Turkey, trying to bring the Gospel to Gentiles who have never been exposed to the Old Testament scriptures and who probably have never heard the name Jesus. In the midst of their preaching, a man who had been lame his whole life is suddenly healed by nothing more than Paul’s command to “stand up”. When the crowds see this miraculous event, instead of glorifying God, they glorify Paul and Barnabas, declare them to be gods, and try to offer them tribute.
While I recognize that scoring touchdowns and healing terminally ill and handicapped people are nowhere near the same, I think the message is unchanging. No matter what type of success we have in life, we will always be tempted (by ourselves or by others) to let the praise, tribute, and glory stop with us. Today, the Lord is calling you to remember that he is behind every ounce of talent you will ever have. God is the source of every good and perfect gift, even those that we perfect with hard work and training. To God be all the glory, forever and ever.
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.
What accomplishments have you had recently? How did the Lord make them possible?
How do you give glory to God?
How do your actions show that you are a Christian?
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.
"Glory to God."
"For you Lord."
"I give you glory Lord."
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?
What is one thing you can do everyday to glorify God? Make a commitment to do it.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Adam Smyth, the Life Teen Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Woodlands, TX.
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