STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
I have a confession: I am wildly obsessed with the Olympics. This has been a longstanding reality in my life. Every time the Olympics come on a previously dormant fanatical love for the US of A comes to life in my heart. I really don’t ever feel as American as I do during the Olympic Games. To be completely honest, even as I write this in my living room, the Olympics are on mute in the background (in case you were wondering the USA Women’s Rowing Team just won Gold).
What causes this Olympic frenzy within me, you might ask? I think it has to do with the feeling of awe I experience when I see what is possible when people devote themselves so completely to something. These athletes train for years, they devote their lives to the sports they love, many of them make sacrifices daily to achieve greatness in their specific sport. And every few years, as I watch their efforts come to fruition on the TV in front of me it feels as though that amount of commitment, of dedication is meant only for the few, the select. It is only when I reflect on the call of Christ to love, the one we read about in today’s Gospel, that I begin to see that true perseverance and commitment may not be reserved for the Olympians.
Today in the Gospel of Matthew, Christ reveals to us that he has called us to love the Lord. Most of us are familiar with this commandment, it is one we have heard over and over again and to be honest, it makes a lot of sense. God made us, he loves us, and, in a very real way, he longs to be loved by us. Should be easy enough, right? But the Lord doesn’t just call us to love, he calls us to love him completely and entirely, with our whole selves: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt. 22:37). He does not invite us into a fleeting, inconsistent love, but an unending, determined love. One that does not fade in the face of adversity but is committed to the beloved.
Does this not require the same kind of dedication we see in the Olympic athletes? Now I realize that that may seem overwhelming, like an impossible goal. I know that I am certainly in no position to attempt anything at the Olympic level. But I was recently watching an interview with USA Swim Star Katie Ledecky (who’s won 5 Olympic metals this year alone) where the interviewer asked her how she achieved her Olympic success. She responded that the key to her achievements came from her commitment to take it one day, one step at a time.
Thus, my proposal is that we, like Olympic athlete Katie Ledecky, take our relationship of love with Christ one day at a time. Today the Lord has invited us to love him with our whole selves. Let us, step by step, become Olympians of love!
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
Christ has told us, “where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt. 6:21). What are the things in my life that I treasure? What takes up most of my time and energy? Is Christ at the top of this list?
Is there anything in my life that I love more than God? What can I do to make sure that my relationship with the Lord is the most important part of my life?
What is one practical thing I can do each day to grow in my relationship with the Lord?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
“The things that we love tell us what we are.” - Thomas Aquinas
Lord, help me to see myself through your eyes.
I love you Lord, help me to love you more.
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
Take some time today to make a list of five things that are most important to you in your daily life. Then reflect on how these things can help you grow in a deeper relationship with Christ.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lauren Wright.