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).
I’m small. I don’t think I can make a difference. The Lord uses great saints to change the world, and I’m just me. We can feel lost in the shuffle, like there isn’t a place for us in the halls of heaven with the great saints. We can start to think about how we get angry quickly, or aren’t as consistent in prayer as we should be, or maybe we just see ourselves as ‘average’ on all fronts.
Like all superheroes, the apostles come from humble beginnings. They had hardships making ends meet. They were normal. Andrew was just Andrew. Thomas was just Thomas. I can imagine that they didn’t have any idea the plan God had for them since the beginning of time. However, they followed Jesus. The Twelve dropped everything, so that they could say yes. Did they immediately believe then that they were ‘great’ and going to make an eternal difference? No. I can almost picture the conversations between the apostles, second guessing themselves and talking through how they think Jesus could’ve done better than them. Yet, they continued to say yes, even as they walked with our Lord to His sacrifice on the cross. (Yeah…They hid for awhile, but God was faithful and called them back to Himself.) Even as they encountered the risen Lord, they probably had self-doubt. Hey, even Peter wanted to go back to just being the fisherman. But they said yes. Over and over. Yes to God’s plan. Yes to being a part of the Church. Yes to being made a great saint.
Today’s reading the apostles are brought into a court for being Christians. They could’ve been crucified for teaching about Jesus. They must’ve been making a ‘great saint’ kinda impact to catch the attention of this court. Many wanted to end the apostles…But one man stood up, and in what seems to me an epic speech, explains that if these apostles aren’t who they say they are…they will destroy themselves. But even more pointedly says, if these men are of God, you couldn’t destroy them if you tried…and you just might find yourself in a fight with the Big Man Himself. The courts allow that warning to send shivers down their spine. They give the apostles the customary beating and then let them go without a further punishment.
The apostles didn’t walk out, wiping the sweat from their brow, rejoicing that they left with their lives. They left rejoicing that they were able to suffer for the Christ! They left, continuing to sing the praises of Jesus Christ with no fear, because God had been faithful. The man who stood up to warn the court had been right, these men could not be defeated because in Jesus Christ, being average is a potential to be used to glorify God, quick anger can be tempered into zeal, and lukewarm prayer can be heated in the fire of the love of the Eternal God.
In Jesus, you are made strong. We too should rejoice that we can suffer for Jesus. If we suffer in our ‘averageness’, our self-doubt, or any other weaknesses while following the Lord, we should rejoice because being in the army of the Lord, these weaknesses cannot and will not overcome us. To say yes with our less than perfect hearts is the yes to being a great saint. The Lord wants little ol’ you with Him forever rejoicing…and on that day when we enter the Kingdom we will see clearly that our weakness in Christ is made perfect. Say yes today. Say yes tomorrow. Say yes all the way to the gates.
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.
The apostles were ordinary men who made a great difference. How can you use your ordinary day to spread the love of God?
In the court, it is pointed out that if the apostles message is from God it won't be stopped. How have you seen the power of God act in your own life?
Did you know what the Church looks for when they look for a saint? "Fidelity to the mundane duties of ordinary living for an extended period of time." -- The Congregation for the Causes of Saints. How can your ordinary life make you a saint?
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.
"I say yes Lord."
"I need you."
"I choose ordinary greatness."
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?
The apostles even to the point of death did not stop choosing to praise the Lord and proclaim the Gospel. Today challenge yourself to proclaim God's greatness in everything you do.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Robert Blood, seminarian of the Diocese of Rockford.
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