Step #1: Lectio / Read
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).
It says in the Gospel that Simeon prophesies that Our Lady would be pierced so that the thoughts many hearts would be revealed. What exactly is this talking about? It seems like a pretty intense thing to say to the mother of a newborn.
Let's go back a couple of books in the Bible to Genesis where Adam and Eve were disobedient and ate of the fruit. What was the penalty for their sin? God said, “I will intensify your toil in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16).
This tells us prior to Original Sin if Adam and Eve had conceived child Eve would not have felt any of the pain in giving labor. But due to the sin that both of them committed, the penalty for Eve, and all of her children, would be to experience labor pains.
Now jumping back to Our Lady, we know that she was immaculately conceived which means that at the moment of her conception, God preserved her from Original Sin. Basically, it was as if He was starting over with Eve. This implies that when Our Lady gave birth to Jesus, she did not experience any of the labor pains that were associated with the children of Eve.
This did not mean that was she was to go through this life without suffering. Instead God was preserving her labor pains for a time in which He desired to give birth to the entire church. It is precisely Mary, immaculately conceived and immaculately pure, who is so united to Jesus Christ upon the cross that when His heart is pierced and blood and water come forth from His side so is her heart pierced. Her pain came, not through labor, but in watching her son die on the cross. Through the pain and suffering of both Mary and Jesus, through their united hearts, was the Church where the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart.
Yesterday, was the Exultation of the Cross, today we honor Mary and her sufferings in the Crucifixion. Have you ever thought about what the cross was like for Mary? Take some time to talk with her about it.
Jesus suffered and died for you. When is the last time you thanked Him?
Suffering is not always bad, God can use it for good. Talk to God about the suffering that is going on in your life.
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.
"Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us."
"You yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
"Her heart is also pierced."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
In moments of suffering today, offer them up to God and ask God to use them for good.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. Sean Grismer, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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