Step #1: Lectio / Read
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Man, I love Jonah. It is one of the strangest little books in Scripture. If you are anything like me, you probably had one thought on your mind when you read the first reading today from Jonah: what??? There is a lot of strange imagery and unfamiliar settings and characters that surround a semi-confusing story. Yet, far from just being a weird piece of Scripture or the book with the guy who got swallowed by a whale, the book of Jonah is a gem of a story about our relationship with God.I would encourage you to prayerfully read it today if you have time and feel so impelled (it is super short). In the chapters before today’s reading, God approached Jonah and asked Him to proclaim to Ninevah that they would be destroyed if they do not repent. Jonah objects: “it would be too difficult,” “there’s no way I could do that” were thoughts probably running through his head.
So he runs, and God ends up putting him in the belly of a whale. Jonah realizes that he needs to do what God has called him to do, so he prays for deliverance from the whale and after being spit up marches into Ninevah and proclaims that Ninevah will be destroyed if they do not turn to God. In his surprise, they immediately listen: “Jonah had gone but a single day’s walk…when the people of Ninevah believed God.” Instead of the land and people being destroyed, they are glorified because Jonah set aside his pride and fear and did what God called him to do.
How often in our lives are we like Jonah? I can say in all humility that I frequently am. Time after time, day in and day out, there are numerous situations where God says to me, “follow me and proclaim my name.” But I object: “That would be too difficult”, “what would he/she think about me?”, “people would hate me”, etc. What the story of Jonah here reveals, however, is that the will of God surpasses our understanding. Our part is not to find every reason to object to His will, but rather to shift our thinking into instead asking of God every day, “What do you want for me?” We may fear or doubt what He tells us to do, but the reality is there is truly nothing more peaceful, joyful, or freeing than to follow the will of God for our lives.
Similarly, if Jonah never responded to God, the whole city of Ninevah would never have heard God’s message. Who are the Ninevites in your life? Who are the people today that need to hear the true, good, and beautiful message of Jesus from you? We are anointed by God to proclaim His name to the ends of the earth, and this beautiful story from Jonah today reminds us of that noble call, to stay proclaim God’s name and follow His will regardless of our own fears, doubts, and anxieties. AMDG
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
Do you feel like God is calling you to something? Are you listening to or trying to hear His call?
What fears or anxieties keep you from following God and His will for your life?
How can you grow to boldly proclaim God's name to all people?
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 trust in You."
"I will follow You."
"I love You."
Step #5: Actio / Act
Spend some time in prayer today asking God for the strength to proclaim Him with boldness. With confidence in His help, talk to a friend or family member about God at some point during the day.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University and currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.