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).
Whenever I have found myself furthest away from God I always will inevitably ask myself, “How did I get here?” My answer, however, is almost always the same, “I haven’t been praying.” I run myself ragged with work, ministry, being a father and a husband, and in all of that, I slowly but surely begin to distance myself from the Lord because I am “too busy” for prayer.
In today’s Gospel, the Lord beautifully models for us the importance of prayer, as well as, how and why we should be praying. What we read at the end of this Gospel is that Jesus has been very busy preaching and healing many people of all different ailments.
However, even in the midst of all that, He still makes it a point to find time to pray, even though He is obviously very busy. Not only does that show our Lord’s commitment to His Father, but it also shows us that He recognizes that in order to be able to do what He is doing, and do it to the best of His abilities, He needs to be close to the Lord in prayer. He also shows us how to pray. As Scripture says “...He would withdraw to deserted places to pray.”
I used to think it was strange that Jesus prayed. Maybe that sounds dumb, but I just didn’t understand why Christ couldn’t just talk to Himself. However, the more I read scripture and studied Christ, the more I realized that Christ talks to his Father for two reasons. One; to be an example for us and two; because He loves His Father and just wanted to talk with him. Christ retreating to the deserted places is a reminder to us to find a quiet and peaceful place to pray and hear the Lord speak to us.
Finding quiet time is important for us, just like it was for Christ and the Father to talk to one another. We need a quiet space because the three persons of the Trinity are waiting to talk to us, and we need to give them that space.
In order for us to be that best we can at whatever it is we are doing with our lives, we need to be like Christ. We need to recognize that is an impossible feat to accomplish anything without first going to our deserted places and talking to the Father.
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.
Do you make time that is quiet to pray? Or do you only fit prayer into moments where you might have a few moments with lots of other noise around?
How often do you take time to retreat in prayer to spend time with the Lord?
Have you ever thought it was a little odd for Jesus to spend so much time in prayer since He was God?
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 hear you in the quiet."
"Speak to the interior quiet of my heart."
"I love you 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?
Find time today to "retreat to the quiet of the desert" and pray. Sit in the quiet asking the Lord to speak ... spend at least 10 to 15 minutes in the quiet without your phone, without a spiritual book, without the Scriptures. Just you and the Lord.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Liuzzi, a middle school religion teacher at St. John the Evangelist School in St John, IN.
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