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).
About three weeks ago I had the joy of marrying my beautiful wife, Becca. The day was absolutely incredible and filled with joy. We were surrounded by our family and friends, and people traveled from all over North America to celebrate with us. The Wedding Mass was beautifully celebrated, and the dance was one of the most exciting dances I can remember! The joy of people from every stage of our lives coming together was unforgettable. As we prepared to leave the wedding dance at the end of the night, two long lines formed on either side of us and my wife and I. With all of our loved ones making a tunnel through the dance floor we danced like we had never danced before towards the parking lot, and everybody clapped and cheered us on until we got to the exit. Anybody who has seen the old 70s TV show “Soul Train” knows exactly what I’m talking about. It was one of the most joyful moments of my entire life.
I was at a youth retreat once, and the speaker spoke about the sacrament of reconciliation in a way that made it sound exactly like the dance line described above. He said, “You might feel all alone as you wait in line for reconciliation, but I want you to imagine all the saints and angels lined up left and right of the confession line, cheering you on as you come to receive forgiveness.”
It’s easy to feel alone, dejected, and ashamed when we know we have sinned. When you are in need of confession, the last thing we think about is how much joy it brings the Father to be reconciled with us. In fact, for many of us we might even make the mistake of thinking that the Father is judging us harshly, condemning us, or that we’re not good enough to be loved by Him. These are all lies and we can’t listen to them!
In the Gospel today, Jesus tells us the story of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep and goes after the 1 that has strayed. But the shepherd is not angry or scornful, but rather he is joyful and celebrates finding the sheep! “Upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.'”
How do you feel when you know you’ve sinned and you need reconciliation? Are you embarrassed and stuck in a vicious cycle of self-condemnation, isolation, and shame? Or on the other hand, do you picture the Father with outstretched arms longing to have you close to him once again, with all the saints and angels encouraging you and cheering you on?
Be not afraid! Jesus wants us to know the celebration that occurs in heaven each and every time we return to the Father with our whole hearts. There is nothing to be afraid of. You don’t need to delay the celebration for one more day; in this very moment in your heart you can place yourself in God’s presence and ask him to be with you this day and to give you his grace. What are you waiting for?
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.
Are you delaying in being reconciled to the Lord for any reason?
What do you do to intentionally celebrate reconciliation between you and the Lord and for others?
Are you afraid of what might happen when you return to the Lord?
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'm sorry Lord."
"Lord have mercy."
"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?
When was the last time you went to confession? Now's the perfect time! If it's been a while the make time this week, then celebrate with the party in Heaven!
Smartphone Lock Screen
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Today's Prayer was prepared by Chris O'Hara, an evangelist in Canada.
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