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).
There are many Christian teachings that would be hard for anybody to disagree with: love your neighbors, care for the poor, speak up for the oppressed, love and honor your family, etc.
There are other times when people are shocked when they hear what the Church and Scriptures teach. In today’s reading we hear the apostle James say, “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials.” Wait a minute, am I supposed to rejoice when I experience suffering?
Normally, I hate suffering. In fact, I hate even being uncomfortable. In fact, I tend to avoid even minor things that cause me discomfort, like making my bed or doing the dishes. Overcoming this little sacrifice is one step, but actually rejoicing in it is a whole other level.
Jesus is the one who shows us how to consider our trials a joy; the only way is with great love.
If you think about it, loving somebody always involves some kind of sacrifice. If you love someone, you’re willing to go through anything for them. This is one of the surest signs of authentic love. Fr. George Montague said love is a two-sided coin, “One side is delight in the beloved, the other sacrifice for the beloved. The more one uses the coin, the more it becomes transparent as delight and sacrifice blend into one. Jesus went to his death out of love.” The more you love someone, the more you’re willing to sacrifice for their sake, and the more you put their needs before your own the more your love strengthens.
We don’t rejoice in trials, suffering, and sacrifice for their own sake. We rejoice because they give us an opportunity to love more and more fully.
I can rejoice when I sacrifice for my wife by cleaning the kitchen, because it’s a way that I love her and serve her.
I can consider it all joy when I am patient with somebody at work who is annoying or inconsiderate, because it’s a way for me to love them just as God loves them.
I can celebrate when I wake up a little bit earlier in the morning than I would like in order to make prayer a priority, because I know that spending time with God is one of the best ways I can show him I love him.
I can rejoice because when I encounter trials, sacrifice, and suffering I have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of my Lord, Jesus who went to his death out of great love for me. It wasn’t comfortable and it wasn’t easy, it brought him joy to save you and me from sin so that we could delight with him forever in heavenly communion.
The next time you catch yourself shying away from sacrificing for somebody you love, consider it all joy because sacrifice and love are two sides of the same coin.
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.
Does suffering scare you? Why or why not? How can you let Jesus enter in to those moments?
How is Jesus asking you to be joyful in your suffering?
How do you sacrifice for Jesus each day?
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.
“Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials.”
"Teach me to love."
Sacrifice and love."
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?
Who is someone in your life that you can sacrifice for today? What would that look like? Now go and do that.
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Today's Prayer was prepared by Chris O'Hara, an evangelist in Canada.
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