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).
I once heard a story about a man from the Fujon province of China, where practicing the Catholic faith is illegal. Thus, a few years ago when this man was caught having the Mass celebrated in his house, the police took him into custody and began to torture him, using a 9 million volt cattle prod on the most sensitive parts of his body for days on end, and demanding that he tell them where the priest who celebrated mass for him was. But the man would not relent, he was determined to keep the priest’s identity a secret so that the members of his community would continue to have the Sacraments. And so after almost a month of being brutally tortured, once they realized they could not break him, the police let the man go. He returned to his village a hero: the man who was willing to die so that the others could continue to receive the Lord. Soon after his return, this man and his family escaped from China and moved to the United States, and full of joy and gratitude, the man and his family started to attend daily mass, Sunday mass, the Sacraments, they were so excited to be living as Catholic’s in freedom! But as this man learned what it meant to be a Catholic in America, he also learned what it meant to be successful in America and so he decided to start making sacrifices to make it possible for him to spend more time working and providing for his family. At first he sacrificed daily Mass. Then Sunday Mass. After a couple years, the man found himself only going to Mass on Christmas and Easter. But as time passed even that seemed unnecessary to him and, eventually, he stopped going to Mass completely.
I share it with you so that might consider this: what communism, torture, and 9 million volt cattle prods were unable to do to this man our culture was able to do and it didn’t even have to try.
The culture we live in tells us to be ourselves first, to seek out the “American Dream” (whatever that looks like for you), and then you will be truly happy. But in today’s Gospel, Jesus shares with us a different message: “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” This idea of sacrificing one’s life, or even just making sacrifices in one’s life, for the Lord is one that is foreign to the culture that we live in. But today the Lord is telling us that even if we were to achieve and acquire everything and anything we had ever desired, without Christ, we will never be satisfied.
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.
How much are you willing to sacrifice for God? Is God a priority in your life?
How has sacrifice led you closer to God?
What is one way you can make Christ a priority in my life this week in the midst of my busy schedule?
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.
"Pick up your cross."
"You give life."
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?
Make God a priority today. Take up your cross and follow Him by finding something today to sacrifice in order to make more time for him.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.
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