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 never truly embraced Lent until recent years. Growing up I kind of dreaded Lent because it meant “no fun” for 40 long days. My fasting looked more like a pendulum of being committed to giving up TV or sweets, but on tough days I would swing down and fast from only one show and only vanilla sweets. I justified my intentions constantly, not wanting to find myself powering through and practicing self control. I thought God would probably forget if I stuck to my Lenten sacrifices anyway. I mean as long as I was letting other people see that I was amazing at fasting then I’m sure the Lord would be pleased with that too….right?!
In our Mass readings for this last day of Ordinary Time we are exhorted to not just grumble going into Lent, but to remember that if we offer our sacrifices with pure intentions- they are never overlooked. In the first reading we hear from Sirach that, “the just one's sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten.” When we read this we are reminded that no matter the size of our sacrifices, the Lord does not discredit our efforts. He does not forget the tiny ways that we move towards making a habit of praying throughout our day. Like I said, I thought the Lord would forget the small ways I would fast, or the ways I would break my fast! How amazing to know that He pays attention to all the details of our Lenten journey. Rest assured of these peaceful words, “For the LORD is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold.” (Sirach 35:10) In other words, the Lord is not in the business of grazing past our offerings without gratitude. We have a Heavenly Father who is pleased that we would want to offer our comforts to be united to His Son’s Eternal Sacrifice for us.
Whether we have grand plans to fast in extreme ways this Lent, or we simply are praying for five more minutes each day- the Lord does not keep some kind of scoreboard. Rather, He knows the intentions of our hearts as we offer up our comforts. He understands that it is challenging to refocus and to depend on Him for everything, but our sacrifices, done in humility, are never forgotten. They are treasured, cherished, and noticed by Christ.
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.
What are some of the little ways I turn back to God that I don't often think matter?
How can I commit myself to depend more on God and not the comforts of my life?
What are some things I can sacrifice this Lent that are hidden from others and just between God and I?
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.
"My heart is yours."
"Help me trust in you."
"You are all that matters."
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?
Sit down today and make a list of what your Lent is going to look like. Be sure to commit to a fast, a prayer commitment, and a prayer intention for your sacrifices this Lent. Writing it down makes it concrete- so don't be afraid to commit!
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Today's prayer was prepared by Katy Praetzel, a worship leader in Pittsburgh, PA.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.
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