Step #1: Lectio / Read
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).
“Faith is victory over the world.”
This beautiful divine announcement precedes the words we read from St. John in today’s second reading and are the title heading in the NAB translation for this passage. As we enter into this second Sunday of Easter, indeed we can join John with great joy and proclaim that in spite of anything that might be thrown against us, faith is victory over the world; everyone who has faith, “who believes that Jesus is the Christ, is begotten by God.”
Today we celebrate a very special day in the Catholic Church known as Divine Mercy Sunday, which requires us to reflect on the meaning of mercy and how Jesus Himself most of all has been merciful to us. By faith we are begotten by God, and this is because of what Jesus has done for us on the Cross. Even though we were still sinners, Christ died for us and gave His life in expiation for our sins because of His great love for us. By the mercy and love of Jesus, we are given a share in His life, a life and fulfillment we do not deserve, but nonetheless are freely given by God. Far from being something to lament or feel guilty about, this is a great joy that the Lord has given us and something that we must celebrate: in spite of our weakness, God is perfectly strong and never ceases to draw us close to Himself and give us everything we need to follow Him and so to be truly happy.
We are also called to imitate Christ’s mercy and love with others (“everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him”). Think about it for a second: Jesus actually died, forsaking His own life, so that we may be free. From the greatest sinner down to the least, it was a salvific act accomplished for all. Who would we be then to believe we have the right to reserve love or mercy from anyone else, when our own Lord and Savior gave of Himself to the Pharisee and tax collector all the same? It is challenging, but we must see all of our brothers and sisters as the children of God they are and treat them with the same love and mercy Christ has shown us. This does not mean everyone has to be our best friend of course, but it does require we begin to look at every individual with the eyes of Jesus Himself, eyes of compassion, mercy, and love even in spite of their shortcomings.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, gives us the model to follow in this regard, his own papal motto being miserando atque eligendo (Latin: “lowly, but chosen”). All of us indeed are lowly, but chosen. "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us…we love because He first loved us" (1 JN 4:10,19). Today, let us humbly remember God’s great mercy and love for us and so gaze upon others in the same light. AMDG.
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 does it mean to you to reflect on the reality that, in faith, you have received the victory and salvation of the cross? How have you experienced that in this Easter season?
In what ways today does God want to reveal His great mercy to you?
How can you, being one to whom mercy has been shown, pass that mercy to those you encounter today by loving them with the heart of 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 am lowly but chosen."
"Faith is victory."
"Show me Your mercy."
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?
Today, find a way to show mercy and love in a way that is unnatural, that requires a challenge for you. Maybe it's an interaction you have at Mass or with your family where you go out of your way to encounter or serve someone, or maybe you call or reach out to a friend you've lost touch with. Show God's mercy by encountering someone today, knowing that His mercy has first been shown to you.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University and currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.