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’s something you’re struggling with.
Maybe it’s something you’ve struggled with for years. Maybe this time, it’s something new. But you’re struggling with something, whether you know it or not.
Maybe it’s something you deem as “not crucial”, something everyone has a hard time with and therefore it’s “less” of a problem in your mind. Things like not praying and gossiping about others might fall into this category.
Or maybe you know it’s a problem, and that itself scares you, because you know there’s something keeping you from God and you can’t seem to get rid of it.
Before you get overwhelmed, look at the first reading again.
“Return, rebellious children”.
God knows what you’re struggling with. He knows the things you won’t talk to Him about, the things you won’t pray about. He sees where we fail. He knows our human nature, our habits of sinning and rebelling against Him. He sees where we struggle.
But look at the third word.
No matter what you’re struggling with, how hard you’ve rebelled from God, notice how He still calls you His child. His beloved Child, the one He would do anything for if it meant the possibility of winning your attention. You’re His child, the one who brings a smile to the face of God Himself. You’re His child, and He loves you. That’s why He’s calling you out of your sin, out of your struggles, to return to the God who loves you above everything else. God calls His children home to Him because He knows that anything outside of Him won’t have the ability to fulfill us in the way that a relationship with God will.
Of course, God isn’t calling you to do this alone.
Read further. God promises to give us mentors and guides and friends, shepherds after God’s own heart to help us, to laugh with us, to fight with us, and to love us. Notice how the reading ends as well. According to this reading, all the rebellious children need to do is return to God and He’ll do all the rest. He’ll provide people after His own heart to love us and care for us as He does, He’ll help you grow and thrive, He’ll even remove the need for an ark of the covenant, a sign of God’s promise to His people; God will be so close that a reminder of Him won’t be necessary.
Regardless of what you’re struggling with, use the first reading today as encouragement from God to keep fighting, to keep turning back to Him, no matter how many times it takes,
You’re struggling, but God isn’t mad at you. He loves you; after all, you’re His child. All He wants is to see you close to His side, living His will which is better for you than any alternative you can come up with.
Please, talk to Him about what you’re struggling with, and don’t be afraid to be honest with Him. Are you angry at Him? Are you upset with Him? Are you unsure what sin you’re struggling with in the first place? Tell Him; He’s a big boy, He can handle it. And, if it’s prudent, don’t be afraid to talk to others as well. God gave us friends, family, and mentors for a reason, and we shouldn’t be afraid to use them and to let them love us when we need it.
Talk to God, ask for His help, and trust that He will do the rest.
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 angry at God? Are you upset with Him?
Are you unsure what sin you’re struggling with in the first place?
Are you willing to share it all with God? The good, the bad, and even the ugly?
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 trust you Lord."
"I love you Lord."
"I want to be with 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?
Spend time today thinking about the areas where you struggle the most. Consider how the small things you struggle with can make a big difference in your relationship with Christ. Go to Confession for these sins, talk with someone for Spiritual Guidance, ask a friend to help keep you accountable in your relationship with the Lord.
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Tatiana Schaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Engineering and Psychology.
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