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).
It’s no secret that the Church is hurting right now. The most recent scandals just seem to keep pouring out, one on top of the other. If you’re anything like me you’re starting to feel it more and more and the temptation to despair and doubt is creeping (or pouring) in. It’s not easy to be a Catholic man or woman today in the midst of this craziness- having the faith to continue to trust in a Church who’s shepherds have acted so poorly is no easy task. But it never fails to astound me to see the wisdom of the Church and the Holy Spirit moving so perfectly through her.
Today’s first reading from St. Paul is a firm reminder of the action of the Spirit moving through her Church. St. Paul gives us a firm reminder that there will be trouble, confusion, and persecution in the life of the Church. Not only will this persecution come, but it will cause us to doubt, despair, and grow weary. But the words of St. Paul couldn’t come at a better time, no doubt a working of God’s Spirit and wisdom in the Church today.
Today St. Paul calls you to stand firm and hold fast to the traditions you have been taught. This is the duty each of us has as baptized men and women of the Body of Christ. We have to stand firm in the faith of the Church: her traditions, her wisdom, her perfection. It isn’t a perfection born of perfect people, quite the contrary. The Church is full of broken men and women who are only able to be members of the Body because of God’s perfect and all-knowing Spirit. We have to stand firm in our faith in God’s promise that the Church will be a light to the nations, the perfect Bride of Christ who will lead us to holiness and eternal life, in Christ Jesus. We have to stand firm in knowing that though the Church is made up of sinners, she Herself is ever perfected by the Holy Spirit. Now is a time where doubt and despair are easy to give in to, but we are called to be firm in the everlasting encouragement that God gives us to strengthen our hearts. Be firm, stand with your Mother, the Church, and seek to renew her with the grace and love of the Holy Spirit that has been poured into your heart.
Today is a day when we have to echo the words we hear at every Mass, “Look not on our sins but upon the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live forever and ever. Amen.”
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.
Am I doubting in the Church or in her members? How so?
How can I stand firm with the Church and continue to seek to grow in relationship with Jesus?
What ways am I fighting to uphold the Church and all that she stands for?
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.
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"Lord, have mercy."
"Look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church."
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, as an act of penance for the hurt that has been committed by members of our Church, choose to fast for the victims and all who are doubting. Stand in solidarity and intercede on their behalf.
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Adam Smyth, the Life Teen Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Woodlands, TX.
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