Step #1: Lectio / Read
At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
I'm awful at goodbyes.
The unknown that comes, and the sorrow that it holds when you are away from the people you love.
St. Paul knew very well of this sorrow, too. He built a strong relationship with the Ephesians, but the Holy Spirit called him to leave for Pentecost in Jerusalem. Shortly before our reading, St. Paul speaks of not knowing what will befall him there, but he does know that the Holy Spirit will be there along every step of the way. His words speak of encouragement, reminding the elders of the strength in which Christ brings them through His blood. He reminded them that the Holy Spirit would be with them, even if he is not there. I think God gave him the ability to affirm others as a true strength.
Let us take St. Paul's words to heart. Yes, transitions are extremely difficult and sometimes filled with sorrow. Let us remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit will always be with us, especially with the upcoming feast of Pentecost. St. Paul reminds us that there will be true wolves that come among us, and we must be alert against them. So many things could take us away from the love of Christ, but if we remember that we are girded with the strength and love of the Holy Spirit, we can be aware and at peace. God's grace was not only reserved for the bishops St. Paul was speaking to; God wants to pour it down upon our lives too!
Step #3: ORATIO / PRAY
What are some "wolves" in your life that could take you away from the Lord? How can you work on overcoming them?
How can I better trust the Lord in whatever I am going through right now?
How can I affirm a loved one today?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"Jesus, come into my heart. "
"Make me courageous like St. Paul."
"More blessed to give than receive."
"I am worthy of God's love and grace."
For the Rest of Your Day...
Remind yourself that through whatever challenge or transition you are going through, Christ will ALWAYS be on the other side. He is pulling you through with His love.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Sarah Lundgren.