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).
Today’s Gospel reading is rich with relevance and importance. I’m confident that you could find the vast majority of the Gospel themes in just these fifteen verses alone. But what captures my attention as I reflect on this passage today is the theme of thanksgiving.
Now I have to be honest, for the better part of my life I thought of thanksgiving as a thing I was supposed to really focus on once a year (specifically in the month of November), but was mostly just meant to be an afterthought, a practice I got around to if I felt I had the time. But over the past couple years, my understanding of thanksgiving has completely shifted. It’s become less of a general theme that I felt obligated to uphold and more of a practical reality that has drawn me into a deeper understanding of God’s love for me.
But what strikes me in today’s passage is that Christ shows us that thanksgiving precedes the miracle. Did you catch that? The Gospel author tells us that “Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining” (v.11). Thanksgiving was the key, the catalyst through which Christ’s miracle came to fruition. Thanksgiving precedes the miracle.
Now this general theme of thanksgiving might be all nice and dandy but let’s take a couple moments to get practical. Where in our lives can we come face to face with the reality that thanksgiving precedes the miracle?
Well I’m so glad you asked, because this might actually be the best part. You see, the Church, in Her wisdom, offers us an opportunity to get up close and personal with this truth each and everyday. Here’s a little bit of background info for you. (Warning: slightly nerdy but excessively useful information ahead.) So the word thanksgiving actually comes from the greek word eucharisteo (meaning to be grateful or to give thanks). Sound familiar? Well shockingly enough, eucharisteo is the root from which we get the word, Eucharist (which we as Catholics believe is the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ). And where can we find the Eucharist daily? In the Sacred Liturgy, during which the priest (you guessed it) gives thanks on behalf of the whole congregation before speaking the words of consecration over the host. Thanksgiving precedes the miracle.
It’s so easy to believe that miracles are reserved for those who lived and walked with Christ on earth. But the reality is that we have the opportunity, not just to be witnesses to, but to be a part of the greatest miracle in history each and every day. Thanksgiving precedes the miracle.
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.
Do I practice gratitude and thanksgiving every day for the many blessings and miracles in my life?
Do I look for the miracle at Mass or am I concerned with whether the homily was boring or if i liked the music?
Do I create a habit of thanksgiving by saying "thank you" to those around me and to the Lord for the ways they serve me and make my life better?
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 have so many things to be grateful for."
"I am thankful."
"I am grateful."
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?
Begin a habit of gratitude and thanksgiving today by writing down at least five things you are grateful for. Repeat this every day for a week to stretch your gratitude muscles and be more aware of the miracles around you!
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.
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