Step #1: Lectio / Read
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Today's reading, which comes from St. Paul's letter to the Galatians, is very interesting in its timing for our nation and our world. Right now, with everything that is going on in our country, there is a lot of pain, and a lot of hurt, and this reading from St. Paul can truly speak into that pain which many are feeling.
This reading is important because it calls us to unity with our brothers and sisters, to not see black or white, Jew or Greek, but instead to see the unity we have in being clothed with Christ. We are called to live in a community with those who, like us, are on this journey of Christian life, learning what it means to truly be heirs to Christ's promise. In being one in Him, we can now put aside the tension and actually love each other in this community of believers in Jesus Christ. Seeing all of the pain and suffering that we have allowed to divide us in so many ways in our world on the one hand, but then listening to St. Paul on the other, we can now be reminded that we do not have to sit still and watch out world tear itself apart. We have such an opportunity as this year of mercy is nearing its close to perform such acts of mercy that we become saints who live in a true community of believers in Christ!
WE CAN DO IT. If you believe that just because you can only do small things, or only make a tiny difference, that the acts of love in front of you are not worth pursuing, then look to the example of the little flower, whose feast day we celebrated one week ago, to learn that those small things can truly change the world. St. Therese of Lisieux, who was a Carmelite nun in the late 19th century, lived what she called the "little way", which was to love the Lord each day in small acts done with great love. In living this way, she became a great saint and a Doctor of the Church who, although she died at the age of 24, never having left France, is known all around the world today, and is the Patron saint of missionaries. She is revered and looked to not because of grand actions, but because she simply chose to do these little acts of love towards those around her each day, all for her love of Jesus.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, please keep performing little acts of love. In doing these small acts of love for people each day, you will begin to see that great things will happen! Don't wait, but instead start this week by focusing on small acts of love that you can do each day and take the moments you are given to do them out of your love for Jesus. In this way, you will learn, as St. Paul said in today's reading from the Letter to the Galatians, to truly be one in Jesus Christ with all of those who, like you, have been baptized into Christ and now live in Him.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
What is some of the hurt, the pain, and the division you see in the world around you today? In what ways is the Lord calling you to work for unity and healing in the lives of those you see suffering?
Think of your day. Who are some of the people you interact with? Which ones are easy to love, which ones are harder? How can you do small things to love each of those people a little bit this week?
Do you ever feel like being a saint is too hard for you? What are the small things you can start doing, right now, to imitate the "little way" of St. Therese and love Jesus in small moments and little acts?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"Jesus, I love you."
"Help me love."
"Teach me the little way."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Practice the "little way" of St. Therese. Look ahead to the next day and the next week, and in them pick out some key moments when you know you can love the Lord in small things that will happen. Then, start today by doing those things and watching the Lord begin to make you into a saint and change the world through you.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Ron Nakis, a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville studying Theology and Catechetics.
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