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).
As I was praying with the Gospel for today, the image of Jesus being the gate stuck out to me. Maybe it stuck out to me because I remember being a middle schooler who wanted to jump the fence with all of my friends because it was cool but had to use the gate because I kept falling when jumping the fence. Or maybe I was drawn to the gate because I remembered the retreat in college where we were at an actual sheep farm and my friends opened the wrong gate and all of a sudden the sheep were all out of the fenced in area and we had to shepherd them back where they were supposed to be (quite frantically, I might add).
Probably, though, it was because the gate is such a perfect image to help me focus on my relationship with the Lord. I know from experience that I am not yet the person that Christ has created me to be; I have not been stripped of my imperfections and I have not learned to love selflessly yet. I know that, often times, I am a sheep stuck following the crowd and not getting where I need to go.
Other times, I am the sheep who tries to find my own gate to get to the place I long to be. Maybe, I think, if I work extra hard and people notice how good I am, I'll be who I want to be. Or, I think, maybe if I just make sure I look cool and the people who I look to as people I want to look like and be liked by compliment me than I can finally be who I want to be. One more time, I might think, I'll just try this quick thing that in the past hasn't actually worked to make me happy and I know it's a sin but I'm going to try it one more time, and maybe this time it'll work.
The list could go on, but the reality is always the same: we get coaxed through gates and we make our own gates and we think we can get to happiness on our own but instead we end up empty and not any closer to where we want to be. Then, Jesus comes on the scene, He breaks into our lives, and He tells us that there is a Gate, one way to get to the Father and to be saved, and the gate is Him. If I seek Him, not a bunch of other things with Him in the mix but first and foremost Him, then I'll find the gate that leads me to true peace, true happiness, and the true end for which I'm made.
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.
What gates are you trying to pass through?
What direction is Jesus, the true gate, calling you?
Are those the same thing? Or are you trying to make your own way and find your own happiness?
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.
"You are the gate."
"You are the way."
"I want to follow 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?
Shut any gates that are not leading you closer to God, and seek only Jesus, the true gate.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.
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