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).
Evangelization can be really difficult. I’ve heard countless, cringe-worthy stories of arguments breaking out in the middle of family dinners or at holiday parties over some of the more controversial church teachings. The people we often feel most responsible to lead to Christ are our closest family and friends because we want nothing more than to have them in heaven with us one day. But sometimes the hardest people to evangelize are the people that we love the most.
When our family and friends are not open to hearing the Good News, that does not mean that we should give up or that we have failed in the mission, given to us by Christ, to make disciples. I might not recommend telling your more obstinate friends and family, “Your blood be on your heads,” but sometimes, we do need to shake out our garments, like St. Paul, and move on to the next group that the Lord is calling us to minister to and evangelize. Moving on does not mean that you give up on your friends and family. Always continue to pray for them, but realize that the responsibility of their salvation does not fall on your shoulders. God alone has ransomed them by Christ’s death on the cross, and He is continuing to work for their good each and every day.
When discouragement comes (and it will), we can look to St. Paul’s example with hope. By authentically living out our faith, we are accomplishing far more for the Kingdom of God than we even realize. By allowing our own hearts to be continually converted, the Lord will open us up to ever greater opportunities to help Him win hearts for the Kingdom of God.
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.
Are there any loved ones that you have tried particularly hard to evangelize? Have you struggled with the feeling that their souls depend on you? Is there anyone in your life that you need to entrust to God and not to your own efforts?
Knowing that their souls are in God's hands, where/who is God calling you to today? How can you focus your gifts and talents to serve God and others according to His will?
Are you allowing yourself to be constantly converted? How can you follow St. Paul's example of faith, hope, love, and evangelization today?
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 give my life to you."
"I trust you."
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, spend time in prayer offering all your friends and family members who you have been trying to evangelize over the weeks, months, or years. Offer them up to God and ask for His help in understanding that their souls are in His hands, not on your shoulders. After entrusting your loved ones to God, spend time listening to where or what He is calling you today.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Kevin Poynton, who works for the Augustine Institute.
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