Step #1: Lectio / Read
2 Timothy 2:8-15
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.
Remind people of these things
and charge them before God to stop disputing about words.
This serves no useful purpose since it harms those who listen.
Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God,
a workman who causes no disgrace,
imparting the word of truth without deviation.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
When we read the Scriptures, it is important to reflect how what we're reading was meant to be read so that we understand it correctly, since the Bible is not one book, but a combination books of different genres written for different audiences.
Today's reading is from 2 Timothy, which means it is a selection from the Second Letter that St. Paul wrote to his friend St. Timothy. In 1 Timothy, we hear that Paul has asked Timothy to stay in Ephesus, one of the cities they visited while Timothy was traveling with Paul, in order to teach the people there. In 2 Timothy, we learn that Paul knew Timothy's mother and grandmother, and so we can be sure that they were good friends.
In the selection we hear from today, we hear an encouragement from Paul to Timothy in the midst of the difficulties of day-to-day life which Timothy is experiencing. Ephesus, where he is teaching, is filled with people who are distorting the true message of Jesus Christ for their own purposes, and Paul wants to be sure that Timothy is encouraged and continues to have the boldness to share with others the true Gospel, the authentic Good News of Jesus.
In part of this, we hear a saying (the part that is written in short stanzas above) which, in many ways, summarizes many of the key aspects of the Gospel for us. The key parts of that saying can be broken down into the following ideas:
The final point is and incredibly joyful and hopeful point for all of us who are disciples, and the key to understand this reading.
The truth, for each of us, is that despite our best efforts we find ourselves constantly being unfaithful to Christ; we sin, we forget Him, we neglect our prayer, and we make mistakes. Instead of turning away from us, as He could, Paul tells us God is still faithful to us.
In the context, it seems, Paul is encouraging Timothy to give God everything; if he is willing to even give to God the times when He is unfaithful, he will see that God is always faithful. Paul doesn't scold Timothy for his mistakes; he simply reminds him of the Gospel, the Good News, and encourages Him by that Gospel.
Before you go on in your day, go back and read that letter from Paul to Timothy. In the beginning, though, place your name where it says beloved; read this letter as written to you, and realize that, no matter what, God is faithful, even in the very depth of your unfaithfulness. Give God your everything, including your unfaithfulness, and watch Him remain faithful to you.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
"If we have died with him we shall also live with him;
if we persevere we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself."
What are some of the areas you've been unfaithful? Take some time and examine your conscience, inviting God into those hurts and sins.
What are the challenges you're facing today? How can you work on your faithfulness to God in those things?
How can you be sure to remind the people in your life of the Gospel of Christ?
Step #4: Contemplatio / contempation
He remains faithful.
If we persevere we shall also reign.
If we have died with him we shall also live with Him.
For the Rest of Your Day...
Take time once or twice more today and examine how your day is going. When you realize you've messed up, invite God into your unfaithfulness.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald.