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).
“They will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." Jerusalem had been ignoring the warning signs for a long time, and it is about to get very costly.
Each person is completely unique and has particular gifts and skills that they bring to the world. For myself, attention to detail is not one of those gifts.
I’m not particularly forgetful, clumsy, or absent-minded, but I let me phone battery suddenly die on the daily simply because I wasn’t paying close attention. At my worst, I’ve even found myself stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in Northern Canada because I let my car run out of gas (thankfully it was during the summer!) I don’t have the memory of a goldfish, but the truth is I just don’t tend to pay close attention to the warning signs that are meant to alert me that something isn’t quite right.
For Jerusalem, the warning signs that they have been missing were more significant than a simple gas gauge. For generations the Israelites awaited the Messiah who would free them from the Romans, but when Jesus came he defied all their expectations.
In today’s Gospel, we find Jesus weeping over Jerusalem because he knows that it will eventually be conquered and destroyed. However, physical conquer isn’t what bothers him. Jesus is brokenhearted about the lack of faith that Jerusalem had. For thousands of years God has been leading them, offering them forgiveness, hinting towards the coming Messiah, encouraging them to remain faithful in persecution, and giving them all the warning signs that they needed to know that the way they’re currently living is leading to decay and destruction if something doesn’t change.
When I read the Gospel today I don’t think about ancient Jerusalem, I think about my own heart. All of us can become tired, bogged down, discouraged, and off-track. What are the “warning signs” in my own soul that I have lost my way? Sometimes my prayer isn’t as consistent as it used to be, or I lose my temper or become frustrated easily. Other times, I catch myself in acts of selfishness and blowing off the people around me who need my help. Those are all warning signs. Anytime my conscience is trying to get through to me to steer my back to the straight and narrow, it’s a warning sign I need to pay attention to.
Mother Theresa once felt Jesus saying to her, “When you give Me your sins, you give Me the joy of being your Savior.” We don’t have to crumble and fall like the city of Jerusalem. We can give everything - all our sins, weaknesses, anxieties, brokenness - to Jesus and allow him to heal us, save us, and restore life to us.
Don’t ignore the warning signs! Don’t shove them down and bury them away; shove them into the arms of mercy, into the arms of love, into the arms of Jesus.
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 are the “warning signs” in your own soul that you have lost your way or strayed from God?
What sins or aspects of your life are you holding back from God?
How can you fully open your heart to God and offer Him the warning signs, asking for His mercy?
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.
"Lead me, Lord."
"Show me the way."
"You are my God."
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, journal or meditate on the warning signs in your own life. How are you straying from God and the way to eternal life? Then offer to God these warning signs in prayer, asking for His mercy and grace.
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Today's Prayer was prepared by Chris O'Hara, an evangelist in Canada.
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