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
Has anyone seen the preview for that new movie coming out called Passengers? I can't recommend the movie at all because I haven't seen it and have no idea if the content of it is going to be appropriate or anything like that. But the trailer and the concept of the move, look SO COOL! The basic premise is that some 5,000 people are put to sleep on a spaceship which is going to travel for 120 years to a distant colony where they'll wake up and all live in this new place together. Two of the passengers (get the title?) wake up 90 years early (these are our main characters, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt) and the movie looks like an intense story about them trying to survive.
Space movies are fun because there is something big and vast and mostly unknown to us out there and it would be a crazy big adventure to go out and see it. Even though space is certainly dangerous for those who travel there, most of us would probably go if we were given the chance - or we'd at least be strongly tempted to. As our modern science and understanding of the universe increases, we learn more and more incredible facts about what is out there, and it gives us a more and more clear picture of how incredible our world is.
In the same way, we are learning more and more through science about the things that make us who we are. As we study genetics and the biological make-up of persons, we can see the specific genetic codes that lead to this trait or that disease and we can learn more about how to help people who are effected by a biological issue.
These developments are so good. They help us help people, they let us know about our world, and in all of it we can improve the quality of life for people and in doing so improve our world.
Of course, in the midst of all it, there's always a danger as we advance in our knowledge. Pope Benedict XVI, in talking about our developments in human genetics in his book Jesus of Nazareth, put it this way: "Hand in hand with growing knowledge of functional truth there seems to be an increasing blindness toward 'truth' itself--toward the question of our real identity & purpose."
In today's Gospel, Jesus is looking at a very similar question as people are coming to Him for teaching. He warns the people to beware of the Pharisees, the "smart" leaders who have all of the answers and the power and are explaining to people what it supposedly takes to be the best. Instead, Jesus says, what is important for us to know is that even the hairs of head are numbered. To God, we aren't just a function of how much we can advance scientific knowledge in our world or how successful we can be. No, to our Father in heaven we are precious children who He cares about so deeply that He can even count the individual hairs on our head.
In describing prayer, a friend of mine once talked about prayer as being like a little child, held in the arms of their father, whose hearts start to beat in unison. For us to learn our true identity and our true purpose, we don't need to take a trip to the farthest parts of the galaxy or study the intricacies of our genetic code; we simply need to let our heart beat in unison with the heart of our Father. Jesus made sure we knew that, in the eyes of the Father, we are infinitely valuable; let's come to prayer with that in mind today.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
Are you searching for truth? Where do you turn? Where do you see God?
What do you place your value in? In science? In people? In God?
You are valued by God. Pray for an increased understanding of your worth.
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"God knows all the hairs on my head."
"Show me my purpose."
"Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering." - St. Augustine
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?
Today, spend some time looking at yourself in the mirror. Try to see yourself as God sees you. Write down five things God loves about you.
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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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