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).
Naming a baby is a big deal. I mean there are tons of baby name books around, and new parents spend hours going back and forth sharing name ideas. My husband and I just recently had twin girls. It was such a difficult task figuring out names for each of them. We had two names picked out, but then we had to decide which name went with which baby girl! Needless to say, they went nameless for about 15 hours. And even after we decided, we worried if we had made the right decision. Names are said over and over again in our lifetimes, and they are part of us. They are part of our story. One of the names we chose for our daughter was after St. Therese's mother-St. Zellie. I had a strong calling to name her after such an amazing saint, but I hesitated because it was different. I was worried that people would wonder where did such a name came from? There was no one in my family with that name and most people have never heard it. But my husband and I felt called to the name and the saint so we went with it. And yes, people wondered where it came from and have called her all sorts of weird versions of the name, but it is good.
When I read this Gospel, I could feel that tension in the room. When Elizabeth says that the baby is to be called John. I bet the women in that room had whip lash from turning around and saying, "What now?!" This wonderful couple had finally been blessed with a child after so many years, and they were not going to name him after the father. What? That goes against every naming rule at that time. But remember, names are a big deal. Names mean something. The Lord had a plan for John. He was set apart even before he was born. The Lord set him apart because He had a distinct plan for His life. It was also surprising for Elizabeth to speak up like that. Women at the time were not often so bold as this. And then when Zechariah spoke and agreed with her, man, I bet the whole room had to pick their jaws up off the floor. I love how to Gospel says, "What then will this child be for surely the hand of God was with him." They witnessed the mouth of Zechariah being opened and proclaiming God's plan. So cool!
I often wonder why Luke chose to write about this particular scene. But then I'm just reminded that names are important. John was set apart and called by name. My little Zellie, perhaps, will be set apart because of her name. Maybe her name will be a witness to the world. Who knows? The story is just beginning for her, and the story of John's work for the kingdom of God is glorious.
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.
Names are a big deal. God called you by your name at your baptism. How does it feel to know that God knows your name?
How has the Lord set you apart? What is God's mission for you?
How do you define yourself? What is your deepest identity?
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.
"The Lord has called me."
"God has chosen me."
"God knows me."
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 some time in prayer reflecting on your name, that God knows your name and your identity as His child. Ask God what His mission for you today is.
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Today's Prayer was prepared by Megan Kramer, a parishioner at St. Mary's Parish in Huntley, IL.
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