STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
he endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
When I was going into my junior year of high school, I attended World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany. To be honest, when my youth minister Patti invited me to go all I heard was trip to Europe!!! Rome! Assisi! All that spiritual stuff was there too, but whatever, I could go to Rome!
But that trip changed my life. It wasn't that my faith wasn't important to me, or that I wasn't a practicing Catholic, my family went to Mass every Sunday, but my faith wasn't my own. My faith was just something I went through the motions on. I didn't know Jesus.
It was during that pilgrimage that my life was radically changed. At the end of World Youth Day, all the pilgrims go to a large gathering space for the actual World Youth Day celebration. That year we took a train out to what felt like the middle of no-where Germany and then had to walk to this farm field where the closing Mass would be taking place.
The evening before the closing Mass is spent in adoration of the Eucharist with the pope. I'm sure I had gone to adoration before. At that point I had gone to Catholic school for 10 years, but that adoration was different for me.
I was surrounded by a whole cloud of witnesses. Witness that were my friends I had made on our two week trip from my Church. The witness of a million youth I did not know from all around the world. Everyone was singing and praising our Lord.
As I looked at all these witnesses, people who were truly living what it meant to be Catholic, I was overwhelmed. They were filled with so much peace and so much joy. I knew they had something I didn't have. But I knew I wanted it.
What they had was a personal relationship with Jesus. Their faith wasn't just about Sunday Mass, it was about knowing that they were so loved by God, that He sent His only son to die for us, so that we might have eternal life with Him.
The witnesses that knew that and embraced it had so much more than I had that day. (Even though we were all in a field, freezing in one of the coldest nights Germany ever had in the summer.) they had a wealth, a warmth and a joy that's hard even 11 years later to put into words. But watching their witness changed my life.
Sometimes, I think we lose sight of the joy that comes with living the Christian life. We lose our sense of peace and wonder that Christ died for us. We become over run by our world, what we think we need to be doing and feeling.
We need to get back to those moments of joy. Those moments of joy serve as great witness to the world about what it means to be Christian, what it means to be Catholic.
Who is your cloud of witnesses? It can be amazing saints. St. Maria Goretti, St. John Paul II, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. They are all there as witnesses of joy. It can be friends or people from your peer ministry team or discipleship group that you look up to. It can be people you don't know but see in daily Mass or adoration. These people are all witnesses you should be leading you closer to Christ. Find your witnesses, keep them close. Look to them to help you better understand where God is calling you in your faith.
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
"Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus."
Who do you look up to in your faith?
When you are feeling alone in your faith, who do you turn to?
How can you live as a witness to your faith?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
“Today’s world stands in great need of witnesses, not so much of teachers but rather of witnesses. It’s not so much about speaking, but rather speaking with our whole lives.” -Pope Francis
"Thank you for those who have helped me grow in faith."
"Thank you Jesus for dying for me."
"Help me be a witness."
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
Make a list of the people who inspire your faith. If it is someone you know, let them know how they have impacted you. Keep the list close so you can look at it in moments of struggles.
SMARTPHONE LOCK SCREEN
Today's prayer was prepared by Lisa Kendzior.