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).
In today's First Reading, Joshua and the Israelites have what is a pretty fascinating exchange. Joshua begins with one of the more famous Old Testament sayings in telling the people that they're free to serve whatever god it is they'd like, but he and his house will serve the Lord. The people respond quickly and emphatically: of course we'll serve the Lord! Only the Lord will we serve.
What a beautiful response.
The funny part about it is that, just a few verses later, when they've gone back and forth on this point, Joshua basically tells the people: "okay fine. Just go ahead and stop serving all those other gods then." The people had other gods that they kept with them just in case it turned out that the Lord wasn't good enough for them, but were still willing to say with their mouths that they'd serve the Lord.
To you and I this might sound crazy, but so very often it's exactly what we do. We tell God with our voice and our time at Mass that we'll serve him. We may even publicly declare in front of friends and family that we love God; and yet, when we're alone, or when no one is looking, or when the only people looking are people who aren't worried about how well we're living our faith, we act in a totally different way. We say we're disciples, but then, when we think it's hidden or we let our guard down or we get tempted once more, we find ourselves living as anything but disciples.
For the Israelites, the temptation was another god who they could worship in times of need, just in case the Lord didn't listen to them. For you and I, what is it? Our phone? People liking us? Something that we're doing with a group of friends or a certain friend that we wouldn't want public? The thoughts we have about others that are mean, judgmental, or inappropriate?
Whatever the sin or situation is, the reality is this: God doesn't want part of us. He wants the whole thing – not because he is harsh or mean, but because he knows that the only way we can truly be fulfilled is to give him our whole heart. Today, let's respond with our whole heart in worship and let God be the Lord of every part of our lives. Let's get rid of those false gods, and turn our entire life over to worship the Lord.
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 parts of your life are often hidden from God?
When was the last time you went to confession in order to turn your sins over to God? Do you have anything you need to make time today or in the very near future to go to confession for?
How can you actively invite God into every area of your life today, this week, and then eventually for the rest of your life?
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.
"My heart is yours."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"Come, Holy Spirit."
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?
Take some time today to make a good examination of conscience – how have you served God lately? Is there anything you've been putting before him? Turn these things over to him, and, if it has been a while or if you're in a state of mortal sin, find a time to get to confession.
Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald, Executive Director of Carpe Verbum.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.