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).
Today we hear one of the earliest examples of Christian preaching and it come from the mouth of St. Paul while he is talking to the Jewish community in Antioch. When he arrives, the people ask him if he has a word of encouragement or a word of salvation. This phrase is fascinating in that it indicates they saw Paul as someone worth listening to and also who might have for them a word that would make them better because it contained wisdom.
In the Christian tradition, the first monks were called the desert fathers and mothers. They lived in the desert in Egypt and were known for great lives of prayer, asceticism, and also wisdom. When these desert mothers and fathers would visit each other, they would often greet each other with the phrase “abba, a word of salvation!” By this they meant they wanted something from the other wise man or woman that would help them grow closer to God. Once they had this word of wisdom about the Christian life, they would go away and try and put it into practice so as to grow closer to Christ.
In today’s reading, Paul is asked just such a question – does he have a word of encouragement. Paul, however, responds that it is more than a word of encouragement that he is offering: “to us this word of salvation has been sent.” Paul is going to offer to them a word of salvation, meaning Jesus Christ. This conviction, that he is a bearing of such a great gift, grounds Paul’s boldness in speaking up and speaking out about Jesus Christ. Paul’s preaching will result in the Lord stirring up new converts to the faith, and a strong Christian community in Antioch.
These readings might cause us to reflect upon where we go when we need a word of encouragement or salvation? Who do we consult for wisdom in our life? Further, these readings ask us to think about what we would say if someone came up to us and asked, “for a word of encouragement or salvation?” We are all called, as Christians, to be “his witnesses before the people” and to “proclaim the good news ourselves” as our readings tell us. What would we say to someone if we were asked? How would we share something about our life with Christ with them?
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 would we say to someone if we were asked?
How would we share something about our life with Christ with them?
Do you need something more before sharing the Gospel of a Word of Encouragement? If so, what? And How will you find that?
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.
"I love you Lord."
"I want to share your love with the world."
"Help me proclaim your love."
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?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Today’s prayer was prepared by Jon Polce, SJ.
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.
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