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).
“Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.”
Often times the way that Satan tries to devour us is by isolating us, or at least having us think we are isolated. “I am the only person going through this.” “Nobody else has it as bad as me.” “It may be easy for this or that person to stay away from this sin, but they don’t have the life I have.” These are the whispers that Satan places in our head, and I myself have fallen victim to them many times in my life. We think we are alone in our struggle against sin, alone in our suffering, and we get discouraged and are tempted to despair and give up and give into sin.
I think we are not so much afraid of suffering as we are of suffering alone. Think about it, running 100 yard sprints for 15-20 minutes after a long practice sounds miserable, maybe impossible. Yet if you have 25 teammates around you, suffering alongside you, in the middle of it with you, you are somehow able to get through it no matter how hard it may seem. Having company makes the struggle worth it, makes the suffering more bearable, especially when you can laugh about it together.
So, whatever temptation or darkness or doubt you may be going through, I assure you that no matter how specific it may seem, somebody, somewhere in the world, is going through it too. You have a christian brother or sister somewhere in the world undergoing the same suffering. Suffering alongside you. With you. You can take comfort in that truth. Perhaps there is even somebody close to you struggling with something similar, and they too think they are alone. They too are subject to the isolating whispers of the Enemy. All it takes is one of you having the courage to be vulnerable and share about your struggle so that you can console each other and stand firm together. If you feel like you are alone in your suffering or struggle, try sharing a current struggle with a trusted friend or two so that even if they are not going through the same struggle as you, they can at least stand with you in it and you can stand with them in theirs. A threefold cord is hard to break.
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 sin or suffering are you struggling with right now? This is often tough to think about, but don't be afraid to be honest with yourself and God.
Who is walking alongside you in your suffering? Who can you reach out to?
How can you reach out to and help those who you know are suffering?
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 am not alone."
"Remain steadfast in faith."
"The Cross has the final word."
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?
The word "compassion" literally means "to suffer with." In compassion, each out to someone you know is going through a tough time right now.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Austin Ashcraft, a graduate student in New Orleans.
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