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).
Right before today’s Gospel reading, Jesus and His disciples were followed by a large crowd until Jesus, “moved with pity for them”, sat down and taught them. His disciples grew concerned at how late it was getting, especially because there were no nearby places to get food and the people needed to eat eventually. Jesus was teaching them, giving them spiritual truths about God and how to have a relationship with the Father, and the disciples were worried about something as simple as food. So what did Jesus do?
He fed them, taking time to acknowledge simple human needs rather than dismissing them for the sake of “higher” spiritual things He was currently focused on.
Jesus shows that our physical needs matter to Him, ultimately because we matter to Him. He cares about all aspects of us, including the simple human things like getting enough food and sleep. Jesus wants to take care of you, both physically and spiritually.
Looking at today’s Gospel, this message is repeated with the disciples. Jesus only meant to pass by the disciples, until He saw their reaction. They were exhausted from rowing, probably sleep-deprived, and, in the presence of what they thought was a ghost (translated literally as a phantom, a dream, or a fantasy), they were terrified. They didn’t understand what was happening and while they had no reason to be scared of Christ Himself, they absolutely were.
So Jesus sat with them. He calmed the storm and their hearts, staying with them rather than leaving them alone and wondering at what happened.
Jesus, God Himself, the Lord of the Universe, changed His course of action to meet the (very human) needs of others around Him. Going out of His way to accommodate human needs and emotions, Jesus demonstrates time and time again that every aspect of the human heart is important to Him, regardless of whether those aspects are “spiritual” or not. In this instance, Jesus entered right into the disciples’ fear. He didn’t dismiss it as unimportant, He didn’t tell them to grow up, to just believe and not to worry. He comforted them. He sat with them. He ministered to them, using their very human emotions as a means to bring them closer to Himself.
When we hear of God’s love for us, sometimes we confuse it with God loving us despite our brokenness, despite our very human nature. When we do this, we limit God and His love to areas we think it should apply, rather than to our entire beings as God intends. He doesn’t love us in spite of our humanity, but rather through and with our humanity, our imperfection, our fears, our simple needs. He acknowledges them and cares about them, giving us the model of how we are to acknowledge and care about the needs of others as well, regardless of their simplicity.
Jesus wants to be more than spiritual; He wants to have a direct relationship with us, not just parts of us. God wants to be a part of the aspects we don’t deem “important” enough for God to see, with our spiritual sides, with our physical sides, with our academic sides, with all of it.
God cares about your entire being. He cares that you’re well in all areas of your life. Let Him love you through, rather than in spite of, all of it. Nothing is too big or small for God.
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 are your physical needs? What are your spiritual needs?
What parts of yourself or of your life have you hidden from God?
How has God met you in your brokenness, imperfections, and fears? How has the Lord provided for you in those things?
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.
"Lord, I need you."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"You satisfy my soul."
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?
Allow Jesus to take care of you and comfort you today, physically and spiritually.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Tatiana Schaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Engineering and Psychology.
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