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).
Jesus cares about your heart. He doesn't want us to be like the scribes and Pharisees who care more about outward appearances; He wants us to love as He loves us.
So the other night my friend and I got into a fight. I'm a competitive person so I walked away from the fight when I felt like I was winning. I went and sulked in my room, not feeling victorious at all, until my friend knocked on my door. She came in and apologized right away. I had started our argument, I should have been the one to go to her in remorse. She showed me this love and forgiveness that Christ is talking about in today's Gospel.
Life is more than outward appearances and action. They do matter to an extent, but what is most important is where your heart is. Christ wants us to do more than just not kill our neighbor; He wants us to serve, forgive, and always turn to God in our time of need. When we pray the Lord's Prayer, we say "forgive us our sins and as we forgive those who trespass against us." God wants to forgive us and we must first forgive others, just like my friend forgave me. When we do this, we can better love others and grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord.
Jesus wants more than your outward actions, He wants your heart. He wants to forgive you for everything that pulls you away from Him. The more we love others like Christ loves us in this way, the better friends, family members, people, and disciples we will become. Love like Christ today, don't let anger or hurt hold you back from Him.
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 anger or past hurt are you holding on to in your heart?
How can Christ help you let go of this anger or hurt so that you can fully accept His love and then give it to others?
The next time you are in a situation where someone angers or hurts, what can you do to better love and forgive them?
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.
"Help me love."
"I love You."
"Have mercy on me."
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?
Continue to think about someone who you were angry or hurt by someone. In prayer, ask God for the grace to forgive them. Take all the time you need, but forgive that person who offended you and let that past event go. It may take awhile, but invite Christ into your heart to help you move on with love in your heart.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Mary Griffin, a graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
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