This morning, Father approached the ambo, offered the customary greeting and announcement, and began to read the assigned Gospel passage from Mark.
As I stood listening, it struck me: “I was here this morning.”
The passage chronicled Jesus’ call of Levi (Matthew) and subsequent dinner arrangements and proclamations, inferring that He is the physician sent to the sick of soul.
This was not the first time in recent memory that this account had been presented to me; I had used it less than four hours earlier for my morning meditation. (I find it nice to read the Scriptures before hearing them at Mass.)
I really appreciate passages with concrete images and encounters into which I can easily place myself. I find them much more conducive to meditation than lofty, philosophical discourses. But, that could just be me; everyone’s different.
Placing Myself Before Him in the Word
When I pray with Scripture, I follow a simple process.
First, I call to mind Christ’s presence. This works especially well when praying before the tabernacle, but can be done anywhere. I hand over to Him any concerns which may be weighing on my heart. I open up to the Scripture passage I’ve chosen, and slowly read it.
I picture the scene and reflect upon it. I put myself there and relate to Him. I speak to Him, and take time to try to listen to Him.
After a time, I re-read part of the passage or move on a bit. I ponder, speak to Him, and listen some more. I close my prayer time with thanksgiving.
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In this passage, we were told of Levi’s concrete, life-changing encounter with our Lord:
As He passed by, He saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Him. // Mark 2:14
This morning, in my own time of quiet prayer, I, too, had encountered Jesus. Like Levi so long ago, I had met Him, present with me in the tabernacle of our chapel.
Now I was meeting Him again as the Scriptures were read aloud. Soon, in the most extraordinary way, I would be meeting Him at Holy Communion!
Meeting Him in the Morning
It is beautiful to be able to meet Jesus several times a day, in the Scriptures, in “the Breaking of the Bread,” and in the people I encounter.
I encourage you, dear sister in Christ, to take time in your busy day to meet Jesus in His Word. It can be an amazing experience, giving purpose and direction to your day.
I don’t know about you, but I have a ways to go in being more conscious of His holy presence with me throughout the day. A step in the right direction, though, is meeting Him for a morning visit.
Sr. Christina Neumann is a Franciscan Sister serving the elderly and disabled at St. Anne’s Living Center in Grand Forks, ND. Along with office work, gardening, and duties in the chapel there, she also writes a weekly blog for her religious community.