Friday of the First Week

A sepia toned image of Jesus teaching in the temple as a young man.

Daily Offering

Lord, I offer you my contentment, may those moments of calm and peace flow into everything I do.

Entering into Prayer

If you have a rosary or other prayer beads, use these to get started. If you don’t have beads, count on your fingers. Call to mind three people or causes you wish to pray for. Limit it to three. Share your desires with God. Intercede for these people using the beads. Hold the first bead and say a short prayer that you know well. Repeat on another bead and so on up to 10.

Today's Scripture (Matthew 5:20-26)

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Food for Thought

We normally think of Jesus as being against the Pharisees, but curiously, in today’s Gospel Jesus seems to be asking his followers to outdo them, at least in their uprightness. He says this because he wants his followers to go beyond what their religion tells them to do. It is not enough to comply with religious obligations, they must out do even those who are most pious by making the meaning of religious actions visible in their everyday lives. For us, that means that we cannot go to the sacrament of reconciliation without reconciling ourselves with other people, we cannot listen to the Word of God without putting it into practice, we cannot receive the Eucharist without wanting to build up the body of Christ in our lives too. For Jesus, religious practice is never a shortcut to holiness, it must go hand in hand with the challenging task of following him wherever he leads.

Suggestions for Prayer

Drawing to the end of the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius reminds us that love shows itself more in deeds than in words. However, love does show itself in words too.The bible is full of poetry and song that seeks to express the loving relationship between God and his people. One helpful way of reflecting on your life is to take one word which expresses who God is asking you to be over the period of time, to take three determined points during the day, and at each point to ask yourself if you are disposed to living up to all that word contains.To discover your word, use the poetry of the bible to help you.This helps us to prepare ourselves for the moments which we cannot control and to know that even when we do not succeed everything we wish to in life, at least we have the disposition to allow God to work through us as he wishes.

How are you going to respond today?

Today, choose a psalm, a song or a poem from the bible and let it inspire you. Reflect on how one word describes who you need to be at this time

Image for the day

A sepia toned image of Jesus teaching in the temple as a young man.

  • How does this image make you feel?

  • Do you imagine Jesus differently? How?

  • Who were your teachers?

Examen (review of prayer)

Feel free to try a different examen if you wish.

At the end of your prayer you can look back and ask: Does it have something to say to you? How does it make you feel? Imagine how God might reply. Conversation: When you come towards the end of your time of prayer, talk to God about what has come up for you. End with a formal prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father

Going Deeper

Praying with poetry 

Meditations on the love of God

The spirituality of poetry

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