Mass Reading & Meditation for April 16, 2013
Meditation: Acts 7:51–8:1
3rd Week of Easter
I see the heavens opened. (Acts 7:56)
The presence of God was so familiar to Stephen that even in the face of a crowd’s murderous rage, he could see him enthroned in heaven. How could he do that? Put simply, Stephen had cultivated a relationship with God. He knew what it felt like to be in his presence and how to “see” him in his heart. So when the moment of crisis came, the reality and the glory of God were as real to Stephen as the fury of the mob getting ready to stone him.
The promise of the Christian life is that we can all know the presence of God. We can all come to see him in our prayer and in our moments of crisis. It may take time and persistence to come to the point Stephen had reached, but any one of us can do this. Here’s how.
Begin by tying to quiet yourself down—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Find a quiet, comfortable place to pray. Clear your mind of any thoughts about whatever you may “need” to do. Try to clear your emotions of anger, fear, unforgiveness, or the like. If you need to, make a list of those things, and put it aside. You can always go back to them later.
Next, call to mind a story from Scripture, maybe one with Jesus in it. Use your imagination to picture what the story describes. Then place yourself in that scene, and talk to Jesus about it. Ask him questions, if any come to mind. Let him teach you about what’s important to him, or how the story applies to your life. Pay attention to the thoughts that go through your mind—especially the ones that give you peace. They aren’t random or unconnected! After all, you’re spending time with God. Of course he is going to speak to you!
Finally, write down the thoughts that occur to you, without comment or question. Later, you can go back and check them against Scripture and the teachings and traditions of the Church. In that way, too, you ensure you heard correctly, reinforcing the truth of what the Lord said; you might also open future avenues of conversation with the Lord.
“Father, I want to know you. I want to feel your presence and see what you are doing. Help me to rest in you.”
Psalm 31:3-4, 6-8, 17, 21; John 6:30-35