Do you read the Gospel daily? Daily Gospel reading and meditation can be done easily. It just takes 2-5 minutes each day and with just a short period of time, the benefits are really life-changing, with the help of God`s grace and our daily struggle.
1. Reading the New Testament helps us to get to know our Lord better every day.
Reading and meditating on the holy Gospel is indispensable for getting to know Christ better, for imitating him and growing in our love for him. But we should do so out of eagerness to relive his life, and not allow routine to creep in.
St. Josemaria wrote:
You’ve often joined me as awe-struck spectators, as participants in these scenes. Right from the start, I taught you – who are also apostles, chosen by Jesus with preferential love – to get inside the Gospel story and live fraternally with the first Twelve. Therefore the way our Lord treated the Apostles during that formative period is familiar to you, and it’s as deeply engraved in your souls as your most intimate memories, so much so that it has become second nature to us.
Our zeal to know Christ better each day springs from our love for him. Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso (through him, and with him, and in him). We love our Lord, and therefore want to know him: hence your meditations, prayers and Gospel reading.
Christian life consists of falling in love with Christ, becoming identified with him. Jesus has lived among us and does so still. We contemplate each step of his earthly life: his birth in Bethlehem, his hidden life, his preaching throughout Palestine, his healing of the sick in body and soul, his proof of love on the Cross, his Resurrection and glorious Ascension into heaven. We see him with the Apostles, how he chooses them and instructs them in the mysteries of God’s kingdom.
2. Gospel reading should lead us to meditate and contemplate our Lord’s life. Knowing Jesus would lead to putting into practice his teachings and influence our daily conduct.
We need to enter deeply into the Gospel. The Lord’s words are few, St Augustine says, but full of meaning; their worth is measured not by their number but by their depth; nor are they to be taken lightly, but pondered on thoroughly. How often we gain fresh insight while contemplating a Gospel passage we have already considered many times! Our reading of the Gospel should be marked by eagerness to learn and to improve. It should be prayerful and reflective, and so influence our whole day. Sometimes a single word or gesture of our Lord helps us to have greater presence of God.
To meditate on the Gospel means to look attentively at Jesus in eagerness to imitate him. We seek to conform our life to his, to make his words and feelings our own, by the help of grace.
St. Josemaria wrote: I advised you to read the New Testament and to enter into each scene and take part in it, as one more of the characters. The minutes you spend in this way each day enable you to “incarnate” the Gospel, reflect it in your life and help others to reflect it.
Induimini Dominum Iesum Christum, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, St Paul urges us.
3. Gospel reading and meditation, aside from leading us to know Jesus better, also enable us to love him easier, and thus imitate Him and identify ourselves with Him.
Here is the goal of our sanctity. The struggle to achieve holiness is not centred on the fight against sin, although this will always be necessary. Rather it is a growing identification with Christ, begun now by sanctifying grace and brought to fullness in the glory of heaven.
And St John Chrysostom comments: We say of two friends that one has “put on” the other when there is great love and understanding between them, to the extent that one even takes on the appearance of the other. May Christ then be always manifest in us.
Supernatural life, which took root in our soul by the Holy Spirit’s grace and is strengthened continually by our Norms, shapes Christ’s image in us, the semblance of God’s children. We are led to become other Christs, ipse Christus – Christ himself. But we need to use all our faculties in the struggle to attain this identification. As St John Chrysostom says, Christ has given you the power to be like him according to your strength. Don’t be frightened to hear this. What should really frighten you is not to be like him.
We have to love what Christ loves and reject what he rejects, reproducing his life in our own. Following St Paul’s advice, estote ergo imitatores Dei, sicut filii carissimi (therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children), we imitate God who alone is holy, as beloved children, and take Christ as our model, for he is the image of the invisible God.
ADAPTED FROM THE BOOK OF MEDITATIONS (PRIVATE COLLECTION). Titles and reordering of ideas mine.
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