Matthew 15 – Mercy and Summer Prayers

Matthew - a journey through Matthew

Hi!  I’m Melina, Catholic homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

Dear Jesus, I come before you today.  Open my heart and my mind as I read Matthew. Help me to understand what You are trying to say to me, and to see what You are trying to show me.  I love You.

Amen.

This devotion is following a similar format to the ABC Bible Sharing Method.  I encourage you to not only read this devotion, but read Matthew 15 yourself, and see what God has to speak to YOUR heart.  You can do that while following along with us, or even better – get together weekly with a group of friends and share with each other how God is working in your lives.

How to follow the ABC Bible Sharing Method.

You can read your own Bible or read an online version like the one below.  I like to use my own Bible so I can highlight, circle and underline those things that stand out for me.

You can find Matthew 15 here.

LAST WEEK:

My challenge from last week’s devotion was to spend my first hour at adoration doing just that – adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  We have adoration at our Parish only on the First Friday of the month, and now that the kids are all older and don’t need me at home all of the time, I try to go for more than one hour.  I make this time my monthly retreat.  The Blessed Sacrament is exposed for 5 hours, and sometimes I am able to go for all 5 hours, but I go for at least 2 hours.  I take the time to adore, but I also spend the time praying my rosary, reading my Bible, and writing down in my journal what God has been doing in my life lately and what He is speaking to me during my adoration time.

That being said, I don’t think I have ever taken a whole hour to just gaze on the Blessed Sacrament and to sit and kneel in quiet adoration with no other distractions.  Even though my mind did try to wander at times, I always brought it back to the task at hand – the task of adoring Jesus for who He is, for what He has done, for what He is and for what He has done in MY life.

This hour reminded me of the pure awesomeness of Jesus, and was an hour of pure peace.  I will definitely be starting all of my monthly adoration retreats in exactly the same way.

Now on to today’s devotion…

BEST VERSE:

It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him impure; it is what comes out of his mouth.  What comes out of the mouth originates in the mind.  verses 11 and 18

Again, this whole idea of impure words is speaking to me, probably because this is a weakness of mine.  The more often I pray my rosary, the more often I have good thought and speak good words.  As you can imagine, that is a great incentive for me to pray my rosary, and I pray anywhere from 5 to 20 decades each day, with 20 being my daily goal.

So praying the rosary daily, as well as spending time in monthly Adoration, fills my mind with good things.  It helps me to guard my thoughts and speak good words.  It is a real struggle at times for me to think good thoughts, especially after I’ve been hurt.  But daily I lift those struggles up and allow God to fill me so that the words I speak hopefully will be from Him, full of love and mercy.

Already my life is filled with challenges in living a faith filled life, but God is still calling me to more.

Now on to this week’s challenge for me.

CHALLENGE VERSE:

Lord, Son of David, have pity on me!    Verses 22

My Bible uses the word “pity” in verse 22 while many other translations use the word “mercy.”  Mercy is not a new theme for me to be meditating on, but it is certainly what God is bringing to my mind over and over these days.

The Jesus Prayer says “LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER.”  It is short, and it is simple, but it is filled with much truth and insight.  It is meant to be repeated over and over, a form of unceasing prayer as mentioned by the Apostle Paul.

It is called a Prayer of the Heart.  The very act of repeating these words turns our heart towards the love of God, lays open our heart with all the ugliness of sin, and bring us to the healing Heart of Jesus.

All of this in 12 little, but very powerful words.  Our whole faith is summed up in these words.  And the act of repeating these words and allowing them to transform our lives, brings us to the MERCY of Jesus and fills us with mercy towards others.

The Jesus Prayer

I was first introduced to the Jesus Prayer in the Russian spiritual classic “The Way of a Pilgrim.”  I spent years praying and being changed by this little prayer without realizing the importance of this prayer in the Orthodox churches.  I only knew what I gained from this prayer.  I grew in the awareness of mercy.

I just finished praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet Novena for a couple of special intentions, and I saw God already starting to work in those relationships.  The Novena brought me through the Feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  When I started the Novena, I didn’t realize it would, but praying the Mercy Chaplet while meditating on the Heart of Jesus brought me to an even deeper appreciation and understanding of the His Mercy and of Our Lady of His Mercy.

I want to continue meditating on the Mercy of Jesus, and I will do that by praying the Jesus Prayer daily for at least 15 minutes, as well as meditating on Mercy while praying my rosary.  Summer is the perfect time to do this.  I look forward to taking daily walks and praying.  I’m anxious to see what more God has to teach me.

It may look like I’m spending a lot of time in prayer, but after I get used to spending a certain amount of time in prayer, and it becomes a part of my daily schedule, it always feels like there is time for more.  But I started off small, and it has grown over the years. Instead of being overwhelmed by prayer, I encourage you to look at your schedule and to see when is the best time to schedule it in.  You will never regret it!

 

 

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