The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!
Friday, December 6, 2013
(Click here for readings)
As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out, "Son of David, have pity on us!" When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to him, "Do you believe that I can do this?" "Yes, Lord," they said to him.
They knew something. Advent is the season of great anticipation.
As Christians, we patiently await the coming of our Lord. Will there be much fanfare? Probably not. Will it be well advertised? I don't think so. Will it be simple? Definitely. Will it be personal? You bet!
The two blind men in today's Gospel passage must have been mature men. With years of practice they fined tuned their hearing and, most importantly, their awareness of excitement and presence. When they heard the murmuring of people and the shaking of the ground, without doubt they sensed a thrill in the air.
The Lord is the master of surprises. He truly makes a conscientious effort to thwart our plans for Him. He refuses to be hunkered down by our definitions and ideas of Him.
In the Pope's conversation with Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist and editor of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the Holy Father was asked the question: Is God Catholic? I was delighted by the Pope's answer: Of course not! "I believe in God, not in a Catholic God; there is no Catholic God. There is God and I believe in Jesus, his incarnation."
Of course his comment sent shock waves throughout the world, especially the Catholic world, where some conspiracy theorists began to speculate "If God is not Catholic, then maybe the Pope isn't either!"
Now I perfectly understand what the Pope said. God is catholic in the catholic sense of the word; that is, He is Universal. But he isn't Catholic in the Catholic sense of the word; that is, He isn't limited to one particular religion. If anything, He is only limited by the Truth: for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And His power is not limited only to Catholics for Catholics, but by love - for He is Love. So if the Lord refuses to allow His words of truth and works of mercy and forgiveness to be pinned down by others, then ask yourself: Are your words and works limited only to people who think alike or that you like?
Everyone desires love, even when it is hard to give and accept. Everyone desires truth, even when it is hard to give and accept. Hence, everyone desires God, even when it is hard to give what He wants and accept what He gives. But if you think about it long enough, then it becomes all to clear: Love and Truth - Christ's greatest attributes - will ultimately unite all mankind to Him and to one another. It will not be rhyme or reason.
The blind men were given a raw deal. But it didn't stop them in their tracks. With great anticipation (maybe even more than the "normal" folks around him) they followed Jesus all the way to a home. Can you imagine that!? They followed him? What an example! What determination! No wonder the Lord found more love among the poor, the sick and the sinners than among those who complain all day long about the poor, the sick and the sinners. I have no doubt the Lord found more faith among the poor, the sick and the sinners than those who use the poor, the sick and the sinners as poor excuses for their own disbelief.
What a twisted world we live in. Indeed: the last shall be first and the first shall be last. There is no rhyme or reason to this!
From all I have seen and read, coming out last is definitely the best way to prepare for the Lord's arrival. So Advent is all about working hard to come out last. It takes a lot of blind faith.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
(Click here for readings)
Jesus said to his disciples: "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock..."
The Rock. As every house requires a solid foundation, so too every human being.
For dear life we need something solid to hold on to. What will you hold on to? Let's choose the Lord. Let us make Him the rock of our salvation and the rock that anchors our life.
Life can be crazy, especially when surrounded by crazy people. I need something - someone - in my life that will keep me steady, so that I am not always flying off the handle. The Lord is my rock. He is my fortress, my stronghold.
It's not easy to live with a man. I am sure that every woman (wife and mother) would agree with me. Now imagine living with three grown men! It's not easy at all! Just this morning I saw something that could have easily put me into a tailspin. Thankfully, I was running late for Mass, so I didn't give someone a piece of my mind. But I was still thinking about it, even while I began the Mass. It took the Gospel passage - Christ's words - to remind me: relax. Take it easy. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Whoever listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool...
Wow! Holy, Holy, Holy Lord! Do I act like a fool? Do I act like some crazy bird, smashing into the window over and over again?
I need a rock. I need some solid ground. I need a role model. I need an example that I can look up to, a star I can point to. Christ is the center of my life. He is the standard and the model of my life.
Now what I find most amazing about the Lord is his brilliance and lack of any specialized education. He didn't go to Greece to learn philosophy and art. He didn't go to Rome to learn oratory and civility. He didn't study business at Harvard. He didn't study medicine at John Hopkins. Instead, He stayed in Israel and taught civility, philosophy, while practicing medicine and speech. And if you don't know it by now, He is the inspiration and founder of one of the largest "organizations" in the world that has spread throughout the world by plowshares, not by swords.
Only when the time had come, did He reveal himself to the world: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. And it never went to His head. Before that, He would break bread with sinners. After that, he would break bread with sinners. Today, through His Vicar on Earth, He sneaks out of his palace to break bread with the homeless.
Jesus is greater than any political leader that ever lived and any modern military leader that ever won, for he conquered friends and foes in a manner that is no less than "revolutionary": through love. The Lord's men and women conquered an entire empire in a manner that is no less than a miraclous: by the sign of His Cross.
The Lord is truly a rock, for his words remain as true and as relevant as the first day he spoke them. Don't you love it?
Now "not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Amazing! Absolutely amazing! Like a true leader, it doesn't matter to Him if we give Him credit. What matters most is that we get the job done.
Advent is all about getting to work and laying down a solid foundation in Christ Jesus.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
(Click here for readings)
At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. They crowds were amazed...
Jesus went up on the mountain. What are you doing up here, Lord? I'm getting a good look at all of humanity...and I'm looking for the best way to come to you.
And so he does...in amazing fashion.
The alliance. If I was looking for a God, who would it be? Probably the one who best represented my interests. Thank God God chose me! Really! Otherwise, I do not believe I would have chosen Him. Why? Because He doesn't represent my interests! If anything, He represents everything I hate about myself and others.
I recently went to see the movie "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." I loved it! And I highly recommend it. I have found it to be very useful in spreading the Good News. In fact, it didn't take long for me to draw a parallel between this movie and today's Gospel passage. If you saw the movie, you may recall a brief scene where Haymitch informs Katniss that half of the tributes would like to form an alliance with her. And so who does Katniss pick? The rejects: the oldest tribute and the most awkward ones.
Haymitch cannot believe it, and neither can Peeta.
I wouldn't either...if I didn't know the Gospel, and if the Gospel weren't so deeply embedded in my and Suzanne Collins' brain.
This is the stuff of champions!
Blessed are the meek and humble of heart, for they will inherit the earth.
Who does the Lord form an alliance with? The weak. The crippled. The blind. The deformed. The mute. Who does the Lord form an alliance with? Let's say it clearly: the rejects of the earth.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people, blessed are those prepared to meet him. Are you prepared to meet him? Then be blind and walk by faith. Be mute and listen. Be humble and admit your falls. Realize you are crippled and acknowledge your sinfulness.
The Lord knew who He could work with. He also knew who He could not trust. Can He trust you?
Apparently, He can trust the Pope.
I find it amazing how action figures can actually come to life, in real life, but in a way I would least expect them to. Amazing!
Stephen Colbert, of the Comedy Channel understands this, and so he knows how to channel superheroes with real-life comedy and real-life seriousness. Take a look at this video and you will know what I mean.
Can the Lord trust you? What are you doing tonight? Where are you going tonight?
"Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the Lord for whom we looked" (Is. 25:9)
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
(Click here for readings)
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will..."
I have never been a big fan of Kirsten Powers, a well known liberal contributor to USA Today and columnist for The Daily Beast and a Democratic commentator at Fox News. Her political leanings are often contrary to mine. Nonetheless,I have always held her in high esteem, and for obvious reasons: she never loses her cool with hostile hosts and guests. She is respectful of other peoples opinions. In my humble estimation she is one very intelligent and classy journalist.
So in a certain sense, her conversion to Evangelical Christianity seven years ago did not surprise me. What did surprise me was her attitude towards Christians prior to her conversion. She was negative, arrogant, obnoxious and downright judgmental. She wrote:
When I began dating a man who was into Jesus, I was not looking for God. In fact, the week before I met him, a friend had asked me if I had any deal breakers in dating. My response: "Just nobody who is religious."
Monday, December 2, 2013
(Click here for readings)
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully." He said to him, "I will come and cure him." The centurion said in reply, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed..."
Pause for a moment. Place yourself in this scene. We are just a few feet away from Christ and this centurion. If photographers existed back then, we would be in a position directly opposite of them, facing them, with the Lord and the centurion in between us.
Encountering a stranger. As a public figure, the Lord is unique in allowing strangers to have easy access to him. And it doesn't matter who they are: Pharisees, scribes, elders, Roman soldiers, lepers, the contagious, etc.. The Lord is truly a God sent.
Am I easily approachable? Or do I feel more comfortable in my close(d) circle of friends?
Not only does the Lord not mind who approaches Him, but I have also noticed that He doesn't mind at all if His plans get changed.
Do I get easily frustrated when things don't go as planned? Am I disturbed by people who walk up to me and ask me for favors?
Along the journey, the Lord continually reminds His people who they should be like...and who they should not be like.
Am I listening? Or am I simply caught up in the highlights and headlines?
The devil loves to generalize everything. The Lord, like the truth, is found by digging deeper into reality and examining the minutest acts of love. God, not the devil, is in the details.
I am impressed with the Lord. He does what I only dream of doing. He speaks to those I would prefer to ignore or walk away from. He comforts those I would prefer to see suffer. He accompanies those I would prefer to part from their company.
"Charity is a paradox, like modesty and courage. Stated baldly, charity certainly means one of two things - pardoning unpardonable acts, or loving unlovable people." (G.K. Chesterton)
Reason can only take me so far. It cannot take me all the way. It will only lead me to the mountain base. It will be by faith that I make it to the top.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. When Jesus heard this he was amazed and said, "In no one in Israel have I found such faith."
I find it amazing that God was amazed. Really, think about it. Someone amazed God - God! - the Creator of all things, maker of the Universe. Wow! That's amazing.
Have I ever surprised the Lord and got His jaw to drop? Have I ever amazed Him?
What I also find amazing about Christ is how quick He is to praise others, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion or status. Come to me for I am meek and humble of heart. Humility is King! It is the virtue that lays the ground work for unity. Peace to all people on earth will only be a reality only when humility among all people exists on earth.
Am I quick to praise and slow to correct?
Let us spend our Advent season converting into the life of Christ.
During Advent, please think about sharing these meditations with friends and family. God Bless!
Sunday, December 1, 2013
(Click here for readings)
Therefore, stay awake! ...for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
Advent. Advent is that time of year when we take a "pause to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are hints that God gives us" (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at First Vespers of Advent, November 28, 2009).
Individual events as hints. "What are you waiting for?", asked Mr. Incredible. "I don't know," said the little boy as he sat in his Big Wheel, "something amazing I guess."
What are you waiting for? Are you still waiting for something amazing? Are you still looking for Mr. (or Miss) Right? Are you still looking for love? Are you still looking for "proof"? Are you still looking for happiness?
Guess what? You're not looking. Either you're blind or you've fallen asleep!
Awake from your slumber! Advent is not about appreciating everything and everyone in your life. Advent is that time of year to be amazed, enchanted, thrilled and excited about everything and everyone in your life.
"Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain" (Is 2:1-5). From the top everything looks small. From the bottom everything seems so big. As we "progress" up the mountain, man and the world appear to get smaller. But the problem isn't with us learning more, the problem is what happens to us along the way: our attitude begins to change, and for the worse.
Don't be fooled! Do you not realize that while you're trying to climb your own mountain, the Lord is descending from his very own? Is there not a lesson to learn from this? Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain and descend to our very own. Then we will see something amazing!
God's Humility. This morning I read an article entitled: "Scientists discover that natural wonders trigger belief in God." In the article there were a couple of pictures, one of the Grand Canyon and another of Niagara Falls.
What fools! They missed the point entirely.
Advent is all about getting enchanted by life and allowing God's magical world to cast a spell all over you.
Are you surprised at how fairy dust can make Wendy fly? Then be amazed at how a dozen roses can make her cry. Or how a stare from Peter Pan can make her blush.
Are you amazed at how Curiosity landed on Mars? Then be no less amazed at how every Autumn millions of leaves fall to the ground and feed it.
Do you think that a gang of bullies simply saying, "You're ugly" is any less hurtful than a flock of Jabberjays flying over your head? Or that a piece of paper with hurtful words can bring me to my knees as quickly as a wizard's wand?
You fool! Do you not see the arena in your own backyard and throughout the Universe?
Have you forgotten how three little words, "I love you" kept you in a spell for years? Or how holding someone's hand can so easily bring you to Wonderland?
This world is all magic! It's all enchanting! It's all amazing. But best of all, it's all true.
The Lord made water blush when he starred into it. This is no different than how a young man can make a young lady blush simply by starring into her.
Go ahead, call me a fool, but I am awake and have seen how a gigantic fire, like a revolution, can commence with a simple spark.
Advent is about pausing before a presence and understanding the daily hints that God gives us. What are you waiting for? Something amazing? Well then wake up and open your eyes.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
(Click here for readings)
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men"
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Andrew. Known as Peter's brother and a follower of John the Baptist, Andrew accepted Jesus' invitation to become one of his first and closest Apostles. Like Peter, Andrew later became a martyr for the faith brutally undergoing crucifixion. He's honored as the Patron Saint of Scotland, Greece, Russia, Romania, and the Ukraine.
On a personal note, if I ever gave birth to a son I'd choose the name Andrew. What if he accepted the call to become a "fisher of men" and joined the priesthood? What a proud mama I'd be!
Joy of Gazing Featured in Magnificat's Meditation of the Day is Saint Theresa of Avila's poem To Saint Andrew. She ends each stanza with the follow words: What joy will gazing on You be?
I pondered this question in light of a Christian's call to follow Jesus. Some people may be called to religious life. Others may be called to the vocation of marriage or to the single life. All of us no matter our chosen vocation can become fishers of men (and women) by radiating the joy of Christ in our decisions and actions. By gazing up at the crucifix during Mass, a crucifix in our homes, or the crucifix we wear, we can prayerfully meditate on ways to best serve our community. Minister in communities with similar problems and issues the Apostles often experienced themselves.
How can I be a better disciple of Christ? What can I do to radiate joy and love toward others? Am I willing to become a martyr for the faith?
Confess Jesus is Lord Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans states: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
It's sad when people profane Christ's name instead of proclaiming it with joy. Within our highly secularized world, the idea of being saved becomes selfish and meaningless. We can "save" ourselves from bullying by becoming a bully. We can save ourselves from family discord by filing for divorce. We can save ourselves from emotional pain by blurring our minds with drugs and alcohol. Why don't we rely on Christ Jesus to save us from our burdens and sufferings? Jesus is Lord! He loves us so much! Yet, we turn our backs away from him. We avoid the joy of gazing into his life and following his example. It's too hard. It's too complicated. It's too against our modern ways!
Have there been times in my life when I thought badly of Christ and blamed him for my sufferings? Have I ever turned my back away from him? Have I ever been a non-believer relying on secular conveniences for happiness and content?
Come after Me, My Child! We're blessed by many generous women and men who've consecrated their lives to Christ and His Church. I'd like to send a special THANK-YOU to all of our priests and religious. Their joy for Christ radiates in their humble, courageous, and dedicated service to Catholics around the world!
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. To read more of her writings, please follow her blog Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality