Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
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!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mt 25:31-46 The Best Who Served The Rest

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
(Click here for readings)

Jesus said to his disciples:  "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.  And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.  Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."


Jesus Christ, Shepherd of the Universe.  What a sight it will be!  A glorious throne.  Nations assembled before Him.  Emperors, Dictators, Presidents - everyone in a position of power and authority - will be bowing and shaking before the almighty King.  Peasants - simple folks - will be bowing and shaking as well.  Some will go to His right.  Others will go to His left.  They will know their place.  They will know who stands for Him and who stands against Him.  They will know the real King - the only King - of all things.  LIGHTS, CAMERAS, ACTION!

Will Christ will pound His chest and declare His authority for all to hear and fear?  Will He point His finger and make us blush?  Will He sentence some to life and others to death?  Will people cheer?  Is there applause in heaven?  Will He make us feel weak and small?  Will He Lord himself over us?

Will He repeat what others have done throughout the centuries?

No!

The refrain.  Today's reading reminds me of a song written with two verses and a refrain.  What is the refrain?  "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me."

What?  Is this right? 

I find today's "refrain" to be abrupt and somewhat out of place, even shockingly unceremonious and downright underwhelming.  Could this be right?  Is this what it takes to inherit God's kingdom?  Is this what makes us royals?

Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.  I'm sure the Lord never physically pounded his chest, or sat in a high chair or throne.  I'm also sure He never went on top of any mountain to coronate himself.  But in today's first and second staves, it sure sounds like He could have...if He had wanted to.

What's Christ's secret to being a King, a real King, a noble King?  Being a servant.   

What's the secret to living a long and prosperous life while keeping your mind sane and your body healthy?  Serving others.

Why are so many people sick today, with unhealthy thoughts and unhealthy bodies?  Could it possibly be that we are spending way too much time thinking about ourselves and not enough on others?

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me."

Stop thinking about all the times you were rejected.  Stop reliving them in your head.  Stop worrying so much about what you eat, what you wear and how you look? 
When was the last time you looked in the mirror and saw your neighbor???

For I was hungry... This world is starving for Christ.  It thirsts for righteousness.  We're all looking for a good friend and someone to love.  Have you found him/her?  Is it real?  Is it noble?  Is it holy?

LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SEE YOUR NEIGHBOR!

To be a king, you have to treat others as kings.  To be a royal, you have to start giving others the royal treatment:  "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me."

If you want people to worship you, then you must first worship them.  If you want people to love you, then you must love them first.  If you want people to delight over you, then take delight over them.

Jealousy:  the killer of Saints.  I've said it before and I will say it again.  Jealousy is a very ugly sin because it is a very unforgiving sin.  It spiritually, emotionally and physically kills its host! 

If all I do in life is compare myself to those in front of me, and never notice those behind me, then I will always appear to be a loser.  

Be fair.  Look in front of you and behind you.  There is nothing to be jealous of.  Learn from the best and serve the rest!

So after careful review, I have determined that today's refrain is not frightfully unceremonious or underwhelming, but rather plucky and refreshing. 

Look in the mirror and see all those who need you.  

This isn't a story of rags to riches, but of service to riches.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lk 19:45-48 My Body, His Temple

Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Click here for readings)

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, "It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves."

His Temple.  It's amazing how much the Lord can say in so few words.  We know the Temple is the place to worship God, for it is where God resides.  But we also know that the true Temple of God is the body of Jesus Christ.  "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (Jn 2:19).  For "the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands" (Acts 17:24).

Jesus is the Temple of God.  Where He is, God is.  The Lord is worthy of not only respect and admiration but of adoration.  He is God.  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (Jn 1:1,14).

My Body.  Now if the Church is the mystical body of Christ, the "sacrament" or visible sign of Jesus Christ, then we cannot forget that we are the temple of God.  "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" (1Cor 3:16).

So with all that said and done, the question now is:  How is my house cleaning going?

My Body, His Temple.  Unless we take matters into our own hands, then what happened to the thieves will happen to us. 

He will turn our lives upside down and clean out our pockets!

Have I turned my body into a marketplace?  Are my thoughts and actions geared towards material things?  Tis the season, you know.

Let's be on our guard against all kinds of greed, pride and vanity, for they can easily permeate within us, take on flesh and masquerade as a good rather than what they really are - an evil.

Let's no forget:  It's His Temple, our Body.  Let's put our worldly desires to death, not Him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lk 19:11-28 The Good Manager

Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

By BENEDICT AUGUSTINE

The first came forward and said,
Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’
Then the second came and reported,
Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
You, take charge of five cities.’

Very often, when people devote themselves to a career or a big project, they focus the product but often fail to think about the result of that product, whether their bosses will reward their labor or not. In a few cases, success will land them a promotion, or a raise, or extra vacation time, but more often their success will simply lead to a pat on the back and even more work. Younger employees always fall into this trap, going above and beyond to impress their bosses only to have additional workloads, but the seasoned employees often know better and keep a low profile in order to keep their workload to a minimum.

In an unjust, but very common, ironic twist, many bad employees are sooner promoted over good ones because the latter are more valuable to the company at the lower level than they are at a higher one. Schools will often work this way, keeping their talented teachers in the classroom while promoting the mediocre teachers to positions of administration. After all, if a school has talented teachers, the administrators do not need to do all that much except attend meetings and fill out paperwork, something any average person could do. Unfortunately, these average paper-pushers earn much more money and receive much more respect than the pedagogical geniuses of the classroom. This dynamic has created a huge problem in American education. Great teachers will do one of three things: they stop teaching and find a career that rewards their ability; they purposely stifle their excellence and pursue a promotion that will take them away from the classroom and compensate them better; or, most often, they will do amazing things for a few years, burn out, and quit the profession altogether. Bad teachers will usually stay because they figured out a way to as little as possible and still keep their job.

Far from giving more to those who have, schools (and probably many other organizations) take from those who have and give to those who have not. Besides internalizing spiritual implications, people might do well to understand Jesus' words in a practical sense. School districts could pay their teachers, the people who actually work with the students, more, and they could pay their principles, the people who work the paperwork, less. Moreover, good teachers could earn even more for doing especially well with their classes. And since secretaries and paraprofessionals handle most of the paperwork, and administering discipline is simply a matter of following predetermined protocol, the school could easily let go many of its principals, superintendents, and all the unseen education bureaucrats in the administration buildings, and replace them with more efficient grading software, new copy machines, and maybe some ping pong tables for the teachers' lounge. In such a case, Jesus' wisdom could finally shine: “I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Teachers who have ability will have more, and those who cannot, or do not, teach will either quit or be demoted to administration.

Jesus' parable of the three servants draws a parallel between management and discipleship. The nobleman rewards his first two servants, but punishes the the third. The first two servants follow their master's command to “engage in trade” with the money he gives them; this means that they must enter the world, create, sell, and manage so that they can make a profit. In their effort to gain a profit, they invest themselves in the gift of their master. Not only do they grow richer since their master rewards them, they also grow as people because they have learned to successfully manage and acquire wealth—in a way, they have become masters themselves.

The third servant, and the people who despise the nobleman from the beginning, do not have anything to offer except excuses. Instead of growing like the first two enterprising servants, they shrink in their own pettiness and envy. The third servant, in accounting for his utter laziness, mutters the excuse of every mediocre imbecile: “you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.” Compounding his failure with defiance, the third servant actually criticizes the master for even expecting something from him—one could translate his reply as, “I'm not paid enough to do any kind of work.” Not even repentant for his failure, the servant still feels entitled to his master's mercy. Unlike the slave who follows a perverted justice that compensates dullards like himself, the master executes true justice to suit the third servant's response: “Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.” Like a good manager, he rewards excellence and punishes failure.

On the surface, this parable seems to suggest that Jesus lacks sympathy for the poor and only wants to make the rich richer, but the details and context lead to a different interpretation.  The servants were not rich, and they received their capital with the same request made to them. The first two became rich through hard work and obedience; the third one became poor through indolence and disobedience. In terms of discipleship, the first two servants resemble the saints who worked hard through prayer, fasting, and alms-giving and obeyed Christ's teachings to convert nonbelievers, while the third servant resembles the growing mass of lackadaisical believers who feel entitled to the sacraments and salvation without lifting a finger. Obviously, the first group will bring souls to God as they themselves grow closer to God while the second group does precisely the opposite.

Therefore, Christ, the good manager as well as the good shepherd, must elevate the first group and humiliate the second one. In keeping with this judgment, leaders of the Church and leaders of the family (and the leaders of schools) have a responsibility to do the same with their own members. To do otherwise would inevitably lead to corruption of the whole institution.

In the end, as Christians, we are all Christ's servants and we have a choice to work and obey, or not. Fortunately, Christ is a loving master and makes it clear what we should choose.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lk 19:1-10 Seek N' Save

Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

By JENNIFER BURGIN

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

 "Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he!"   This song comes to mind every time I read the familiar story of Zacchaeus in the Sycamore tree.  I remember as a child spending summers at a Baptist day care center, sitting through boring Wednesday chapel service.  My repetitive yawning and occasional roll of the eyes kept me more fully engaged.  I somewhat enjoyed singing songs like "Zacchaeus was a Wee Little Man" or "Jesus Loves Me" but the preaching was automatic tune-out material.  At the end of the long sermon, we'd be invited to stand up at the front to "Be Saved!"  There was the normal uncomfortable, dead silence.  Most of the kids were saved anyway, so I didn't understand the reason for a weekly invitation.  Every now and then a brave young soul ventured up to the front.  I understood the "real" reason why.  If a kid proclaimed that Jesus saved him, he received tons of attention!  In fact, other kids would smile and pat him on the back; kids who never paid attention on a normal day suddenly noticed him.  It was a clever attention-seeking mechanism.  Of course, stardom was only short lived....  

I often wondered how many kids were truly "saved" and believed in Jesus Christ or just pretended to be "saved" in order to get brownie points with the staff.....

I felt somewhat like Zacchaeus -- a wee little girl.  Too short in height, I climbed up the tree trying to see Jesus.  I just couldn't find him!  I climbed higher and higher.  Where are you, Jesus?  I know you are here!  All I could see was a fog of fakeness and a sea of hypocrisy in the child care center I was "dropped off" at each day.  Jesus was in my heart; I knew that for a fact.  I believed in him; however, I couldn't quite see the Lord among the haziness of memorized scripture verses and uninspiring sermons by non-ordained ministers. I trembled in fear on top of the Sycamore tree's wavering branch.  Would I ever feel connected to the Lord like all of these others who have been "saved?  Would I have the courage to seek the Lord out? I always had a funny feeling that the Southern Baptistidea of faith just wasn't for me.

 I hate to admit this, but I resented my mother for making me go to that daycare every day.  Later I understood she simply had no other choice as a single mom.  It was her best option. She never found out, until I became an adult, about the bullies.  If kids weren't bullying me then they just ignored me.  Most of the children played sports.  I lacked athletic ability, but I could definitely beat them at board games!   

Short in stature but big in heart  Some of the smallest people have hearts of gold.  They may be short in stature, quiet and shy, but they love big.  They see the good in everybody and everything.  People may snub them because they aren't as tall or sophisticated.  They may even be hated  because they stand for things that others don't like.  Certainly, Zacchaeus wasn't a very popular guy around town.  Tax collectors were known to charge higher rates and then pocket the difference.  They accumulated vast wealth at the expense of the poor. 

Zacchaeus knew he wasn't well loved by the people; yet, he was curious about Jesus.  If I sought him out would he save me?  Would he forgive me where others just shame me? I'll stay up in this tree, away from the people.  I fear what the Lord will think of me.  Will he recognize me and call me out?

Low and behold, Jesus discovers the wee little man up in that Sycamore tree.  Not very many grown men hang out in trees!  Jesus calls out to him and Zacchaeus repents!  The wee little man is so impressed with the Lord that he's willing to give up all of his possessions and redistribute his wealth to the poor.  Now this is a conversion worth a huge pat on the back and a round of applause!  

Seek N' Save  Kids of my generation (the good old 1980's) played with Speak N' Spells.  Our parents shopped and bagged their own groceries at neighborhood Sack & Save supermarkets.  It never occurred to me until I was much older the need to Seek N' Save.  Seek out God on a daily basis; seek Him out in our homes, work places, and places of worship.  When we seek God, we rediscover bits and pieces of our lost selves.  God saves these fragments in hopes that we will utilize them as we grow wiser in the faith.  For me, I've learned to forgive the daycare bullies and love them as children of God.  I've learned to respect those with different religious viewpoints.  Best of all, through years of seeking out God, and finding the Catholic Church, I finally understood the true meaning of being saved.  Christ died on the cross for our salvation.  God forgives us over and over again; he loves us that much!


This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin.  Please follow her blog:  Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality

Lk 19:1-10 The Untold Story

Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

By. FATHER ALFONSE NAZZARO

Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.  Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was... So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.

Conversion stories are the best stories!  They are full of God-awful things, God-inspiring things and God-awesome things. 

God awful.  We all know the following bible verse from Revelation.  It's famous for being so direct:  "I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either cold or hot.  So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

Every morning I see the same people attending Mass.  I see them sitting in the same place in the church. 

They have their pew. 
They have their routine. 
They have their way.

There is no doubt in my mind they love the Lord, for they serve, read and pray at Mass reverently.  They even arrive on time periodically, something I always struggle to do!!! 

But are they  - we - me - doing the best to fill up the pews?  Are they - we - me - inviting others to break bread in the house of the Lord?  This is so important.  Why?  Because it creates momentum and enthusiasm!

Conversion stories create missionaries and missionaries create enthusiasm, and the momentum from the two gets the heart and soul and mind and body pumping!

Zacchaeus meets Jesus Christ.    "Come down from that tree!..." and face the world, my friend. 

Zacchaeus wouldn't dare ask the taller people to get out of the way for him or to make an opening for him.  They would have spit on his face!  So what did the short fella do?  He climbed up a tree, and the Lord noticed him.  Actually, he noticed his curiosity, enthusiasm and determination. 

What happened next shocked the hell out of the crowd:  "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house."

What???  Wait???  What did He do???  Did you hear that?  Did Jesus just invite himself over to the house of a sinner, a horrible sinner with poor odds of ever changing???

I can't believe it...
but it's true. 

I can't believe Him...
but He is the Truth.

What Jesus did the U.S. Military would have called "shock and awe!"

At times, I feel like we, Catholics, have a fortress mentality, the kind of strategy that ends with a slaughter! 

And have no doubts about it:  we are getting slaughtered! 

Our families are getting slaughtered!  Our children are getting slaughtered!  Our way of life is getting slaughtered.  Our beliefs are getting slaughtered. 

For goodness sake!  Have we forgotten how to be missionaries and break the siege?  Have we forgotten how to shock and awe our adversaries?  I think we have, for we are neither hot nor cold but just plain...blah! 

Look here.  Jesus was a fanatic!  Not the ISIL type - God forbid! - but the Holy type:  the one who never writes off people. 

Jesus knew who to invite:  the least likely to succeed. 
He knew who to dine with:  the least likeable people. 
He knew who to interact with:  the untouchables, the unforgiverable[s] and the undesirables. 

Christ knew how to create drama; that is, staged drama with real life actors.  He knew who to pick as His stars, not because He had some sort of insider knowledge, but because He looked for those individuals who thought the least of themselves, or who thought that God thought the least about them! 

This time the star was Zacchaeus.
And the crowd booed! 

The people didn't like it.  They didn't like it at all.  Jesus was no people pleaser, like the Pharisees or the scribes or anyone who claims to be the sole defender of Catholicism! 

So they began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner." 

Could this day have gone any better for the Lord?  It was soooo perfect!!!  

Before Jesus could defend his actions, Zacchaeus chimed in and created more shock and awe:  "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over."

WHAT???  IS THIS GUY KIDDING???

That evening, Zacchaeus sat down with the Lord and His disciples and they heard his story, his life story.  All the God-awful things he had done; all the God-inspiring things he had done; and all the God-awesome things he and the Lord had done.

One more seat just got filled in the pews.  And it was on a weekday. 

Talk to anti-Catholics with love.  Write to the outcasts with compassion.  Make friends with sinners.  Invite someone you know that needs to go to Mass, even to the 6:30 am Mass!  They may end up hating you or loving you, but I guarantee you they won't feel lukewarm about you. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lk 18:35-43 The Dumb Question

Monday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

By KIM ELENEZ

Many of you probably grew up in a Catholic house. Lots of family, life structured in and around the church. Someone, a parent perhaps, taught you how to read a hymn and what to do during mass. I did not. I grew up in a loving home, although church was not a part of our lives. We celebrated Christmas and Easter, which were each more a celebration of gift giving than of God’s majesty. Please don’t feel bad for me. The good part was ahead.
 
As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
 
In today’s gospel, we hear the story of the blind man who’s faith saved him. I love this story! For I, too, was the blind one. For years I sat on the side of the road, asking myself “where are all these people going?”. Puzzled I would do my best to watch and see, but I was blind. I was too proud and insecure to inquire about what was happening. So instead, I walked around thinking I would fake until I make it. Surely I can figure out where all these people are going if I just observe enough!
 
I was afraid to ask the simplest question, because if I did they would know that I didn’t have the answer. My ignorance would expose me. I would be embarrassed and ashamed. Little did I know that this dumb question was the single most important question any human can ask, because the answer will save your life. The answer is Jesus Christ.  Such a simple question with a simple answer, yet so complex for our human brains.
 
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!” Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
 
I went on like this for years, playing with various non-Catholic churches on my own, until my husband introduced me to Catholicism. There I learned that not only is it important to ask questions, but it is our duty to do so as we glorify God. The Catholic Church has given us the gift of the Catechism, so all these questions have a resource. It can be heady stuff, but it’s all right there. I recently heard a speaker refer to the Catechism as a guidebook for humans. Yep, sounds right.
 
Jesus had been in my life all my life, but I refused to humble myself to see Him there. My lack of education and abundance of pride and insecurity kept me from asking and re-asking those people the question – what is happening over there?
 
Please keep this in mind when talking to your non-Catholic or fallen-away Catholic friends and family. They simply don’t know what’s happening; they are blind. And don’t think that just giving them the Catechism will do the job. More likely they will need to personally experience Christ, then they will be able to appreciate the comfort of all that He teaches.
 
And don’t be afraid to ask the dumb questions for yourself (hint: the old saying is true, there are no dumb questions!). Humble yourself and put your vulnerability on the line. Because once we do, perhaps we will starting asking the really good questions like - “what do you want me to do for you, Lord?”.
 
 
 
This meditation was written by Kim Elenez, wife, mother and media executive in Raleigh, NC. Kim converted to Catholicism in 2012.

Lk 18:35-43 What Do You Want From Me?

Monday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

By KATIE GROSS

As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”

I have to admit that when I read this reading, I was stumped. How could I be stumped, you may ask? This is such an exciting part of the Bible—a miraculous healing! A poor man, spared against all odds and against public opinion! Nevertheless, I couldn’t think of which angle to take. It wasn’t “clicking” with me, and meanwhile, Father’s blog post loomed large at the bottom of my Sunday homework pile, the entire pile remaining untouched until the last minute (although, let’s be serious, that’s not unusual). Anyway, I decided to ask some of my youth group friends tonight, and of course, they gave me something good right away. One of my friends asked the best question I had heard—“Why did Jesus ask the blind man what he needed if he clearly knew all along? What is that supposed to mean?” That was gold!!!

What do you want me to do for you? That is a great question that my friend posed. Why does Jesus, the all-knowing King of heaven and earth, have to ask this question to the blind man?

I went to a baptism this morning of one of my family members. The whole event had me reflecting on my own baptism all day. What a great gift, to be received into the Church and adopted as one of God’s children! Baptism is a great gift that God wants to give us—He wants to take us in as a member of His family and cleanse us of our sin. When my friend posed this question to me about Jesus asking questions, the words from the baptismal liturgy rang in my head: “What do you ask of God’s Church?” Imagine-- Well, I don’t know, Father So-and-so, I just walked in this church all dressed up with my extremely loud, Italian extended family for some good fun, and I dressed my infant (who always manages to make a mess of their clothing) in a white dress just for the thrill of it. But I don’t know what I ask of God’s Church. Sassy, maybe, but it proves my point. This question in Baptism is seemingly easily answered. Why do we ask it, then?

Or, consider some stories from the Bible (this is coming right out of my theology class—another case of great timing for this blog post). When Adam and Eve commit the world’s first sin, why does God question them about it? He knows full well what they did, but still he asks them, “Where are you? Why are you hiding? What have you done?” Why does He ask questions that He knows the answer to? Or consider Cain and Abel! “Where is your brother?"

Another story on this topic. This is a story that I told the freshman from my high school on their retreat this year. Shortly after I entered Catholic schools, I was presented the opportunity to go to Confession for the first time in a very long time. I had been one of those hyper-intellectual, rebellious children who are crazy in their own mind but yet not daring enough to get in any serious trouble—I am sure you know one. Still, there were a lot of things to confess. Of course, I was the last one in line because I nearly chickened out. The class period ended right before I was supposed to go, and I thought that was my ticket out, but then my theology teacher came to me and asked, “Katie, the priest is willing to stay for you. Do you still want to confess?” Ugh!!!! I was all the more petrified that I had to verbally commit to going, but thanks be to God I said yes. I have no doubt that God placed that question there for a purpose. Why would he ask, though, if He knew the intentions of my heart?

Another consideration-- have you ever gone through a rough patch in your spiritual life that seemed to never end until you finally realized you were the one at fault? Maybe you weren’t praying enough. Maybe you had stumbled into some fault unknowingly. Then, God made you realize what you were doing wrong through some kind of prompting that He placed in your life or on your heart. Why did God make you wait to realize what you were doing wrong? Why did God make you experience the sting of realizing that you were at fault?

Back to the central question: Why does God ask us questions or prompt us if He knows what is on our hearts?

Lord, please let me see. God asks us questions because He wants us to have to express our need for Him. He wants us to verbally confess our sins and shortcomings, to ask him for help, to acknowledge that we are in need of Him. If God were to come and fix everything in our lives without letting us see and acknowledge our need for Him, how would we learn? In Baptism, we acknowledge our need of the sacrament as powerless children in need of salvation. In Confession, we come before a priest in humility and acknowledge our sins to God, who already knows them fully. In the same way, God questioned Adam and Eve and Cain because He wanted them to fully own up to what they had done. We are the ones who need to actively confess our need and acknowledge our limitations. God reaches out to us in more ways than we will ever be able to realize on this Earth—it is only fitting that God prompts us to reach out to Him in our walk with Him.

Let’s pray that this week we will be aware of the questions and promptings of God in our lives.