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!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Bar 4:5-12, 27-29 On Eagles' Wings

Saturday of the Twenty Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

"Fear not, my children; call out to God! He who brought this upon you will remember you. As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God, turn now ten times the more to seek him; For he who has brought disaster upon you  will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.”

Today's first reading from the Book of Baruch reminds me of the hymn "On Eagles Wings":

And he will raise you up on eagles' wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of his hand.

What comfort to know that Our Lord is present, guiding and molding us.  He holds us in the palm in his hand as he shelters us from harm.  Do not worry about falling down; the Lord lifts up.  Do not fret about being alone; the Lord is a loyal companion.  Do not worry about death; the Lord grants eternal life to all who believe and follow His Will.

Back in junior high school,  our principal asked students to submit ideas for a new school motto.  The winner of the contest received a movie theater gift card and recognition during morning announcements....

My mom and I spent a weekend brainstorming ideas.   We wanted to use the school mascot, an eagle, in the motto. I remember we stopped by a local Shell gas station to fill up my mom's old '85 Ford Thunderbird.  Noticing the word "excellence" on the gas station sign, I turned to my mom saying: "Oh, what about using the words Eagle excellence!?"  She thought it was an "excellent" idea.  By the time we filled up the gasoline tank, the new motto was created:  Experience the Eagle Excellence.   It sounded pretty darn good.  Yet, I convinced myself another student would come up with a better motto.  No way within an eagle's eye would I win the contest!

A few weeks later, I sat in 2nd period when the school motto contest winner was announced:  "And our new school motto is Experience the Eagle Excellence by Jennifer Burgin!"  My first reaction involved the instinctive cringe after hearing my last name mispronounced! However,  I quickly recovered feeling excitement as well as surprise.  Who knew my motto was a winner? I remember how proud my mom was after I told her the news.  She bragged to all of her coworkers and friends for weeks afterwards. 

I often wonder if that school motto is still in use so many years later...

We can allow fear to take over our lives, keeping us away from the Church and the Sacraments.  The eagle is one of the largest birds in the world.  We may think we can never reach its beauty, magnificence, and stature.  We may assume that our littleness is a sign of worthlessness.  Howeverthis is so far from the truth.  Through our smallness we see a need for God.  We may even crave an intimate connection with the Lord, not fully understanding how such a bond can give us interior peace and joy!

Imagine flying on an eagle's wings seeing the vastness of the earth in all of its richness and beauty.  Let go of the anxiety and worry.  Snuggle up against the immense wings knowing that everything will be okay.  Nothing bad lasts forever when we have Christ and Our Blessed Mother close to the heart.

"I look upon myself as a weak little bird, with only a light down as covering.  I am not an eagle, but I have only an eagle's EYES AND HEART.  In spite of my extreme littleness I still dare to gaze upon the divine Sun, the Sun of Love, and my heart feels within it all the aspirations of an eagle."

-Saint Therese of Lisieux (Feast Day October 1st)

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

Friday, October 2, 2015

Luke 10:1-2 Find a Partner

Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.

“I love my faith.”

I saw that on the Facebook page and started smiling so much I thought my face would hurt. I couldn’t believe it—I had a Catholic friend! A Catholic friend!!!

There’s something so awesome about being able to talk about Catholic moral issues with someone who understands.  There’s something so amazing about sitting over tea with someone, talking about her excitement about seeing the pope in Philadelphia. It’s so nice to finally have someone who gets it.


On Wednesdays, I can go to Confession and tell everything I’ve thought about the entire week to the priest. He’s my partner in advancing and developing my faith.

The upperclassmen of University Catholic have so much to tell me about Catholicism and helping me grow in my faith. They’re my partners. They give books to me and hug me and make me feel like I’m part of one big Catholic family.

We’re all part of the Body of Christ. We’re his hands and his feet. And we have to have partners to make it when so many people haven’t heard about Christ and his amazing works. We can find these partners in the Catholic centers of universities, in the pro-life groups in high schools, and in the million and one groups in so many Catholic churches. So make an effort. Find your partner and start evangelizin’! Because “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few…”, and we have so much work to do.

Hg 1: 3-8 Eat and Be Satisfied

Thursday if the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


Now thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
You have sown much, but have brought in little;
you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;
You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated;
have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed;
And whoever earned wages
earned them for a bag with holes in it.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
Go up into the hill country;
bring timber, and build the house
That I may take pleasure in it
and receive my glory, says the LORD.

We stood in the kitchen of Frassati house at 1:30 AM. “Hail Mary, full of grace…” It had been over a month since college started, and I still could not believe the amazing nature of the people around me. Two other girls and four guys in love with their faith stood, heads bowed, around the kitchen island. It was 1:30 AM in the morning, and we prayed.

Sometimes I’m worried that college isn’t going so well. After I received a 53 on my math test, this thought was confirmed. What was I doing wrong? I had spent hours on math. I had prayed to St. Augustine to help me on the math proofs. I had read the notes twenty times. And then, suddenly, my face smiled and almost not even realizing it, I said “Sophie! Your life is awesome.”
I shocked myself.

But my life really is awesome. I’m eighteen years old, I have a plan for world domination of University Catholic, and I’m learning so much in my math class and biology seminar. My math professor is willing to help me reach a B in his class. The group of University Catholic freshmen is growing. I’m still in touch with most of the friends I made at orientation, and I’ve even started tutoring and teaching violin lessons! And suddenly I thought of how much I was neglecting to count my blessings.

In the reading, Jesus says that we have “eaten, but not been satisfied.” This has happened to me so many times. When I began my freshman year of high school, I thought “Four more years til I’m out of this place! Let’s go!” And suddenly it was three more years, then two, then a year and a half, and finally, days, and I sat in my kitchen and cried because I didn’t want to leave home. The tile floor was cold and my mum was only half-sympathetic until she turned as cold as the floor and told me, “Sophers, be an adult. You’re going away to college. You’re going to be fine.” Talk about tough love.

But I have to remember all my blessings, and I have so many. There’s my lovely floormate who invited me to breakfast with her family when I grew so homesick that I hugged someone else’s sisters. There’s the slow mornings when I can play music and get dressed and I’m not rushed for the 8:10 AM. There’s the beautiful walk to campus—so many trees!—and the huge smile the upperclassmen in UCat always give me. I’ve waited four years to swing dance on top of a parking garage, play Murder in the Dark at 1:00 AM, and run across a lawn with the sprinklers on. I’ve waited four years to learn about Godel’s IncompletemessTheorem: there’s no limit to the human mind! I’ve waited so long and now’s my chance to eat and be satisfied.

So dear reader, eat and be satisfied.. Think about what you have right now, and if that’s hard, just start thinking about a delicious meal that you can make right now without having to go to a campus store. Start thinking, start counting, and then say a prayer to eat, and be satisfied.

Mk 9:38-48 Cut it Out!

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.  And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.  Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna... 

What in the world is the Lord talking about?  What's his problem?  Why are body parts flying all over the place?

One of the greatest sins.  Sin is deadly.  It kills wherever it goes.  We have to be cautious and attentive to its presence.  We need to go to Confession at least once a year in order to avoid it infecting our thoughts and words and spreading to our hands and feet. 

And what is the sin we hold so dear to our heart?  Let me share it with you in its most ugly -yet truest- expression:  I'm better than you.  I deserve more than you.

Of course most of us will never verbalize it quite like this, but make no mistakes: deep down we believe it. 

John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us."  Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him!" 

Cut it out!  Stop thinking your better than others!  Or that your more important than others!  Or that you are more powerful than others! 

In today's first reading, we read how two men were prophesizing without Moses' permission.  Moses tells the complaining parties, "Are you jealous for my sake?  Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!  Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!"

If you think your better than others, than cut it out!  Get rid of this sin before it devours you!!!  For it will.

St. James tells us (James 5:1-6) "Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impeding miseries.  Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like fire."

No wonder the Lord uses such visual examples.  Better to go to Heaven maimed than to Hell with all your body parts!

Pope Francis.  Why do so many people love Pope Francis?  Why are even some atheists happy to listen to him?  Why are there enormous crowds wherever he goes? 

What's his secret?

I'm so sick and tired of people saying to me, "The Pope's so humble!  Look!  He's going around in a Fiat 500!  He just wants to be like one of us." 


"Oh...look how cute he is.  He just loves to be around the homeless and to kiss sick children and visit prisoners.  He's just imitating what Jesus did.  He's so compassionate and loving!  He wants to make the unfortunate people feel very special!"

Not really.  The Pope isn't humble because he goes around in a Fiat 500.  He's humble because he is honest. 

I'm no different from you.  That's it!  That's what makes the Pope a genuine believer in Jesus Christ.  He truly, honestly, and openly admits that he is no better than any of us.

Why does the Pope constantly ask people - ordinary people - to pray for him?  Because he truly believes that their prayers are just as good as his.

Why does the Pope ride around in a Fiat 500?  Because he truly believes he's no better than we are.

Why does the Pope visit prisons and homeless shelters and eat with poor people and kiss disabled children?  Because he truly believes he's no more important than they are. 

Why does the Pope visit with a county clerk and a gay couple?  For exactly the same reasons Jesus met with critics and skeptics and Romans and Jews.   

That's it.  It's that simple...and that complicated.  And the only reason why the Pope confuses a lot of people is because they want him for their own selfish purposes or on their side!

World Meeting of Families.  The Pope came to the United States to celebrate the final Mass for the World Meeting of Families.

We all know just how important the family is to our Church and to our society, for family is the nucleus of society. 

Based on my own personal experiences - and on the experiences I have learned from other families - I can honestly say that children and their parents can help, support and encourage each other in the simplest of ways. 

To you, children.   Thank your parents.  Tell them "thank you" and "I love you."  Do this often.  These are not bad words.  These are beautiful and important words.  It's amazing just how much life and energy you give to your parents by saying these words.  Affirm them.  Show affection towards them. 

Don't forget their human too. 

To you, parents.  Right now there is a beautiful song out there that expresses what you need to do for your children.  It's right here.  Listen to it.  It's so important for them to know they have your unconditional - non-negotiable - support for them.  This is a must for their well-being and emotional and psychological development.  I repeat:  it's so important for them to know you have their back, especially if they are not as perfect or flawless as you think they may be or as strong as you would like them to be. 

The Pope, as Vicar of Christ and Papa, understands this at the human race level.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ps 137: 1-2,3,4-5,6 History Happened

Wednesday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
By Benedict Augustine

By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.”

The people of Israel were a defeated people, living in exile. They lost their homes, their pride, and (almosttheir God. They lived at the mercy of their conqueror, making their lives in the strange land of Babylon. Even though their tradition boasted of a great religion, one that was actually true and made sense compared to everything around them, and of great leaders like David and son Solomon, and great miracles like the crossing of the Red Sea, the reality around them continually reminded them that none of this existed anymore.

No one cared about the Israelites and their great history or their great destiny. At most, it could serve as a nice bit of entertainment for complacent pagan aristocrats. After hearing so many stories about divine bulls and promiscuous epic heroes, they wanted something new. Culturally speaking, the novelty of Jewish religion probably represented the only thing worthwhile to a people that surpassed them in everything else.

In the face of this oppression, the Israelites could do nothing more than remember. They desperately needed to remember, or else they would lose themselves. Many of them did indeed lose themselves. It was hard not to join the winners of that time, especially when their society promised so much pleasure for so little in return.

Then history happened. As Jesus warned St. Peter, “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword” (Mt 25:52). Babylon fell to the Persians. The Persians fell to the Greek/Macedonians. The Greeks split into the three Hellenistic kingdoms, which lasted until the Romans conquered them. When Rome finally became Christian, the region then fell under dominion of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Rome), and then fell to the Arabs soon after the rise of Islam. After passing through various dynasties (theUmmayad, the Abbasids, the Turks), it eventually became the place of the Ottoman Empire. After WWI, France and England took possession of the area before relinquishing it to the nations that exist there today. Even today, those nations are now falling under the onslaught of the Islamic State and Iran’s proxies.

The few Christians and Jews who remain in the area know this violent cycle all too well, and yet they continue to remember. Even as their churches burn, their people suffer crucifixions and torture, and their brethren abroad continue to shrug and panic about the rush of refugees and migrants—it didn’t occur to anyone that they might not want to die or become rape victims or slaves by staying—they refuse to leave their home and sing a different song.

Although one cannot predict the future of Christians in these war-torn, Islamist-ridden areas, one thing is certain: God’s justice will prevail. The savage brutality endured by these few martyrs who dare not “sing the song of the Lord in a foreign land,” will certainly earn them a place in Heaven. The calm passiveness of those who watch them die without doing anything, or turn away in revulsion, will certainly warrant some time in purgatory, if not hell.

This thought alone, the thought of God’s judgment, galvanized action of a whole host of men in the Crusades, who gave up everything to save their fellow Christians. They did not have drone planes, precision bombs, or satellite surveillance; they had ricketyships run by greedy Italians, uncomfortable chainmail and heavy lances, and unreliable maps sketched from the details of legends and hearsay. Most of them went to their deaths, and the few who returned often came back maimed, diseased, or both.

History will continue to happen, and as such, it will not vindicate these victims of the past. The Ancient Jews in Babylonian exile, the Crusaders of the Middle Ages, or the Christians living in the Middle East right now will never be remembered as anything but helpless props of an inferior culture—that is, if anyone cares to think of them at all. Those in comfort may think of them when they are bored and need something to prod them into caring about life again.

In the end, however, these people are the wise ones. They chose to remember the two most important things, God Almighty and their neighbor in need. In turn, God will remember them, as will the people who will know them in Paradise. They weep in misery and suffer ignominy now, but they will laugh with joy and experience eternal goodness later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lk 9:1-6 Living Lightly

Wednesday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
By Benedict Augustine

“Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.”

After spending so much time with His disciples, enlightening them on the gospel, guiding them by example, praying with them and for them, Jesus finally sends off the twelve to go and share the gospel with others. Asking them to take nothing extra and entrusting them with miraculous powers, Jesus has complete confidence in their ability to save souls in His name. The disciples presumably share the same confidence, never even looking back and wondering whether it might be wise to at least bring a little money for an inn should something not work. Apparently, they have left doubt behind along with all their other possessions.

How different this is from the daily departures people make today for their jobs! People insist on carrying so many things with them and think nothing of using all their spare hands and shoulders to holdanother bag, or strap, or cup, or handle. On top of this, they have their smartphones which themselvescarry a whole world of information and services. Far from exhibiting the breezy confidence of the disciples, most working adults are plagued with anxiety and doubtThey pack meals, wardrobes, reading materials, writing utensils, electronic equipment, cosmetics, rolodexes, and personal protection, all so that they can make it to the mailbox with peace of mind.

Besides turning people into beasts of burden, this doubt also turns people’s houses into storage units. Although some people might desire to possess things that will earn praise among visitors or that will offer lasting pleasure, more people simply desire to possess things because it makes them feel safe. The boxes of junk in the garage, the ugly furniture in the front room in the empty bedroom, the unused exercise machines covered with cobwebs and dust,the “survival food” bursting out of the pantry and cabinets, the heaps of tools for that one repair, and the toys that a child once played with so many decades ago, all go towards making a person feel secure and oriented.

Doubt and fear often drive consumption, and it is sin that drives this doubt and fear. Sin signifies absence, an absence of God and thus an absence of goodness.Sin empties the fullness of the inner life so that it can fill the settings of the outer life. In other words, the emptiness of sin will fill one’s life with things; the lack of goodness in the heart will create a surfeit of goods in the house. This is the meaning of materialism. Material goods stand in for truth (scientism), moral excellence (capitalism), or happiness (socialism).

As a person confesses his sins and recovers his soul, he will often confront this host of doubts that have accumulated in his heart—much like the junk that accumulate in the garage. With the sin removed, the foundation upholding this bad habit of acquisition and hoarding is exposed in all its ugliness. The truth is clear: all one really needs is God, and so many things one has come to depend are superfluous.

People today marvel at the recklessness of Jesus and His disciples simply starting their mission withoutgiving it a second thought. In order to rationalize this attitude, they think that Jesus only intended these twelve to do such a thing, not other Christians,or that he means this metaphorically; but it would make more sense to think that Jesus really intends this advice for all his followers and in a literal way in addition to a spiritual one.

All Christians should live light, and they should pack light as they leave their homes each day. Only this will open them up to their neighbor and create opportunities to share the gospel, a gospel whichstates that God will provide so the quest for things should not worry anyone. The simple life of a Christian disciple and the joy it brings can be powerful lure to those entangled with so many things. Most people are all too familiar with the stress and futility brought on my so many things. A good cleaning is in order.

Knowing this, Jesus sends all Christians out to free others as they free themselves.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lk 8:4-15 Rock, Paper, Scissors

Saturday of the Twenty Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

“This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation…..But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

As I prayed my Monday evening rosary, I contemplated today's gospel reading.  The parable of the seed sower is so familiar to us.  We read the story repeatedly throughout the liturgical year and teach it in faith formation classes. How can I approach it differently? 

Suddenly, an image came to mind:  Rock-paper-scissors!  Often I played this game as a kid.  The rock beats out scissors; paper beats out the rock; and the scissors beat out the paper.  Sometimes the rules didn't apply depending on who I exchanged hand signs with.  The "rock" tore apart the "paper" into shreds, or the "scissors" jabbed at the "rock" who had a "softer" composition.

I remember my 8th grade earth science teacher telling us that "Rocks are our friends!"  This always sounded so strange and funny.  I will never forget good old "Mr. J" because of those words.  I often wonder what ever happened to him.  

How could I be a friend with an ugly rock?  I mean, the "rock" in a game of RPS bullied over all of the other hand symbols. Furthermore, most rocks just sit there in the dirt taking up space.  They become deadly objects when they are tossed and thrown around.  Nobody likes driving on the road behind a gravel truck.  The wind blows out pebbles cracking windshields.  Plus, anyone planting  a garden understands the perils of digging up huge rocks in order to prepare the soil.  Rocks are more like inanimate enemies than hang-around pals.

From the perspective of the parable, sowing a seed in "rocky" soil doesn't bear good fruit.  The Word of God is heard and received in a phony-baloney joy.  Just pretend to believe in the Word, plant a seed in a soil full of rocks, and watch it do nothing:  No crescono!   No grow!  The rocky soil is  too malnourished and ill-cared for to produce anything of sustenance.

As we walk along the path of life, we may create our own version of Rock-paper-scissors. We clinch fists in the rock pose, turning toward anger, aggression, and violence to get what we want.  On the other hand, we grab a pair of scissors cutting away religion, integrity, honesty, and humility. We shoo away family members and friends who love us so much.  They see how we fail to live up to our full potential as we allow the addictions and immoral behaviors to leave us in perpetual misery.  Finally, we pull out  paper as we write suicidal notes addressed to God himself.  We are tired of living.  We are tired of the pain, poverty, guilty, and wretchedness of life.  We blame God for everything wrong with us!

Toss out the Rock-paper-scissors as a way of making decisions. Don't give in to the Devil playing tricks with the mind and heart. Turn toward Christ for divine advice. When we think of Jesus as our solid "rock" we suddenly understand how a rock can be our friend!   He loves us so very, very much.  He gives each one of us the precious seed of faith.  It's up to us to either plant the seed in rocky soil or rich soil.  Which one will you choose?

"What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we should reap in the harvest of action."  -Meister Eckhart

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