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, October 10, 2010

Luke 17:11-19 Gratitude that Renews

Luke 11: 27-28 Gratitude That Renews

(Click here for readings)

The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power (Ps 98:2b). What is the Lord's saving power? His humility.

Lord, cleanse me from self-love.

I have some tough words for today. So I ask that you pray with me, "Create in me Lord, a humble heart so that I may see in you the good and bad that shapes my heart to be more like you. I beg you to fill my heart with the power of humility, so that when I am weak, then I am strong."

A few days ago I gave a talk to a group of eighth graders in regards to bullying. I began my discourse with my customary “Shock Therapy!” The first thing I told them is that all (yes, I used an absolute here), ALL middle school students are selfish! I looked around and said once again, “That’s right, SELFISH!” - full of oneself, full of insecurities, full of entitlement, but definitely not full of grace.

I was amazed at their reaction. All of them, with the exception of one (there always has to be one), sat there, in the room, in silence. Some even began to nod their head in agreement. Only one made a slightly sarcastic remark: “thanks a lot.” I told my beautiful students – they really are beautiful because there is so much potential for good – “You all want to be loved, but you’re not willing to do what it takes to be loved. You’re not willing to love.” I continued, “You all want to be adored. You want people to ask you for your autograph, but you’re not willing to adore them. You want people to recognize your accomplishments, but you’re not willing to recognize theirs.”

This is the reason for so many teenagers getting into so much trouble. This is the number one reason why teenage suicides are on the increase across the nation: They want to be loved, but are unwilling to love. They are not willing to do what it takes to be loved: Forgive and Give. Most kids simply don’t know. It’s not part of the public school curriculum. So, in a very perverse way, they prefer to take their life rather than to lay it down.

There are many among us who are no longer teenagers but continue to live the teenager nightmare of bullying. They continue to look for love in all the wrong ways and places. The Lord taught us that tremendous love is paid for at a tremendous price. If you want to be loved by all, then you have to give it all.

At the end of my discourse and discussion with the kids, I received many requests for my autograph! It was a happy ending. It was a good day that day. They were all very grateful to me for being very clear and honest with them. Then I realized something. It is so easy to be grateful towards people who build us up. It’s not so easy to be grateful to those who tear us down in order to build us up stronger and better. But when I can see through my pride, when I allow this to happen, I am definitely on the road to recovery, to renewal.

St. Paul tells us, “This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him; we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. If we deny him he will deny us. If we are unfaithful he remains faithful.” The Lord scourges the sinner; the Lord heals the sinner. The Lord chastises the sinner; the Lord loves the sinner. Let us be grateful for the bouquet of flowers and for the slap in the face. Both are necessary for the salvation of man.

Several hundred people were divided into three different groups. One group was asked to record their daily events in a dairy. Another was asked to record unpleasant experiences. The last group wrote down on a daily basis what they were grateful for. The results: The last group had higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination and energy.

I wonder how many in the last group were grateful for tough or difficult experiences. Maybe not today, but later on those in the third group may wish to modify their list. We cannot always understand everything at that very moment. I will forever be grateful to those in my life that knocked me down and built me up. All roads lead to Rome. All roads lead to Christ. All roads lead to truth and love. It is in the “good times and the bad times” that I discovered the source of joy and happiness: Loving, Forgiving and Giving. My vocation.

Lord, open our hearts to a heart like yours, a humble heart. Help us to accept the good that unites us to you and the bad that brings us back to you. All glory, all honor is yours Almighty Father forever and ever. Amen.


  1. Father Alfonse,
    Thank you very much! Your words ring true and resonate in my heart. Daily I seek to be filled with the love of Christ, to give love to others, to have a love that gives purpose to all my actions. Yet, somehow I do not think I am as full of Christ’s love as I should, or could be. Something still seems absent. And today when I was reading what you wrote I was thinking perhaps it is because there is not enough room in my heart. Perhaps the corner of my heart where I sometimes allow resentment and self-pity to live is where Christ is trying to move in. Jesus looked at Judas with the world's most selfless love, and forgave him. Jesus hung on the cross and forgave the Good Thief, promising him eternal happiness. AND as he hung from the cross, he said, "Father, forgive them for they not what they do." To those who betrayed Him, destroyed Him, refused His love, he offered forgiveness. I see in my own life if I want to be really, truly, completely filled with love of God, than one I must daily forgive those who have betrayed me. I must seek to let go of all of my resentments. DAILY. Than, perhaps, the Lord will have more room to work in my soul...
    Have blessed day Fr. Alfonse!

  2. Dear Fr. Alfonse,
    Please continue to preach the truth! We all need it so badly, and it is so good to have a courageous priest to love us enough to challenge us to live a truly Christ-filled life, even if it involves a slap in the face. A wounded ego is better than a fallen away soul. You are such a blessing. We are praying for you!

  3. Dear Fr. Alfonse,

    I want to thank you for the times during Spiritual Direction that you "knocked me down" and helped to build me into the person God wants me to be.

    It was painful at the time and my pride often got in the way and prevented me from seeing the Truth. But with much prayer, your guidance and the Sacrament of Confession I came to see the light.

    For this I will be forever grateful!!

  4. "It’s not so easy to be grateful to those who tear us down in order to build us up stronger and better. But when I can see through my pride, when I allow this to happen, I am definitely on the road to recovery, to renewal."

    I can absolutely positively attest to this statement, the WHOLE thing!

    It wasn’t that long ago that I got to experience this exact scenario and although it was definitely the most painful thing I have ever heard from another person about myself, it did put me on the right road and in the fast track to recovery. I am definitely grateful to him and to God for not making it a slow agonizing process. No, it was a cut your guts open, rip out the defects, and hand them to you on a platter, leaving you with a gaping wound, all without anesthesia. But it is now ‘almost’ completely healed.

    Now that the shock of it has faded and my pride swallowed, I can say I am grateful because it was a loving act regardless of how difficult it was and it did kick my journey along the spiritual path to God into high gear! Even had it not been a loving act, I believe there would be fruit because God always brings good out of everything. I might not have been grateful as quickly, but I truly believe I would get there eventually. Not because I am a great loving, forgiving Christian, (unfortunately I am far from being that), but because He is great and He has a track record with me of always, always, always turning bad into good.

    Would I want to go through it again? No, but I would willingly go through it again and be grateful about it knowing that it would get me that much closer to spending eternity with Him. … Just not today, please:)

    My advice: Be careful what you pray for and when He answers, no matter how He answers, be grateful!
    And being more patient than I am, will allow Him to be gentler with His reply.

  5. I have a situation with a friend and I hope they will please forgive me. I am grateful for their honesty. I hope and pray they know it was never my intention to cause them any pain or temptation. What I held in my heart i should have kept in my heart. However, when I saw my friend in pain I freaked. Besides praying for my friend, because i am a problem solver (which I know i needed to leave to God to solve for my friend) I wanted to solve/cure their problems and to let them know that someone cared about them. I saw words like rejection & betrayal and I really did freak! I did not know my friend well enough to understand them and what they were going through was just how they processed information. This is the truth. I know I have issues to work on and I will. I really hope and pray we can recover this friendship.
    My friend wants me to be honest. This is not fighting evil with evil...i just don't have that in me, this is pure honesty.
    The is the Truth for my friend. As I spent more time with my friend I saw a pattern develop and I should have told my friend the truth when I saw it...I almost did one day when they were answering a text from a friend in the hospital, i then noticed this pattern was just not with me. I hope and pray this pattern has stopped, but I am worried. I saw another friends reaction this past week as she spoke of my friend, the gleam in eye and her knowing everything about my friend since she is dealing with my friend right now really worried me. I should have said something sooner to my friend, but I was scared for the reaction i might get from my friend. I knew that my friend has a tendacy to lash out. One time even abstractly telling me to go to hell and then asked me to pray for them. I have peace and will hold everything in my heart and pray for my friend because I am very thankful for all they do. And I really hope they forgive me.


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