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!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Luke 21:12-19 Persecuted!

Luke 21: 12-19 Persecuted!

(Click here for readings)

On November 1st, 2010, All Saints Day, nearly 50 Christians killed in Iraq, including two priests. What was their crime? Attending Mass in a Syriac Catholic Church. Islamic terrorists entered and killed. They want all Christians out. Now!

John Boehmer, the new House Speaker, condemned this latest atrocity towards Christians. He said, “This attack occurred during Sunday Mass, just as the congregation rose to recite, “Upon this rock, I will build my church.” As a Catholic, as someone raised to cherish life and defend its sanctity, it is difficult to contemplate the twisting of the human soul required to shatter that peace and commit such a senseless act. It’s even more difficult to summon the restraint required to ease the trembling such hatred provokes. The enemy keeps innocents of all faith in its sights.”

In August, men and women affiliated with a Christian non-government organization working to provide eye care to people in remote and destitute areas of Afghanistan were executed in cold blood by the Taliban. Only their interpreter, who began reciting verses from the Koran, was spared.

Finally, yesterday, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman sentenced to death for allegedly blaspheming Mohammed was released from prison following an international outcry that included a specific plea on her behalf from the Holy Father. Bibi, 45, was charged a year ago for blaspheming Mohammad in a conflict with fellow farm workers. She was sentenced to death earlier this month. To be a Christian in Pakistan means to be at risk on a daily basis. All it takes is to be accused of blasphemy. I am sure she will be escorted out of the country before a raging mob get their hands on her.

Has the Lord changed his ways? The Psalmist worries, "This is what causes my grief; that the way of the Most High has changed" (Ps 77: 11). Has his loved vanished? Has his promise come to an end? Are Christians around the world being persecuted because they deserve it? Is the Lord upset with us? Is he upset with me? Why all this persecution? St. Paul laments, "For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered!" (Rm 8:36)

No. The ways of the Lord have not changed. How fitting the words of the Lord, “They will seize you and persecute you” regardless of where you are or what you are doing. We know that there is no other way. “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15:20). We tend to believe that the persecution is over. It’s not. The names of our persecutors may change from Romans to Taliban, but the degree of Christian persecution remains the same in the Middle East as well as in other parts of the world. Why are we being persecuted? To give testimony to the power of God.

Even in our beloved country, hatred, bitterness, resentment, ridicule and scorn are daily realities for many of us. In the work place, I know of a few that feel the heat whenever there is a discussion around Catholicism and the Holy Father in particular. You can get a taste of some of it from the comments that are left in some MSN articles.

As Christians we are taught to imitate our Lord; to love our enemies. We are also taught to give reasons for our faith. All this persecution can serve the Lord because it can lead us to give testimony for our God.

Today, I will give testimony for my faith. While I am reading some article, I will leave a comment in defense of the Holy Father, in defense of my Catholic faith and in defense of my King and Savior. I will not let a comment go unchallenged. The Lord does not necessarily want us to be prepared, but to pray beforehand, “for I [the Lord] shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute."


  1. Thank you Father for reminding us that we must stand up for our Catholic Faith here and now.

    Matthew 10:32-33 says,” Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

    I know how uncomfortable ‘they’ can make us feel when our Faith is attacked. I grew up in the Bible belt, where I constantly felt like a freak for being Catholic and was persecuted for it.

    At the time, I didn’t know how to defend my faith or even that I could, so I remained silent while in my heart, I felt shame because I couldn’t defend the Church and believing that maybe they were right. I didn’t know. I thought “There were more of them than me, they must be right after all, I guess”.

    This was in school. At the time there were no resources to learn the faith, not that I knew of, not even in our parish! So when I was a young adult and I was thinking, “Their arguments sound plausible, after all” and I was thinking of going to one of those “Bible” churches, where the people were so excited about their faith that they shared it openly. I never heard any Catholic share anything about the Catholic Faith. I’m not even sure I heard it in CCD. The only thing I can remember my mom saying growing up was that the Catholic Church was the True Church with Peter it’s foundation on earth, whatever that meant and that “they” interpreted the Bible themselves to make it mean whatever they wanted it to mean. I had no clue what she meant and I never asked and she never offered. I don’t think she knew.

    In this day and age we are so blessed to have all the resources that are available on the internet, radio and TV, not to mention books and speakers that go about this country catechizing us. There is no reason for anyone in America in 2010, not to know what the Church teaches even when their parish priest doesn’t know or doesn’t share, (unless they live under a rock).

    That being said, I am shocked when talking to someone at some church event, how many ‘good, involved Catholics’ don’t know the basics and cannot defend the faith in any intelligent way and do not take the time to ‘seek the truth’.

    I have no doubts that there are plenty who read this blog who fit into that category. You don’t have to raise your hand, but please, LEARN YOUR FAITH!! When you don’t know the faith and are challenged or ridiculed and you DO NOTHING or run away with your tail tucked between your legs, you are hurting the Church. You are causing scandal.

    I know those are tough words and I imagine there is a nicer, more politically correct way to say it, so if you are offended at my words, Get Over It and learn your faith so you can defend and safeguard the Truth. Or at least save yourself from Jesus’ denial of you before The Father.

    I’m saying this for your own good! Our Church needs every soul in ‘the battle’ against the evil one who seeks to bring ‘The Body of Christ’ down, even when opposed by those Christians who only posses 1/3 of the Truth.

    I am proud to be a member of The Church that is persecuted and hated so fiercely. That means I am in the right place!

  2. As we head into the holidays, we will encounter, not only those in our families, but co-workers, friends and acquaintances who are anti-Catholic, Cafeteria Catholics, Luke Warm Catholics and the newest term I’ve learned, CEO Catholics (Christmas and Easter Only).

    "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household.'”

    These are strong words, but He said them.

    I invite all who claim to be Catholic Christians, the ‘Originals Christians’, to share and defend the most precious gift Jesus left us, our Catholic Faith, with those who are ignorant of the Truth.

    If you don’t know how to respond, get some ‘facts’ about the most attacked doctrines of the Church and be prepared. There is plenty on the internet and little books that you can read in a very short time and even have as a reference where ever you go.

    There really is no excuse not to defend The Church that Christ left us!

    Arm yourself with the FACTS about the latest scandal that the media has caused about what the Pope said about condoms, which will be a favorite topic for those who persecute the Church in the days and weeks ahead.

    I love the Catholic Church and I am willing to die for her, (At least right now while I don't have a gun to my head), I heard it was a straight shot to heaven!

    Does this count as a comment, Father?

  3. Fr. Alfonse,
    You once asked the young adult ministry “Why do you think Jesus had to die on the Cross for our sins?” As I reflected on this question I realized that he didn’t have to die on the cross. He chose to honor his Father, our Father, by living out the truth even if it meant death.
    We will always have temptations in our lives and have people persecuting us for trying our best to live out the truth. With this said we too are asked to be still and allow the lord to fight for us even if that means being persecuted for doing the right thing. What we do not see until hindsight is the impact we have on others for standing up for what is true. It’s not an easy road and there will be suffering because we are going against the flow of worldly ideas but our treasure is much greater.
    I am convinced that the Christians in Iraq need to stay put, even if it means dying for their faith. Dying for what they believe in will have a greater impact in the long run just as Jesus did. Jesus didn’t tell his apostles to run so they would not be persecuted. Jesus could have left if he wanted to save himself. What would have been the message had he ran from truth?
    Life is tough sometimes. Things do not always turn out how you want them to but working through hard times makes you stronger. Finding happiness in suffering shows strength and is very hard to do. I look forward to reading more of your posts Fr. Alfonse.

  4. I'm so glad you said something about all the hatred, bitterness, resentment, and mockery that is so often put towards us!! As I read these news articles about the Holy Father's most recent comments, I despise the opinion sections more than the misconstrued articles. It breaks my heart to feel so attacked, to see our holy priests talked about so terribly, and to know that there is so much anger out there! Against my Church- my family, and everything we stand for and believe in! Sometimes I feel like my comments would do no good. Those places are hostile and narrow-minded. But I will think twice about commenting next time, for God deserves an attempt and can do amazing things with a small action. We do need to defend and testify... you're right.

    What is even more sad to me is knowing that even our own friends and families do not understand what it means to love unconditionally. To love our enemies. If we are presumptuous and suspicious of everyone around us, we judge and refuse to trust others, what way is that to live?? My own parents, my own siblings, refuse to trust the goodness of people. Their paranoia and fear has blinded them from being able to love fully. So afraid for themselves, their safety, and their well-being, they trust their judgments and condemnations because "that's the way society is" instead of trusting God to protect and provide.

    Microcosms, really. Comment and forum boards... our own families... all of a larger picture of the disfunctional world where we trust no one. Your post today reminded me that "perfect love casts out all fear." Thanks, Father. I'm clinging to that.

  5. Wonderful Meditation Father!

    Defending the church is my passion. Since I am a convert, I have the fire, knowledge that some "cradle" catholics lack. We call CEO Catholics, CHREASTERS, a combination of Christmas and Easter.

    I will never forget the feeling of yearning to receive Jesus in the gift of the Eucharist. RCIA is a long process! I had to wait months and months! Oh, the joy, peace I felt during the Easter Vigil, finally receiving our Lord! When I went through RCIA and listen to the Priest give the talk on transubstantiation, that beautiful miracle that happens upon that Holy alter...that was it! That was the day He had me, forever!

    But it is not only the Eucharist but all aspects of my faith. Including defending the Pope, the 7 Sacraments, The Saints, defending the sanctity of life "from the womb to the tomb"! My spouse and I fervently believe this! We are even open to adding to our brood! :)

    And of course our Holy men and women...the brave who sacrifice their personal lives to bring Jesus to us. Has anyone ever noticed how beautiful the hands of a priest are? That is one of the first things I look at on a priest! Those beautiful, Holy hands!

    And it not just priests that are called to defend our church, all are called! I have become a little rusty...I think it is time to refresh my knowledge of my faith so I can defend it!

    God Bless Father! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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