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, December 12, 2010

Mt 11:2-11 In Times of Trouble

Mt 11:2-11 In Times of Trouble

(Click here for readings)

Lord, increase my faith for I long to see your face!

St. John reminds us today that sometimes when you do what is right, good and holy, you will get punched in the face.

Just a few days ago I was racing to get to the Highlands to celebrate Mass. I made a big mistake. I took the busiest highway in Dallas at the wrong time! I said a prayer and went for it: I went inside the HOV lane! I went for it. I made it through alive, and on time.

I love St. John the Baptist because he was a man of courage and strength. But even the strongest men, the holiest men, the bravest men go through times of doubt and struggle. “Are you the One?” was his question but not really the question. The question that was really in his heart was this: “Was it all worthwhile?” Did I live a worthy life? Did I do what I was supposed to do? Did l live more for others than for myself? St. John was not loved by the Lord because he was a dog - he never complained. He is loved because he took off his mask and showed his humanity.

St. John was afraid. We are afraid. The First Sunday of Advent is a time of observation. The Second Sunday of Advent is a time of preparation. This Sunday is the time to “get moving.” Start walking towards the star! If I want to increase my faith I must take a leap of faith. It is at this moment that someone becomes a superhero, superhuman, an evolved human being – a human being at his best: A Saint!

St John went out on a limb. We go out on a limb, but then we work our way back. That’s the problem. We don’t know how to manage getting crushed, beaten and ripped apart. Isaiah, the prophet, reminds us; “Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return” (Is 35:10). St. James tells us, “Be patient, brothers and sisters, take as an example of hardship and patience the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (Jas 5:10). We have all been called to do great things, but we have forgotten part of the formula that includes great hardship and difficulty. A local Baptist Church has a sign outside its doors that proclaims, "Christ paid the price in full. No change required." So when Jesus said, "Pick up your cross and follow me. What did he mean? Or, "If they hated me, they will hate you." The devil is the first that would love for us to sit down and do no work.

This year I received on the parish Emergency line a phone call from a desperate man seeking a priest to anoint his uncle who was severely burned in a house fire. I called him back and let him know I had done the anointing. He was very grateful. I was amazed to find out that he had called from California. He had searched for Catholic Churches and took a shot at ours. His relatives never even thought about calling a priest. He was concerned about his uncle’s soul, not his body. He went for it and his faith saved his uncle’s soul.

I remember early on in my priesthood visiting an elderly man at the request of his family and asking him if he wanted the anointing of the sick. He said, “No.” I asked him, “Why? What’s your problem?” He told me, “I can’t move and I want to die.” I asked him if he could move his hands or arms. He said no. I then proceeded to anoint him. I was much more ignorant at that time than I am now. But although he was upset (I told him he could sue me in heaven!) He later was relieved and died a short time later.

This Sunday the Lord is asking us to take a leap of faith; to start moving; to go after the star and see why it is there. I will tell you what will happen: your life will never be the same again. Just like all those who have encountered the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, strength and will: they found peace in turmoil.

3 comments:

  1. “Did I live a worthy life? Did I do what I was supposed to do? Did l live more for others than for myself?”

    Today, these questions hit home with me. I have been lamenting over something that the Lord asked me to do, that I did not want to do, but did, out of obedience, love and a little bit of fear.

    The thing He asked me to do was to be a messenger for Him. I had to deliver messages to someone that may make this person believe I was doing it out of revenge instead out of love for him, the souls it would affect and my trust in and my love of God. I was more concerned for the way I would be perceived than I was for the way God was using it to help this person which would impact many others down the road. (Because it wasn’t a welcomed message). I was not thinking wow! God wants to use me to help others. I was thinking, Lord, please don’t make me do this.

    He did make it easy though. He made the opportunity, he gave me the words and he even allowed it to be anonymous. I’m not so sure about the anonymous part. He confirmed to me over and over, that this was what He wanted. Believe me I negotiated and begged Him and even stayed up one whole night trying to get out of it, but no, I had to do it. So I did.

    I have been wondering in the back of my mind if this person is angry with me instead of trusting that God’s plan will work for His good and I just need to let go and quit worrying about myself.


    “We have all been called to do great things, but we have forgotten part of the formula that includes great hardship and difficulty.”

    As I read further down the page today, the above sentence brought the whole dilemma to a head. I have to accept the difficulty and possible loss of whatever it is I’m afraid of losing in this situation. What do I really have to lose anyway? The relationship is gone. I can’t do anything about what this person thinks of me and I’m not going to get my head cut off.

    So I will continue to do what the Lord tells me or at least try. I will stick with this ‘project’ as long as He asks. I will try to push through the vanity of worrying about what is thought of me and I will trust that God’s plan is perfect even if I am not.

    Thank you Lord for the opportunity to do great things for You and to suffer while I do it.

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  2. "The devil is the first that would love for us to sit down and do no work"

    Well, I guess that answers the question I was thinking right before I read your blog this morning! "Can I go back to bed for just a bit since the kids and hubby are gone and we didn't really have any time off this weekend?" Fr. Alfonse, sometimes your blogs are almost scary in that they very frequently address whatever is actually going on in my life at that very moment. Amazing how the Holy Spirit works...I don't just believe in miracles, I depend on them daily! Keep up the great writing!! Stay strong. We pray for you daily.

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  3. I like what you did with the man who couldn't move and was about to die, and the way you asked him first if he could move his hands or arms. hahaha I feel I should apologize for laughing since I should be serious and compassionate and all, but I'm not ridiculing him, my laughter is saying "good on you, padre", I guess I can relate to you with my own experiences with my daughters- me a parent/mom, you a priest/father... I laugh each time I think about your story.sorry. I think if I were a priest I would be like that.The old man was acting like a child who didn't know what was best for him, and you were acting like his father who did what was best for him. In the end, the father was right.

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