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, January 9, 2011

Matthew 3:13-17 Baptize Me and Aim at Me!

Matthew 3:13-17 Baptize Me and Aim at Me!

(Click here for readings)

I remember vividly a scene from the movie “Black Robe” in which a Jesuit priest is sent from France to evangelize the Huron Indians in French Quebec. Although his name is not St. Isaac Jogues or St. John de Brebeuf, the two Jesuit missionaries canonized by the Church, it is a story very similar to theirs. Along the journey, the missionary endures loneliness, trials, hardship, betrayal, starvation, capture, torture only to arrive to the mission where he finds one priest at the entrance of the Church dead, killed with an ax to his head. The Indians believed that the “black robes” were evil. When morning arrives, he goes out and rings the bell for morning Mass. To his surprise the indians come out from their teepees, lead by their chief, who asks the new black robe if he plans to stay with them. He responds, “Yes”. The Chief asks black robe a series of questions, which culminates in the ultimate question: “Do you love us?” After a great pause and after much reflection, he answers, “Yes.” Then the Chief demands from the priest, “Then baptize us.”

Thus begins the mission of the Church: to bring all her children, baptized by water and the Spirit, to eternal life.

Baptized in the Jordon. Make no mistake. The Lord’s blessings are abundant. His mercy endures forever. His graces are overflowing. John baptized in the Jordon because he wanted plenty of water and people. All are welcomed. All are invited to change their lives for good, to be part of the body of Christ, his bride, his Church. We expect so little from God. We ask not for the greatest gifts but for superficial blessings: health and wealth for our children and maybe even for ourselves. And yet, the Lord’s blessings are like a river, ready to consume us in the most profound manner of my very being. We have built small chapels for daily Mass. Why? Because we expect fewer people! The Lord does not think small. He thinks in large, massive, life size scales. All Churches should be filled to capacity and they would be if we shared with others what the Lord has done for us. The Lord was prepared to accept all. He was more than ready for them during his life time. All they needed to do was follow Him.

I should be baptized by you. The Lord came from Heaven to earth to be with us. But that wasn’t enough for the Lord. He wanted to identify with us, so he became a man. But that too wasn’t good enough for the Lord. So what did he do? He got in line with us! He became one with us. The Lord wants to share my life with his – all of it! It is better than a marriage because when a man and a woman get married, they get married when things are beautiful, good, wonderful, exciting and full of hope! The Lord gets to marry us when we are old and poor, dirty and filthy in sin, sick and estranged. For Him, this is the best time to marry us, when we are at our lowest moment. John was absolutely right; the Lord should have baptized him. But instead, the Lord was baptized by John. The Lord makes himself a target. He makes himself a hero on our behalf. The six people killed in Arizona were much fewer than the assassin had hoped for because two individuals became targets. They knocked him down so that others could live. They made themselves a target so that others would be saved.

Finally John reminds us of a forgotten virtue : the buck stops here. He tells the Lord, "I should be baptized by you." How often do we hide our sins by blaming others for our sinfulness? Allow the buck to stop with you. Take responsibility for your own actions. Stop blaming others.

Allow the Lord to make you His target and be forgiven, and to become a target for others: to forgive them, so that souls can be saved through you. Then, and only then, will the heavens open and declare, "This is my beloved child."

What happened in the Lord's Baptism has happened to me.


  1. “How often do we hide our sins by blaming others for our sinfulness? Allow the buck to stop with you. Take responsibility for your own actions. Stop blaming others.”

    I needed to hear these words today. I have a love/hate relationship with a particular sin that I struggle with. I started committing this sin a few years back when I was dealing with some past sexual abuse and having flashbacks. It was very distressing to me and I was very hurtful to myself. My counselor told me it was a way for me to “have control” over my body and my way of working through the abuse. I am sure this is true but it is not the reason I continue to do it.

    I hate this sin because it is wrong and I am filled with shame when I am done. I often say hurtful things to myself during and after I commit this sin.

    But a part of me also likes this sin and doesn’t want to give it up. It is a way for me to experience pleasure and relieve my anxiety. I tell myself it doesn’t hurt anyone so why do I need to give it up. But when I am honest with myself I know it hurts my relationship with God and my relationship with my spouse.

    I have struggled with it a lot lately and have these back and forth conversations with myself. Sometimes blaming my abuser, sometimes trying to convince myself it isn’t wrong and sometimes making myself feel really bad about myself.

    But I need to allow the buck to stop with me. Admit that I commit this sin because I want to commit this sin not because I am some pathetic loser but because I enjoy this sin and wants to bring myself pleasure instead fighting tooth and nail against this temptation and allowing God to give me the grace I need in those moments to overcome the temptation, to overcome this sin once and for all!

    My meditation on the gospel was different from yours but I came to the same conclusion. I want God to look upon me some day and say, “This is my beloved daughter, with whom I am well pleased.”

  2. To Anonymous #1

    My dear sister!

    I just want to reach out to you and offer you encouragement not to give up. I have only recently, by the mercy of God, gotten out of a similar sexual addiction. It was only after getting out that I was able to see the harm I had done to myself.

    We ARE God's beloved daughters, and I believe that He is well pleased with us when we confess our sins to one another and pray for one another (James 5:16). In addition to sacramental confession, sharing with select, praying others has been very helpful.

    If you would like to email me, I am Jan with the red butterfly hand applique avatar.

    If some of the folks from my parish have figured out who I am, so be it. I would gladly sacrifice my privacy in order to make myself available for personal ministry.


  3. Anonymous #1

    Thank you for your candor, even though your comment was anonymous, it had to be difficult to see in print in front of you. I think you've made a HUGE step toward fighting the temptation. Admitting it for what it is and making a public declaration to change it should go a long way.

    I was thinking that I had many more sins before I started going to confession regularly. I found that there is something about having to confess the same thing over and over that motivates me to make a serious effort to avoid it.

    The following may not be the best way to avoid sin, but it works for me.

    When I am tempted to commit a sin, I visualize myself sitting in front of Fr. Alfonse in confession, looking at him face to face and having to confess it. Believe me I've had nightmares about it!

    But I'm not so sure it's Fr. Alfonse that I'm afraid of facing out loud, but Jesus. Because when I'm in that room with him, I truly don't feel Fr. Alfonse sitting there, but Jesus. I feel Jesus' love, compassion, mercy & forgiveness in a way I have never felt at any other time. I've seen Jesus in Fr's eyes and He touches my heart.

    I realized recently that I looked forward to confession with Fr. A for that reason, so I could feel Jesus in that special way. It was as real as anything to me.

    Fr. has a special grace or charism. I have been to LOTS of priests for confession and I have not come across any other one that has it, even though I know they are all In Persona Christi.

    To me, it's like, it looks like Fr. Alfonse, but it's Jesus, just like the Eucharist looks like bread and wine, but it's Jesus.

    When that revelation about Fr. A. in confession hit me, I also realized why I love it when I watch him do the consecration. It is not Fr. A. It is Jesus. It all makes sense now. I was seeing Jesus, (with my spiritual eyes) and feeling His presence, not realizing it wasn't Fr. It was Jesus at those moments. And I have to admit, I was irritated when Fr. wasn't the same outside the confessional as he was inside. Now I know why. He is not Jesus!

    After experiencing Jesus in that way, there has been grief that I do not have the opportunity to go there.

    I hope everyone reading this does take the time to sit in front of Fr. A in confession and feel Jesus'love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness.

    I'm sure Fr. A's confession line just got longer. Soon it will be like waiting in line for concert tickets!

  4. I hope you are feeling better Father!

  5. I am anonymous # 1

    I want to thank you for your words of encouragement and for reaching out to me. It helps to know that others have dealt with similar issues.
    After posting my comment I sent a message to Fr. Alfonse letting him know that the comment was from me and if he felt that others would be offended by my honesty that he did not have to post it. I am glad he posted it.

    And to the other person who commented,
    It was hard to send this to Fr. Alfonse knowing it would be out there for all to see and that someone may figure out that I am the one who sent it but I can’t worry about that.

    It was the Lord who gave me the courage to express what was in my heart and to share what is one of my most difficult struggles because it is so private and cause me so much shame. But I know there are others out there with the same struggle and I hope this provides them some comfort knowing they are not alone.

    I also wanted to share with you that when I had the courage to talk to Fr. Alfonse about this open and honestly during confession, revealing the most shameful things about this sin, he told me that I would receive extra graces for being so honest. There was no condemnation, no disgust in his voice, just love and mercy. Christ was truly present.

    Thank you Fr. Alfonse! You will never know how much you helped me that day. With love & gratitude.

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