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!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mk 16:15-18 Conversion and the Cross

Mk 16:15-18 Conversion and the Cross

(Click here for readings)

There are many wonders in the world – seven I believe. But none of them compares to the conversion of St. Paul who was ruthless and cold-blooded in his handling of Christians. The one who was persecuting us is now standing beside us! This was the herald’s message from the King of Kings! Could it be? Could it possibly be true? What drives a man to change his life and turn it upside down, which in Christ becomes right side up? What drives a man to change his life - lose his life, lose his friends and family and be received with shouts of doubts from those you have joined? The only possible answer can be truth and grace.

In these current days we have seen miracles take place, especially in England. The headlines have been bold and clear: Anglicans Join Catholic Branch, Seven Anglican Priests and 300 parishioners join Catholic Church, History overturned as Anglican Bishops are ordained as Catholics, etc… Why is this so big? For historical reasons! The Church of England and the nation itself, which endorsed Protestantism and spread it like butter throughout its vast Empire, and persecuted Catholics beyond the realm of horror, is today experiencing a meltdown. Do we need to remind anyone that once upon a time any Catholic priest caught in England was sentenced to death in the most gruesome of ways: hung, drawn and quartered! Although there is now a 5:1 ratio of Anglicans to Catholics, today there are more English Catholics who attend Mass on Sunday than Anglicans. England and its home grown church is experiencing, like St. Paul, a seismic shift of counter-reformation magnitude! May the Lord of peace and unity help the Holy Father see it through to the end.

I will not even begin to imagine why all of this is happening. We will leave this to the Lord to unveil the mystery of why now, why there, why this revolution! Is there anything to boast about? I thoroughly concur with the comments from a Catholic Bishop in England that now is not the time to sound triumphant, but rather it is a good time to do penance. After all, it was scandal that caused the wound to occur in the first place and it will be holiness – penance - that will bring the festering wound to heal. There will be many crosses to carry in the next few years, but conversion and cross remain mysteriously entwined. Salvation comes from the Cross and we must carry it throughout the world. This is our Good News.

Let us ask the Lord to give us the strength and courage to boldly proclaim the Good News to our co-workers, friends and family members that Jesus Christ is capable of revolutionizing our lives by bringing to us the peace and unity we all desire. May the God of love remind us of the greatest and most profound commandment he gave to all his followers: Love one another as I have loved you. This alone is capable of converting the hardest of hearts, the strongest of head-strong individuals, the most militant atheists, and the most love deficient of all! This way alone there will be no turning back.


  1. "boldly proclaim the Good News to our co-workers"... Dude, if there ever is a want for a Mission field, it's right here at my work! A quote from B. Gothard that helped in setting my course is, "it's the long and steady witness that wins the hearts of the people." I would argue that's what we do as Catholics. Oh it would be such fun to have massive alter calls, laying hands on everyone, slaying them in the Spirit while the awesome music ministry cranks it out over the state of the art audio system, with lights and big drums. Not that there's anything wrong w/ that :) But with our strong steady effort through the Mass, through the Rosary, etc. isn't that much nicer? Isn't this what brought the Berlin wall down? Now it's the UK's. Very exciting! Zzzzzz

  2. Awesome Father!
    The past few meditations have been very powerful!
    You are in our prayers.
    God Bless,
    Rose :)

  3. The Lord has asked me to do something huge for Him. He has been leading me here to this minute for some time now, I just didn't know it.

    He started out with little requests and I complied, then they got a little more uncomfortable, and I complied and now, He's asked me to do something huge for Him and I asked Him, "Why me", can't you find anyone more qualified, smarter, holier, better than me to do it? The answer was "no, I know you will do it". Then He showed me the magnitude of this little act, I cannot say no.

    It's amazing how when you do a good job, anywhere, at home, in the workplace or even with God, the expectations keep getting higher and you keep getting more piled on. It may not show up in the paycheck or even with gratitude and appreciation, but I have to believe it will show up later, when it really matters.

    I know He will give me all I need to 'get the job done', or He wouldn't have asked me to do it.

    After all, He took His meanest persecutor and turned him into the greatest bearer of His Truth!

    Lord, I already have the grace to do what You've asked, please give me the courage, faith, strength and love to follow through with Your will. AMEN

  4. Love your blog Father!
    I have to ask you or your readers how to handle a situation I feel I find myself in makes me wonder if God is challenging me, but I feel I am failing at this task miserably.

    When I talk to Catholics...who are negative about the church or are more like supermarket Catholics, who choose the part of the faith teaching they want to embrace and let go of others--they want me to affirm their actions, which I can't and don't, but I tend to remain silent, because I value a friendship and really don't want to have this as a source of conflict. But it really bothers me!

    I have found many times those who attack or are the most vocal against me as a practicing Catholic or against the Catholic faith are former practicing Catholics...what I discover is they really didn't know their faith and chose to leave for a nondenominational Christ-Bible based church. But for my Catholic friends or acquaintances who casually make comments about our faith, the Pope, most recent the Beatification of Pope John Paul II--their biggest argument for picking and choosing and making it okay in their mind is "at least they believe in Christ"...and I just scream inside...but what about the beautiful sacraments!
    I am a bold individual, but how does one stand up for the church in a loving way...rather than an arrogant way. I would love to know how others rise to the occasion of correcting those Catholics who believe (especially when it comes to their teen or adult children and defending their choices)as long as they are Christian it doesn't matter. I know our Father in Rome wants Christian this what he means?

    Father John once said to a group of (at the time) Life Teen Parents that as parents it is our responsibility to get our children to heaven...this is not an easy task--and I believe it is through the Catholic faith that we will succeed in our mission. I am sorry I am rambling...back to my question: How do you communicate this to a Catholic who feels that just by believing that Christ is our Lord and Savior is enough?
    Sorry to be so long-winded, but this is happening to me more frequently, and as I mentioned before, I don't feel I handle the questions or conversations well.

  5. Rambling/Long winded: shear fact that you are pondering/pursuing these issues is a beautiful thing. Hats off and quite frankly you inspire me. 2nd: I thought Catholic bashing was over. But alas....
    "It's the long and steady witness that wins the hearts of the people." Whether you like or not, know or not, people are watching you. When the time is right (usually hardship) they will seek help. Your friends will say "uh I don't know," but you will be ready cause you've already worked this all out in your minds eye. Happens all the time. The Holy Spirit is amazing in these issues. Hooray! ramble on! Never apologize it :)

  6. First,
    Learn the faith yourself inside out or at least the hot topics.

    There's a simple book that Catholic Answers puts out called Beginning Apologetics and it is PERFECT to start with. It's short, in an 8 1/2" X 11" format, covers most of the 'problem' issues in short explanations with scriptural references. You should be able to get it at Little Angels Catholic Store.

    Then don't back down. You have the truth. You don't have to shove it down their throat, but you have as much right as they do to voice your opinion (the truth) and you can back it up with facts.

    In my experience, when you start sounding like you know what you are talking about, they quit bashing the Church (chances are they are trying to justify what they know in their hearts is wrong) and maybe you will interject some thoughts that they will give them something to think about. But they probably won't let on that you got them thinking so don't go away thinking you didn't make a difference. And pray, pray, pray for them. Prayer is the BEST thing you can do.

    I have SEEN and am SEEING serious results for my heathen family who I've been praying for a long time, who have been ardent anti Catholics for decades!

    You have nothing to be defensive about.

    You can do it. You said you were bold. Go be bold for Christ and His Church!!!

    AMEN! Sorry I'm passionate about this:)

  7. I know this is harsh, but if they don't accept all that the Church teaches they are not Catholic, that is called Protestantism.

    Cafeteria/Supermarket Catholics are Protestant and there are plenty in the pews, maybe even the majority in the pews.

    But 99% of them are ignorant. They need to be catechized and unlike our Protestant congregations down the street, the Catholic Church does not have 'Bible Study' every week before mass and if we did, how many would go? One thing they do hold fast to is that word, "obligation" and unfortunately they are not catechized from the pulpit, (unless Fr. Alfonse is there of course, or Fr Marco, or Fr. Stephen).
    So it is up to you and me to share the truth every chance we get. That means we have to know the faith and get out of comfort zone and SHARE it, share it the way 'they' do. Be proud to be Catholic and act like you REALLY believe what The Church teaches. NO apologies, be confident and excited about the truth. Learn why the church teaches what She does as well as what She teaches. Do what they do and read scriptures. There are some great 'cheat sheets' that will lead you straight to the right scriptures.

    Good Luck and GodSpeed!

  8. my 2 cents for anonymous: maybe quit analyzing so much and live by example

  9. Anonymous #4
    I have a few questions.

    1. Why is it that your friends can say bad things about the Church and it doesn't hurt your relationship, but you cannot share the truth?

    2. Didn't the devil believe in Christ, doesn't he know that Christ is Lord and Savior? And doesn't he know the Bible and quote scripture?

    3. What is the definition of unity? Doesn't that mean in union? Is throwing out what we don't like, 'in union'?

    4. Can you ask your friends where they got their information? You could offer the Catechism as the official guide to what Catholics REALLY believe and it comes with scripture references.

    It is VERY difficult to convince your teens and young adult children of anything they choose not to accept. That's when you pray, pray, pray, offer sacrifices, have masses said, pray for someone they look up to to come into their life and lead them back.

    You have to be patient with this, but it works!

    I have one that's 'home'and one that's taking the 'scenic route' to get home, but I have no doubt that she'll be back. I just don't know when. As long as it's before her last breath, she'll be saved. She may have to take a longer route to the final destination after that, but she'll get there.

    Don't get me wrong, I have spent many hours, weeks, months, years before the Lord praying and crying and I did not have peace about it until I handed her over completely to Him and His Mother.

    I know your pain in ALL that you have shared!

  10. To Anonymous #4:

    I was the Ultimate Cafeteria Catholic. I became a Catholic on the basis of one doctrine: the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Yes, I was not properly catechized. I did not really recognize the teaching authority of the church.

    In the beginning, I did not even believe that abortion was wrong. That was the first stronghold to be broken after I shared my rebellious thoughts with a very devout young man in my parish. He did not say very much, but prayed for me in a manner that I now know to be sacrificial prayer. After a very short time, I saw a doctor on the 700 Club on TV, who explained very clearly and logically how the child in the womb is really a human being deserving of life, not just a mass of cells. I was turned around 180 degrees on that subject.

    Any progress after that was very slow, as I was still entertaining a spirit of rebellion with my NY-auto-mechanic language, my off-color jokes, and an addiction that was relentlessly eating my lunch.

    Fast forward to August 2010, I find myself in the sacristy confessing to a priest whom I had intended to avoid: our beloved Fr. Alfonse!

    We had a dispute over a penance. The next day, he was lying in wait for me as I came into Mass. He said, “I am praying for you.” I was like “Thank you. That’s very nice of you.”

    I could not believe what came out of my mouth at my next confession: “I lie and make excuses for myself when asked to do something and I just can’t be bothered with it.” Fr. Alfonse had engaged in sacrificial prayer on my behalf and I changed!

    We spent the next few months tearing down the above strongholds of rebellion and more, and I am learning the ways of sacrificial prayer/sacrificial love.

    If you choose the "Name/URL" option, you can use a made-up name and ignore the URL. You will still be anonymous, but we will have a name to use if we reply to you.


  11. I am Anonymous #4 and have been out of town, so this is the first opportunity I have had to read everyone's responses.

    First, THANK YOU! Thank you for taking the time! I appreciate all of the advice and comments. My take away is that I should have the confidence to be bold to truly express the true teachings of the church.

    I do know my faith well, I study and read scripture and I sacrifice and pray. I agree that it is amazing how prayer can move hearts and blind eyes! Perhaps I am over analyzing this and I hope that I am living by example!

    I know I want to continue to pray for the other supermarket Catholics, who probably do sit next to me at mass or fallen away Catholics--because our faith is so (to use Father Alfonse's favorite word :o))beautiful! My fear is that by being subtle with my correction or silent, I am not being true to my faith...and myself.
    Oh, and my name is Kathie!

  12. Hi, Kathie!

    I always seem to post my comments near the end of a thread, and I wonder if anyone ever goes back and reads them. Well, now I know. Thank you for reading my comments!



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