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 2, 2011

Mt 2:1-12 Be A Star

Mt 2:1-12 Be A Star

(Click here for readings)

Why do we love Christmas so much? I personally think it’s the day in which we realize how very much loved we are. And the truth is precisely this: We are loved by our Lord and by those whom we least expect. Mary and Joseph must have been surprised at the event that was unfolding before them. They had never seen the star that was pointing to the Lord for they were the star. They never expected a visit of wise men from foreign lands. They never imagined that all this would take place or take place so soon. It was all happening so fast. Some were ready, some were not. Some were in adoration, others were concocting a plot!

Evil is never far behind grace. Evil men always lurk behind the wise.

By a special grace the Holy Family was sheltered by what was going on around them; their eyes were gazing upon the galaxy – the Universe – that had become a child. All creation spoke in one way or another of the new born King! When the child was born the heavens knew that he was God because they immediately sent forth a star; the sea knew him because it allowed him to walk upon it. Even the earth knew him because it trembled when he died; the sun knew him because it hid the rays of light.” (St. Gregory the Great)

What can I do for the Lord? What can I offer him? Our response to God’s offer of salvation should be similar to that of the Magi: To offer gold is to proclaim Christ’s Kingship; to bring incense is to adore him as God; and to offer myrrh is to acknowledge his mortality. “The Magi set out because of a deep desire which prompted them to leave everything and begin a journey. It was as though they had always been waiting for that star.” (Pope Benedict) Wise men continue looking for the star!

I want to give the Lord something special? What does he want from me? What could I possibly give to Him? The Lord wants only one thing this New Year: my heart. Give the Lord your heart. Make the Lord the center and foundation of your life. Allow yourself to trust in Him. Yes, trust the Lord. Love Him like he loves us. He loves us, not because we are particularly good or highly skilled and talented. No. He does not love us because we are virtuous, or of any great merit, or even because we are useful or necessary to him; he loves us not, because we are good, but because He is good.

Last night I went to see the movie “The King’s Speech” – the life of King George VI – the true story of a Royal who stuttered not because of any physical defect but because of a lack of being loved as a child. I was moved by what a lack of love can do to a man. How we are truly in need of being loved for our own well being. Regardless of the gifts or privileges and commodities we have received. Nothing will ever replace the gift we most need: the gift of love. The one gift, the one treasure we desire more than any other is to be loved.

The Lord provides for all our needs by giving us Himself. The Lord invites us to be a star that points to something great!

Wise men still follow Him. Wise men still come to adore Him. Wise men still search for Him.


  1. “… lack of being loved as a child. I was moved by what a lack of love can do to a man. How we are truly in need of being loved for our own well being.”

    This one little statement contains volumes. I was thinking about “lack of being loved as a child”, which I think is part of it, but my experience with this has been a lack of feeling loved. I know some will think that the feeling doesn’t matter, because the truth that we are loved is what matters. No!! Feeling loved is just as important. Feelings are as real as intentions. To a child, feelings are their reality, not that their parents beat them because they want them to grow up to be ‘men’ and it’s for ‘their own good’.

    Yes, God loves us even when we are being beaten, abused and our hearts are turning to stone, when we are unconsciously making a decision not to allow anyone to get close enough to hurt us ever again, even Him. Yes, we are on that cross with Him but I have a hard time believing that that’s where He wants us to stay. He was only up there for three days!

    My experience has been that when we don’t get love or feel loved as a child, we spend the rest of our lives trying to get it, often in all the wrong places by all the wrong people. We may even seek it out, allow it to get really close to our hearts, and when we realize that we are making ourselves vulnerable, we reject that love and send it packing often becoming the abuser, causing wounds on those we encouraged, invited in and even sincerely loved and cared for.

    God’s love is the ultimate. But I believe we experience God’s love through those He sends into our lives and into our hearts. I believe a HUGE part of trusting God is allowing others to love us and for us to allow them into those places of our hearts that are so very wounded. Love is healing, but only if we allow it in and take a risk. Yes, a risk of ending back up on that cross next to Jesus!

    Father you are right it is all about LOVE. It is all about HIM. And how does He show us His love? How do we receive His love? How do we show our love for HIM? Through His creation, the souls He’s placed into our lives, into our care and the souls who’ve come to us looking for love as well.

    When we reject those He’s sent to us, when we throw them out, we are rejecting Him, His gifts and His love as well.

    Lord, help me to give and receive the love You’ve sent into my life through the souls you’ve entrusted to me.

  2. How many times have I heard this story, but this telling has given me goose bumps. . . . .twice! First at 10:30 Mass and now again as I sit at my computer.

    Thank you, Fr. Alfonse, for bringing the Gospel to life!


  3. To Anonymous #1:

    How do you think we make sure Children 'Feel' loved? I ask this as a genuine question. Not as a criticism. It seems like feelings depend mostly on the recipient...but maybe it's the task of the giver to find a way that expresses love to the other? I don't know...Or perhaps if we just follow in the footsteps of Christ and trust that imitation of Him will get the message of love across.

    Earlier today I was holding a particularly sweet, and good-natured little girl and my heart broke thinking about how her own heart would someday be broken...She was full of love and affection and completely obvious to the very broken family, the very broken world, she is a part of. I begged God to keep her in his care and protect her, to somehow let her know that she is loved immensely. I was pained and felt powerless in preventing harm to her.

    But tonight I read the words, "Allow yourself to trust in Him. Yes, trust the Lord..." And I remembered that at some point we all must look to Jesus and say, 'Lord take care of those I have tried to love; Jesus in you I trust in you!" We do our best to give love and to help ease the suffering of others, but ultimately we must trust in the goodness and mercy of our Lord. After all He trusted Joseph and Mary to care for his infant son.


  4. Hi Father Alfonse!
    I really liked your comment about evil not being far behind grace. I know this to be true in my own life.
    God Bless, Rose :)
    ps-we are home safe and sound.

  5. Jessica
    I'm glad you asked for a clarification.

    I think the way you asked your question was in a way, not to offend, although it was not necessary, but not knowing me, you were sensitive to my feelings. You believed that your words may have been hurtful and you made an effort not come across as offensive. Had you known me, you would have known that I would not have been hurt by your words and honestly if I was,(knowing me or not), I believe I would have been guilty of being oversensitive because your question was in no way offensive.

    I do believe our society has enabled many people to claim themselves victims of other’s “offensive words, actions and even thoughts” when they are just over sensitive cry babies wanting attention. Like those who are offended by “Merry Christmas”, not allowing gay marriage, private prayer in schools, etc..

    What I’m saying is that when you have a relationship with someone, especially an intimate one like a parent/child, friends, relatives, even some working relationships, etc., you know what is likely to hurt their feelings, making them feel unloved, rejected, abandoned, etc.. If you genuinely love someone or care for them, you will be loving and sensitive to their particular needs. You may not know exactly what will make them feel loved, but you pretty much know what will hurt them.

    When we are only interested in getting our message across and feel justified in the way we get it across without regard to the pain we may cause the other person, we do share in the responsibility for the pain they feel.

    Any parent of more than one child knows that each child is different. Something that may make one child feel rejected may not even phase another one. If we love our children, we will be sensitive to their particular needs and we will try to meet their particular emotional needs when getting our ‘message’ across, even if it is some sort of discipline that they need to hear. We will not just take the attitude of “this is how I am, you have to accept me the way I am, in your face, blunt, physically & emotionally abusive…., get used to it because the world out there is cold and hard!”

    Jessica, I think all of your conclusions are correct. We need to discern what is appropriate for the person and the situation. When we are dealing with a sensitive, broken soul, we need to be more sensitive and think about how our actions/words will affect them before we share, especially when it is something that we know could be painful or unwelcome. And when we’ve sincerely done that, we have to leave the response up to them, knowing we loved them enough to give them the truth as we see it, and that we loved them enough to think of their emotional needs when delivering our message. And we always need to imitate Christ in our actions.

    When something we've said has hurt someone we care about, we owe the relationship and the person the time to listen to their grievances with an open mind and heart and possibly learn how we can do a better job getting our message across in the future or the other person can see how they were oversensitive and misinterpreted what we said.

    I know all this sounds like a lot to do, but it usually only takes minutes to discern and it can keep someone from years of suffering and thousands of dollars in therapy down the road, not to mention the broken relationships it could prevent.

    As you can see, I’m not just talking about making a child feel loved, because children who feel unloved or are unloved grow into adults that feel unloved and may be acting out of a childish need for the love they never received.

    I hope this clarifies and doesn't 'muddy' the water even more.

    Every child comes into a broken, world and many these days into seriously broken families. As parents and those close to these children, it is our job to make them 'feel' loved. We know how to do that innately.

  6. Dear Anonymous:

    Thank you very much for your clearification!! It was very helpful! I'm so glad you took the time to respond. And I whole heartedly agree with everything you said.

    God Bless!

    - Jessica

  7. I agree Anon. #1 and Jessica.

    I personally have been on both sides of this situation. As the giver, I've done the best I can to go to those I hurt, even when it wasn't my intention to hurt them and try to make amends. (Talk about humbling)

    One thing I found when looking at these incidences was that I was usually in a self righteous, insensitive state of mind and I was not open to even hearing them out because I judged them as being over sensitive victims who would never 'get it'.

    As difficult as it was to do this, it was freeing and healing for me as well as the other people.

    Yes, I had gone to confession and some may think that is enough, for God to forgive, but I believe that when we've caused serious pain and suffering to others, and we claim to be Christians and are able (and it won't do more harm), we should go to them and ask for forgiveness and be open to reconciliation.(I'm talking about serious, deep wounds that our insensitivity caused).

    And being on the receiving end. A humble soul reaching out would help heal my broken heart and help me move forward with hope and trust in the next person I decide to allow close to my heart, if I even choose to trust again.

    In my experience from childhood until the present, I have found that the content is not as important as the delivery. I have been around too many erupting volcanoes that caused me to run for cover, not even really paying attention to what was being said. After they spewed molten rock and lava, they felt better and I have been left with disfiguring wounds that have made permanent scars.

  8. ...and let's start by not being so dang negative.

    No, this is not a broken world. It is a wonderful world because it is full of hope. Because it is full of LIFE. Just look around at the magnificence! We are immersed in it, we just have to open our eyes, our ears, our heart, our soul. God is here with us whether we choose to believe it or not, whether we choose to sulk and cry and make excuses for our bad behavior, or whether we choose to pick ourselves up, look up at the heavens every single day, give thanks, and march on. You know that most people hardly ever look UP, look up to the sky, to heaven? Lots of people don't take time to admire what God has created. It's called nature. BEAUTIFUL food for the soul.

    God is with us. His sweet angels remind us every single day. We are loved by them. Oh well, so we might have been dealt a bad hand regarding our family of origin. We always have the option to choose to look for the good, the good in our lives that we all have. Some of us just have to search for it a little bit harder. Let's keep the good and throw the bad away.

    We need to pay attention.

  9. I've been following this little dialog and found it interesting.

    I don't think anyone is being negative. The reality is that there is pain and suffering and there is healing, but we can't just pretend it isn't there and 'throw' it away. That is called denial. And denial ultimately brings more suffering down the road. And if we want healing we have to acknowledge it, ask for it and do whatever it takes to achieve it.

    The good thing is that this is a new year and we can all take an inventory of what we'd like to keep and what we'd like to discard this year. We can't just pretend it's all good and look up in the sky and wait for heaven to make us 'feel' good. I'm not saying we only focus on the bad, but if we want to have more good, we have to move out some of the bad and make room for it!

  10. No, no denial and no, no cutsie stuff about the looking up, and yes, lots of negativity here.
    What I meant by looking up is that instead, too many look down, hanging their heads and carrying on with their lives only remembering the bad and the pain. What I mean is that this is the first step to "recover" if you will. The first step, in my opinion, is to lift that heavy head, look up, say thanks for LIfe, for the good, throw away the bad, and carry on, and quit making excuses. Even if the past pain still hurts, if you begin to "act" like it's all better, then it WILL get better.The looking up into the sky, I meant it both literally and not literally.

    I didn't think this was even a thing to evaluate and ponder upon: to love a child so that they feel safe and loved.

    Most definitely a child needs and craves Love, and they should be loved and taken care of with love, OF COURSE! Too many people abuse their children, and maybe they don't abuse them, but they treat them like property, like a nuisance, like they are not a gift from God. Ugh, I get so mad when I witness these parents, and I see them all too often.

    These ignorant fools who call themselves parents never ever see the miracle that those children are. If they only stopped to look around at the magnificence of our God, (this is also partly what I meant by nature...our babies are the closest thing to heaven, to God, to good, they are part of that nature I speak of...) in my opinion... these stupid parents don't treat their children like they should, who say they love their children,but their actions don't match their blabbing of the mouth. The cycle continues. the cycle of bad, the cycle of no love, the cycle of not really seeing and feeling God, the cycle of hanging the head down, the cycle of doing things that are wrong, the cycle of treating others bad, all with the excuse that it's somehow ok because of whatever bad hurtful REAL painful stuff (Of course there is real pain) happened to them in the past.

    All I'm saying is pretty simple, and to some it might sound mundane and insensitive.(some people will never understand what my intention here is, that's ok) Simplicity is always best, in my opinion. Simple stuff, it doesn't have to be complicated. 1. stop moping 2. decide to heal 3. give thanks 4.look around 5. quit making excuses 6. pay attention 7. move on - I think all begins to fall into place.

    FYI: My childhood was pretty dang painful. I grew up with lots and lots of fear. I decided really young,though,to heal, to "look up" to take away the power of the person that made my life so difficult and scary, so I muddled through and hung on to the good, and came out pretty good.Number one reason why I came out ok: I have always loved God, and I look for him always, and I am grateful and I feel his angels' presence around me all the time, why? because I take time to look around for the good. I pay attention.

    ps: Good morning Padresito, I hope you're having a great day.

  11. Teri,
    Thanks for making yourself clear.
    Your comment came across to me sounding like, "get over it, forget it, quit whining, just look at the flowers without any sensitivity to real pain and suffering.

  12. Dear Teri,

    I do agree that if we really BELIEVE in the healing power of God that we will live our lives with hope and inner joy. However, I think that sometime to appreciate the good we must first recognize the bad...Christ himself wept in the Garden of Gethsemane. I maintain that we do live in a “broken” world, but one that Christ has redeemed. We must choose to accept his gift, though, and some choose not to. By Adam and Eve's sin our very human nature is damaged, broken, for this reason we have the sacrament of baptism to heal us.

    I think I understand what you are saying though... And I thank you for your hopeful outlook! : ) There are far too many pessimist in world, and too few true believers in the power of God!

    For me, personally, God's love and power become so much more meaningful from the Cross (I mean that literally and figuratively.) When I see and experience evil I am constantly reminded that God's love and goodness are SO SO much greater!! I do not want anyone to think that I believe evil should exist; I don't. I simply think that in God's immense goodness he has given us a way to turn the possible negative effects of evil into something good.

    Anyways, just some thoughts... :)

    God Bless!

    - Jessica

  13. well, I DID mean it that way too. : )


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