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!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mk 7:24-30 Scraps As Daily Bread

Mk 7:24-30 Scraps As Daily Bread

(Click here for readings)

Be bread to my mind - that my every thought might be worthy of you; Be Bread to my will - that my every action , might be in harmony with You; Be bread to my heart - that I might never withhold my love from anyone. (-Martha Lamberti)

Yesterday I read how a mom left her new born baby in a toilet. Today, I read about how a pagan woman was willing to eat scarps, like a dog, to save her baby.

Are we more enlightened today than we were two thousand years ago? The rationalists, who are everything but rational, would love for us to believe so. But reality hits us squarely in the eye and the only thing that comes close to the modus vivendi of pagans, barbarians and aliens are the lost souls and creatures from Planned Parenthood and academia.

What faith this woman exhibited! What torture she must have went through! For the first time ever we are moved, not so much by Christ’s actions, but by the actions of a pagan woman. What is happening? The world is turning upside down or better, right-side up! The world is a much smaller place than we first thought. Pain afflicts all. Suffering affects us all. Tragedy hits home and strikes hard and is blind to race, nationality, even religion. We all need a Savior, even my next door neighbor who seems to have it all. All of us are deeply wounded, bruised beyond healing. All of us are dogs under the weight of original sin and the presence of the evil one. This woman was willing to bear all things, endure all things, believe all things, and hope in all things out of love for her daughter.

Unselfish love never fails. Love is the Commandment of God.

God’s attention is captured with the cries of love. He listens to love, bends to love, bends over backwards out of love and smiles at love. Love is His essence. He recognized this woman because of the way she loved her child. Willing to take ridicule, scorn, abuse and shame, this woman is in many ways a close relation to Christ – who was abused, scorned, mocked and shamed because of love! “Whoever wishes to follow me, pick up your cross and follow me in all things!”

Before the Syrophoenician woman can have the resurrection, she must undergo a grueling crucifixion. Before she can smile, she must shed many tears of pain and loss. Once you are at the bottom of the pit, it can only get better; and it does.

Purification leads to conversion, which leads to Imitation. Love costs dearly due to the fact that it is everlasting. Christ is willing to endure all things out of love. His love never fails. Mine does. I am who I am only because of His love for me, period.

The Syrophoenician woman was willing to endure all things. Christ endured all things for his Father, and for his pride filled brothers and sisters. This is what true love consists of – a love that endures all things while feasting on the scraps of insult, injury and humiliation; the stuff of true champions, and the stuff that falls to the ground.

Make bread of me, my God. Bless me - that I might love You for those who don't; Break me - that I might repent for those who won't; Give me Your people, Lord - that for Your sake I might be utterly emptied, ready to be filled by You again. (- Martha Lamberti)

May I never choke from the scarps that come from the Lord. May I never consider myself to "high above" the scraps that come from above. This woman had great faith and faith is tested against the standard of Christ. Her passion, her suffering and her "death" led to the salvation of her daughter; just like the Lord's suffering, passion and death led to the salvation of all mankind. This is what Jesus did for us. This is what we can do for others.


  1. Dear Father,
    In the case of divorce, should the one that was hurt continue to accept scraps for the sake of the children? Or would God rather that we stand up to what is right and response accordingly.

  2. "But reality hits us squarely in the eye and the only thing that comes close to the modus vivendi of pagans, barbarians and aliens are the lost souls and creatures from Planned Parenthood and academia."
    - Instead of all the planned parenthood bashing why doesn't the church have an even more, or at least equally effective organization where girls/women can feel they can turn to? Even though Planned Parenthood is mostly wrong in my opinion, their outreach to girls/women is what is keeping their doors open. Our church in my opinion does not reach out to girls/women in a meaningful way to help them make the right choice. This issue is deeply personal and it's the one issue I feel disconnected from my church.

    Have the best day!

  3. Sarah, is it really bashing? I mean, really? I don't even want to begin to describe the bashing that occurs inside a PP clinic. It is pure and heart breaking sadness. Why do we have to tip-toe around the issue?
    Second, the outreach of the Church is enormous! And yet, you are right, it isn't enough because there is a truth that we all live with: It is easier to destroy than to build. It took hours for the Twin Towers to collapse. It took years for them to be built. It takes seconds to take a life, it takes months to foster it. The problem is not the outreach, the problem is the solution. PP offers an accomodating solution: over in minutes. The Church and truth will never be able to accomdate like that. Life doesn't work like that. I wish I had an easier way of saying this, but I don't. Sorry.

  4. Also, I do not consider the women that walk into the clinics as evil. NO WAY! They are victims of fear and deceit, period.

  5. To the Anonymous: The answer is impossible to give to you. Each case must be handled separately. Does the Church allow for separation and divorce? The answer is yes. Are all cases of separation and divorce merited? The answer is no. Reflection, objectivity,time and prayer are required to know the proper course of action.

  6. Dear Father,
    You are immensely wise. In seeking to find the answer on my own, the pendulum constantly swings back and forth between forgiveness and self-worth. There is a wealth of different opinions across the internet, books, friends & family, which adds to the confusion of seeking the right answer. But your response, even though you say is not an answer, is the one that surprisingly is the answer. I need to stop reading and seeking other people's advice as each case is never identical, and perhaps spend more time reflecting on my own, to get it directly from God. Thank you.

  7. Father Alfonse!

    Thank you for speaking truth and being so courageous regarding your comments about PP.

    Most of the people who work there probably are good people, just as Abby Johnson the author of "unPlanned" was. She said, "They are just on the wrong side of the fence". As science and technology evolve we can see that a baby is a baby not a mass of tissue's. I think it was my ultrasound with Christopher at 9 weeks along, I first saw the truth that he was a fully formed baby, not a mass of tissue. You know, The lie that women are told. Even though I was pro-life, that is when my mind caught up with my heart. And as I saw my 7 week old baby this morning...definitely not a mass of tissue. :)

    As a pregnant teenager (17)who needed to have a pregnancy test, PP was the only place my mother and I knew to go since I did not have medical coverage and their tests were "free" at the time. I wonder why they offer "free" or "low cost" pregnancy tests?

    When I was called back into the office all by myself, a man went over the results with me telling me that I was 8 weeks pregnant and that I need to schedule my abortion within the next 4 weeks. I looked at him and said "I am not going to have an abortion!" He then said sarcastically, "send us a picture then." He had two small picture on this huge wall. He was cold and gave me this look like I had just ended my life. Well, maybe the life I had planned for me but I started the life God had intended for me.

    Thank God my mother was waiting for me in the waiting room. I told her and all of my family how I was treated that day. If I did not have my family's love and support, twenty-three years ago that man could have affected my decision. However, God was with me the entire time, through the love of my family.

    Please recommend Abby's book to people. It sheds so much light on PP and their true motives and beliefs.

    God Bless You! The Everett Family misses You!

    Rose :)

  8. Dear Fr.,

    I really appreciate your dialogue on this. My intention was to air my thoughts openly and not offend any of your readers and least of all you. I respect you and all that you do. I don’t tip-toe around the issue either and I’m glad you didn’t. We should have a discussion offline sometime.

    Have the best day!

  9. I understand what Sarah is saying and I also understand what Father is saying. In searching for a medical doctor to deliver my own babies years ago, I "interviewed" them first, because I wanted the doctor who first touched my precious gift from God to have 'clean' hands - those that were never stained of the blood of a baby being killed by him or her.

    Yes, planned parenthood is a place for comfort and a place for lost young women to go to for other things besides abortion, but still, PP is tainted with the blood of killing babies. That matters. Matters a great deal!

    The Catholic Church and all it's Catholic Charities is the warmest, most welcoming,most giving, most unselfish place I know of if, I ever were in need or if someone I know was, first place I think of is Catholic Charities...and a baby in the womb with a lost confused mother...OMG, the first and best place to go is to a Catholic church!

    This, the protection of babies in the womb, the honor and respect for life at ALL costs, no excuses, is the number one reason why I am proud to be a Catholic, and I thank my ancestors for choosing to be Catholic!

  10. Sarah-

    White Rose offers a number of services to pregnant women,including free pregnancy test and ultrasound.

    It is run by Catholic and protestant volunteers from our local grass roots pro-life community, which has always been ecumenical.

    I don't think the Catholic Church could do a better job than the local volunteers, and the institutional presence might actually present an obstacle to women needing help.

    Jan Nathan

  11. Teri & Jan,

    Thank you both for your thoughtful responses.

    I don't mean to belabor my point. Imagine a teenage girl who just found out that she's pregnant. In this day and age she is most likely going to go online to look for answers, solutions etc..but if you google teen pregnancy or pregnancy crisis as an example you will find that Catholic Charities (which is well funded) does not show up in search results first few pages. That is a problem. Our church is as old as time and has provided real solutions to other human injustices. It saddens me that we are not doing what it really takes to stand up for life We have the resources to do more than pay lip service in my opinion. The way I see it, is because we haven’t been able to overcome this quick, accommodating devastating option (which BTW has lasting effects years after the procedure has happened) that some girls/women opt for, with real solutions that save babies lives we demonize. Quite frankly it’s a cop out. As fr. said it's easier to destroy than to build, but precisely because it’s hard we have to do better.

    Many apologies to have gotten this side-tracked in this way. The value of the meditation was profound fr. I love this part "Before the Syrophoenician woman can have the resurrection, she must undergo a grueling crucifixion. Before she can smile, she must shed many tears of pain and loss. Once you are at the bottom of the pit, it can only get better; and it does."

  12. no apologies Sarah. We're just conversing. That's what makes the world go round, different opinions, different experiences,etc.

    But... as soon as this topic comes up, abortion, well I immediately think of the babies. The babies that are called mass or tissue, the babies that are called a thing. a problem. a mistake. a hindrance. These babies that are tortured, brutalized, and killed. No mercy for these babies. none. That's what I think about, and you know, for me, nothing else matters after that. nothing.

  13. Dear Fr. Alfonse,
    I know your other readers took a different viewpoint on your meditation but for me, I wanted to thank you for helping me to understand this Gospel reading.

    I never knew what it meant, I thought Jesus somehow saw this woman as being beneath the dogs that ate the scraps from the table. And I couldn't see why he thought of her that way. She only wanted him to cure her daughter.

    But now I see how rich this story is and will never look at it the same way.

  14. Sarah & Teri-

    White Rose locates themselves as close as possible to the abortuaries, so that the sidewalk counselors can immediately direct the ladies to a place of help.

    Sometimes folks wander into White Rose thinking they have found the abortuary. . . . .

    Many are saved at the last minute in that manner.

  15. This woman had great faith. Great faith is tested by the standard of Christ. In other words, by imitating the life and death of Jesus Christ. She went through her passion, her suffering and her death in order to save the life of her daughter. This is what Jesus did to save us.

  16. I did not know that Jan. I love that. Thanks for sharing that with me. Thank you Teri, Jan & Fr. for letting cooler heads prevail during this conversation.

    Take it easy

  17. Teri,

    "Yes, planned parenthood is a place for comfort and a place for lost young women to go to for other things besides abortion, but still, ......


    I am not a young woman, and I have no medical insurance right now, my doctor suggested I go there for a pap smear. I REFUSE TO GO INTO SATAN'S PLAYGROUND, even for my own 'benefit'.

    What kind of things will I 'pick up' there? I'm not talking about germs or diseases, I'm talking about EVIL spirits that hang out there... seeking the ruin of souls.

    There is serious EVIL there. They are in the front line, doing the devil's work in that place. THERE IS NOTHING GOOD ABOUT PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

    Look at the name. 'Deception!' Why don't you call and ask them about prenatal care and the the birth of the babies that they are helping parents plan for.

    They are lies and deception to the core. Yes even some of their employees have bought the lie. The father of all lies is their BOSS.


    ".......It saddens me that we are not doing what it really takes to stand up for life We have the resources to do more than pay lip service in my opinion"

    Sarah, do you know how much money SATAN has? A bazillion more dollars than the Catholic Church or any Pro Life organization will ever have.

    There is NO money in saving babies, saving babies is all done with donations and volunteers. There is the US deficit plus plus in killing babies!

    I am not criticizing because until I got into the 'guts' of pro life, I had no clue what the real obstacles are. We cannot sit back and expect the 'Church' to do anything. WE ARE THE CHURCH!

    I have to say I went into pro life work with grandiose ideas of making a difference. I can tell you this, I lost friends, I made enemies, I was ridiculed, ostracized, persecuted....all by those INSIDE the parish walls, not excluding priests! I was spit on, called names and spoken to with sign language by nice ladies wearing pink ribbons. And I offered it all up along with LOTS and LOTS of tears!

    Talk about an opportunity to grow and get out of your comfort zone. I went in a mouse afraid to speak up, even to a waiter at a restaurant.(true), I came out with my husband trying to put duct tape over my mouth.(almost true), but definitely wearing a hard hat.

    If you are looking for a ministry that is closest to the heart of Jesus. This is the one.

    This has to be one of Father's favorites because there is a lot of cross carrying there!

    Don't get me wrong, there are rewards. Babies saved, mothers saved and hearts changed. What kept me going was people expressing their appreciation for my willingness to speak up and say what they were afraid to say, to do what they were afraid to do. To take the 'heat' they were not willing to take. The people that told me that something I said helped them change their mind about abortion, that my example gave them the courage to speak up at work or with friends.

    Remember I went in a mouse, really, The Grace of God gave me what I needed when I needed it. He is like a physical trainer coming to your house every morning at 5AM whipping you into shape, and when your muscles get sore and you want to complain, he'll listen while you drop and give him '10'. And maybe he'll send you a Fr. Alfonse who will listen to you whine a little, but then back to work. But he gives you ALL YOU NEED TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK and all areas of your life will be enhanced by the experience!!

    Couldn't figure out why I read this today, now I know!

    Y'all are probably wishing I went to bed hours ago!

  18. Sarah, i love your moxie. You make valid points regarding "cop outs" or "excuses". The Church is historic, the Church is wealthy, the Church is (arguably) powerful to motivate its passionate followers, but, the Church is sadly behind the times. What i mean by "behind the times" has ZERO to do with morality or with its position on current issues. I mean that it misses tremendous opportunities for doing good by being stuck in the past re: communication and activism. (Praise God, Fr. Alfonse excluded! A Roman Catholic priest with a blog --Hallelujah!)

    A sixteen year old pregnant girl is far less likely to read the Catholic church bulletin, or be intercepted on the street in the areas where there happen to be White Rose centers next to the abortion clinics, but there is no question she will Google for information. PP and others zoom to the top of the search because they understand the power of media, and more recently social media, they have an agenda, and they fund it, and they execute (no pun intended) thier tactics well. That is reality.

    If I understand your position correctly, it is "why use those as reasons or excuses, why don't we get our act together and get out in front". "don't tell me all the reasons we cannot, show we how we CAN!"

    Lack of passion and thinking like yours is the same mentality that is crippling our Catholic schools, our Sunday attendance, and yes, our outreach to the needy in our community. What worked in the past might not be the best way anymore. We are so stuck in defending our methods, so burdened by the politics of the bureacracy, so saddled by ineffective leadership (or, too fearful to consider and embrace change) that the bad guys win. We CAN stick to our values, our morality, and our social mores -- while becoming more effective by thinking differently. We must. That we are "doing OK" can never be enough. We must be the BEST we can be. It's hard, but really, what's the other acceptable alternative? Did Christ quit because what he was doing was "hard?" I don't recall reading any gospel where he made excuses...he got on the donkey or strapped on the sandals and got the word out! He harnessed the tools he had -- as should we! Christ's sandals are today's cable networks, facebooks, YouTube, Twitter, and blogspot.

    We need leadership. We need young thinkers in positions of influence and power, and we need our leaders to embrace their passion and ideas. We need you to help us get outside our own boxes and realize that others have great ideas, it doesnt all have to be our own invention! Sarah, be a leader!!!! We need you!!! Keep asking the hard questions. Bless you!!!!

  19. Hi Anonymous - You wrote so elegantly. It was refreshing to see a familiar sentiment. I agree with all except maybe "Sarah, be a leader" :) Not sure about that, but I will commit to raising the bar for myself and doing more. If not, I am just as responsible for each life lost.

    "If I understand your position correctly, it is "why use those as reasons or excuses, why don't we get our act together and get out in front". "don't tell me all the reasons we cannot, show we how we CAN!"" - Yes, exactly!

    As the mother of a teenager (12.5 to be exact but it's all the same these days), and being a fairly young mom myself, I see gaps. Not only in reaching our young girls when a pregnancy happens but before. We (the church) can do more to help them make the right choices to avoid hard consequences in more than lectures and our old ways. It's important for us to challenge our conventional wisdom and the idea that in our culture it is acceptable for teens especially to engage in sex. Our cultural moral compass is so off and the Church has the tools to fix it.

    There are so many outside influences today and I pray mine is the prevailing influence where my daughter is concerned, but moms and teen girls have rocky relationships, so I want to rely on my church to be present in the mediums that can reach her. Thankfully, we have Fr. Alfonse and other great priests who teach the Gospel of two thousand plus years with relevance of today.

    Blessings to you too!

  20. These are the words I typed, the words I googled:

    pregnancy help young teen

    and the very first thing that popped up is Catholic Charities of Dallas, Inc.

    The second link that popped up was American Adoptions

    The third was Gladney Center for Adoption

    I know I"m an old woman of 51, so what different words would a young pregnant teen or any woman other than an old one like myself type to find help?

    I guess I don't really understand what you and anonymous are saying. I must be naive or something... and I happen to believe that most mother daughter relationships are pretty close, no at times far from perfect,but as a whole, close. Studies show that the number one reason teen girls get pregnant is that a father or at least a father figure like a grandfather is absent. It begins at home. Trust yourself when connecting with your daughter. You are the most important person to her. She will listen to you, if she knows she comes first to you,and it sounds like she does. Trust.

    Hello Padrecito. What time are your masses tomorrow?

  21. Teri,
    I didn’t say the church isn’t doing anything, I said it wasn’t doing enough. It’s great that some of the key words come up in searches with Cahtolic Charities etc but that is not always the case which was my point. We need to do a lot more. The statistics are staggering and heartbreaking. 1.2 million abortions happen each year in our country. Being content with such statistics is not a winning strategy by any stretch of the imagination. Worse yet, it’s a big injustice to the faith we claim to profess.

    Mother & teen daughter relationships are contentious. I experienced the same thing with my mom as did millions other moms/daughters. In my experience the bonds are closest in childhood and adulthood. Adolescence almost always has tension.


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