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, February 13, 2011

Mt 5:17-37 Water Or Fire

Mt 5:17-37 Water Or Fire

(Click here for readings)

A long time ago, someone approached me in confession and told me that a pastor had given his approval for her to use artificial birth control. She asked me what I thought. I asked her, “Why are you asking me? After all, didn’t he tell you yes?” In this particular case, the legitimate use of artificial birth control was clearly a “no-no”, and although her pastor had told her “yes”, it clearly did not sit well with her. Why? Because the truth imposes itself on us and falsehood does not leave us in peace. It is not because of old “Catholic guilt”. It is because we cannot escape from a well formed conscience; the Voice from within.

In his radio addresses, eventually compiled in a book entitled Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis sets out in logical step-by-step arguments why we should believe in God, and, in particular, the God of Jesus. He does a fantastic job. Better than anyone I know. What does it mean to be a Christian? Does it mean whatever we want it to mean or does it mean what the Lord meant it to be? To be a Christian means to follow Christ. To follow Christ means to walk in his footsteps. To walk in his footsteps means to either be carried by him or to walk behind him. But it definitely does not mean to walk in front of him; otherwise, we may find ourselves lost and alone.

To follow God in the Old Testament meant to observe the Commandments. To follow God in the New Testament means to live by His grace the Commandments. What is the difference? To observe means to follow the letter of the Law; to live means to go beyond the letter; to go beyond the mind and allow it to sink in the heart. For this reason the Lord does not allow himself to be limited by traditions, customs, or even by the times. He goes right to the heart of the matter and cuts right through our stony hearts.

It appears as though marriage has always been a hot button issue. Do any of us really think the Lord’s comment regarding marriage and divorce (and now the exclusivity of marriage) did not create a negative reaction upon his disciples? The Lord was adamant in defending his Father’s Will. We can think that God is unjust. But how did we get this idea of just and unjust in the first place? Maybe we feel inclined to disagree with Him. But there is a difficulty about disagreeing with God. He is the source from which all our reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Part I - Chapter 3)

So what shall we do? Let us take the wise advice of Sirach. “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Immense is the wisdom of the Lord” (Sirach 15:15-16). The Lord is refreshing, like water; he is parched – on fire - for our love.

Love appears to be the answer to all our distresses. When I love the Lord I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Doubt does not solve any problems, but rather paralyzes us and keeps us from walking behind Him or being carried upon His shoulders.


  1. I believe this post, this reflection, this meditation of yours is the one that most touches my heart...My heart is smiling and saying: Thank you Padrecito.

  2. Dear Fr. Alfonse,

    Thank you for your example of the girl in confession. Several years ago I was in a similar situation regarding a teaching of the Church.

    I met with my parish priest regarding a particular matter but during the conversation my marriage came up. I was not aware, until this conversation, that I was not able to receive the Sacraments since my marriage was not blessed by the Church. I was devastated to hear this.

    During the long process of getting my husband's previous marriage annulled I was told different things by priests and the deacon helping us with the annulment including a priest that said I could receive the Sacraments.

    It would have been easy for me to accept his word as truth and continue to receive the Sacraments.

    My husband and I made a personal choice which many couples would not have chosen, and I was even told by the deacon that our decision could ruin our marriage.

    In the end our decision helped to strengthen our marriage and it helped us work through a very difficult trial that we were faced with during this time.

    We have since gotten our marriage convalidated and it continues to grow stronger as we put our trust in the Lord.

    We know what is good, but sometimes we want to choose what is easy because doing what is right is very hard at time. And we can search to find a priest or twist the words of scripture to make us look "right" but it won't bring us peace.

    "Because the truth imposes itself on us and does not leave us in peace."

  3. Dear Father,
    God gave us the Ten Commandments which have very black and white rules on how to live our lives. Yes, the Bible has stories that seem to give conflicting consequences for not following them. In particular, Jesus asked God to forgive the soldiers that killed Him and Jesus also forgave the adulterous woman by asking those without sin to cast the first stone. The concept of forgiveness makes it easier to deviate from the path behind Christ because even if we do sin (which in somes ways is expected since there is no one without sin), we can still be redeemed by the sacrament of Reconcilation. Can you help me understand how forgiveness aligns with the Ten Commandments? Thank you.

  4. Sin is a waste of time and a waste of your life. Sin brings nothing good to life. There isn't a single sin in the world that made a person a better man or woman. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, the act of forgiveness is only good as long as their is true contrition of heart. If you are going through the motions, the Lord will go through the motions too. Forgiveness is a grace that allows someone to move forward, not backward or sideways.

  5. Thanks for your reply for Alfonse!

    I am not the original person who asked the question but I benefitted from the response. : )

    I have been struggling with a particular sin (and I know the Church teaches it is a sin.) But I have rationalized why it's 'not that big a deal' in 'my' case, why I really don't need to change, etc...Deep down I know I'm BSing (pardon the term) myself, but it is easier to pretend you are not wrong than to change. But I wonder what will make me happy? What will give me peace?

    Anyways, Thanks for always reminding us that "There isn't a single sin in the world that made a person a better man or woman."

  6. To Anonymous #3-

    I am short on time right now, but I have a response to your post. Please come back later.


  7. Fr. I like your response here. A while ago, I was "just going through the motions" or I would go to church for a favor from God. I think that's kinda of confusing so I guess I can put it this way, " God I'm going to church get/give me this" It was wrong and I have learned from my ways. Now I go to church to learn how to be a better Catholic and to ultimately get closer to God. Once I started to do this, things in my life have dramatically changed and for the better! I feel happier in general, some of my family problems have gone away, and my work situation has improved also. I share this with anyone that will listen to me. Try to be with God and the feeling is amazing. Thank you for this Mediation.

  8. To anonymous #3-

    I learned the hard way how right the Church is on solitary sin. It was not until I got out of my sexual addiction that I was able to see the toll that it had taken on my soul, spirit and psyche.

    Creativity, sensitivity, caring, and empathy all suffered, along with my ability to see and know the truth.. . . .my ability to love. . . . .and my ability to enjoy normal marital relations. . . . .

    But the first victim was my freedom, as a seemingly simple sin became an addiction very quickly.

    Some of these things are coming back to me. Some will never come back.

    But now, at five months of abstinence,

    I have joy!


  9. Jan,

    Thank you very much for sharing!
    It takes great courage to admit (and publicly!) our failings...I didn't mention what sin I was struggling with (and prehaps that gives it away...) but it does fall within the realm of sexual sins.

    It is SO EASY to think they are not that believe the lies society feeds us. But Thanks to Christ, His Church, priests like Fr. Alfonse, and people like yourself, I am more and more convinced of my need for conversion.

    God Bless you!


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