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!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mt 1:16-24 St. Joseph’s Surprise

Mt 1:16-24 St. Joseph’s Surprise

(Click here for readings)

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit…”

This past Friday I celebrated a wedding for a beautiful young couple. At the end of the ceremony I greeted the little 5 year-old flower girl and jokingly asked her, “Are you getting married too?” Before she could answer, her mother interrupted and said, “No, Father! Not until she gets her college degree!” I was shocked, to say the least. That wasn't the answer I was expecting. I was expecting something more like, “Well, not until she matures” or “Not until she finds the right man” or “Not until she falls in love.” I have to say, I wasn’t expecting such a ridiculous answer.

Not too long ago, I baptized the latest member of a family of eight. The couple has been very blessed financially and spiritually. They became pregnant with their first child when she was sixteen and he was fifteen. Of course, the couple was not married, yet. But immediately, they were faced with some pretty tough decisions. The young man’s father demanded that he make a choice: either the family or the girl (and baby). If he chose the girl, then he would have to leave the home. He chose. He chose the girl (and baby).

After more than twenty-five years of marriage, the couple is still amazed at all they have accomplished. He has always been blessed with a job, even as a teenager. She has been blessed working at home and being able to give her children the very best. They continue to send the children to private schools. They have a beautiful home, beautiful children, and a wonderful life. But if you were to ask them what their greatest accomplishment has been, they would not hesitate in saying, “We have learned to trust the Lord in all things.”

What has always been man’s greatest problem? We are control freaks! We want to control everything. We trust in ourselves way too much and not enough in the Lord. If we could, we would plan everything out! We would plan all our meals, design our own children, and build our own lives. And all based upon the ideas of others!

What is our greatest problem today? We trust way too much in the government. The HHS mandate is just the latest tip of the latest iceberg.

Do you know what is really wrong with the HHS mandate? I mean really, really wrong with it? It discourages us from being funny! It frowns upon the humor of life! It takes away the little and big surprises in life. The government would just love to manage everyone’s life. And the best way to manage anything is to make everything (everyone) the same shape; every family the same size; every life lived the exact same way.

If there is one thing that makes life exciting, it’s got to be the natural fact that not one life is lived the same way! All of us have been given a God given opportunity to be surprised and to surprise.

I don’t want to sound alarmist, but the perfect storm, capable of wiping away every joy, is fast approaching our nation. All the elements are there: a much dummied down educational system; a people that lacks strong faith and hope (or vision); and the lure (opium) of security and entitlements. All the above are quickly turning us into a nation of selfish people who ask not what I can do for my country but rather “what my country can do for me!”

If we continue along this path (I should say, ‘plan’) we are going to miss out on the funnier things in life.

The problem with entitlements and mandates is that it does not encourage life; it discourages it. Why? Because it must pay for it!

What makes earth significant is not the size of its "budget". What makes earth so significant is life; it is geared towards life. It loves life! Now think at how ridiculous we are! Think about it for a moment. The earth is very bizarre, extremely rare and absolutely remarkable in only one way: it has life. And here we are, a fruit of the earth, and God forbid that a child gets in the way of our plans! How stupid!

Joseph was about to divorce his wife. This would have been the easiest thing to do and probably the wisest thing to do. But instead of being wise and economical, practical, logical and efficient, Joseph chose to be holy, and so he listen to God and did not sin. He chose to take a chance, to risk it all and be surprised. He didn't place his confidence in himself! He placed his confidence in God.

In God we trust. That's what our founding fathers used to say as they all laughed in the face of the King of England!

God bless Joseph. He must have laughed a lot throughout his life.

St. Joseph, pray for us!


  1. Amen Fr A! I agree wholehearted! And I love the story of Bill and his precious family.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with your take on the HHS mandate. We had the "honeymoon" baby. We were not at all prepared, no home of our own yet, not a lot of savings, and fairly young by today's standards. But, we joyfully accepted this gift. I always laugh when young married couples talk about getting all their ducks in a row before they have their first child. No one can completely prepare you for welcoming your first. And as you say, it a lot less fun when you plan everything! I have precious memories of penny pinching and my marriage growing along with my first born. We have to trust the Lord, as your family of eight reminds us.

  3. Thank you so much for this meditation Father Alfonse!!

    I REALLY needed to hear it today...I've decided to finally 'take a chance', and make myself vulnerable (Something I almost NEVER do.) There's someone I need to be honest with; to really say how I think and feel about them. I have NO idea how they will react or what they think...But I'm finally confident enough in the LOVE of Christ to risk telling someone I care about them, whether or not I know if they care for me in the same way.

    Anyways, thanks again! Hope you have an awesome feast day of St. Joseph! :)

    - Jessica

  4. Hi there Fr. Alfonse!
    I was happy to have attended your mass this morning. As I said earlier, what with this horrible mandate and all, I as well as a few others at the University of St. Thomas in Houston are trying to garner more attention to the issue primarily with social networking to begin with, by telling everyone we know that college kids are against the mandate 100%! If you could just mention us on your blog, or even email the link to any high school students we would be more than appreciative. Thanks for your time Fr, and GOD BLESS:) Here's the link, College Students Against HHS

  5. Beautiful meditation! I love the photo you chose today, Father. The Feast Day of St. Joseph is one of my favorites. St. Joseph is such a wonderful example of what fatherhood should be! He was strong, loving, silent, peaceful, and understanding. He's truly a holy example of how we should all live our lives.

    This HHS Mandate scares me, adding to my ongoing worries about the state of America today. Honestly, I think we will have extreme difficulty overturning this mandate until people truly begin to **trust less in government** and turn back toward the religious principles this wonderful nation was founded on! We have so many other pressing issues that demand greater attention such as our economy, unemployment, fuel prices, environmental degradation, poor education system, and human rights violations. The Obama administration's obsession with "reproductive rights for all" is downright sickening and so out-of-touch with bigger issues confronting America today!!

    Your story about the family of 8 is heartwarming. What a beautiful example of Christ alive in their marriage and their family. They live the spirit of St. Joseph and our Blessed Mother. They may be criticized and frowned upon in our secular culture for having "too many children." But, you know what? They are happy, loving, and devoted to the Lord and consider Him **the center** in their lives! They are tremendously blessed and remain an outstanding example of a family who is doing things the Godly way, not through a government-mandated right!


    -Jennifer :)

  6. Your Meditation is so very True! It was nice bumping into u this morning.


Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.