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!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Jn 15:1-8 Remain In Me

Jn 15:1-8  Remain In Me
(Click here for readings)
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower…Remain in me, as I remain in you.”
Saul had a big problem.  He was way too confident in himself and in his persecution of Christians.  However, after his conversion, he became less confident in himself and more confident in Jesus Christ.  He spoke boldly in the name of the Lord (cf. Acts 9:26-31).

Where is the best place for me to be?  Where is the safest place for me to be?  Could it be anywhere other than where Jesus is? 
It would be exhilarating to sit at the right hand of the Lord.  It would be a privilege to be seated next to Him at the last supper.  But it should also be an honor to be crucified next to him on Calvary.  Wherever the Lord is, there I want to be.  Come what may, this will always be the safest and surest way to eternal joy.
Muslims are taught that prayer is a show; a show of reverence and obedience to God.  It is not to ask for favors or even to be heard.  In fact, there are no guarantees that God even hears prayers.  This makes perfect sense if you believe that God does not have a personal relationship with people.
But for Christians, prayer is a time to be rooted in their Father, the Son, the Love of their life.  Christians believe that God is not only heavenly but knows and cares for us personally.  In many ways, we believe the unbelievable.  When it comes to prayer, we are the most radical of all.  We believe the incredible assertion made by Jesus, “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it” (Jn 14:14).  Prayer is a time to be in his name.  And the truth of the matter is simple:  it is hardly what you would expect a fake Messiah to promise his people.  If the Lord was not the Lord, he would have been a lot more cautious to not appear so fictitious. 
“Without me you can do nothing…Remain in me, as I remain in you.”  Wow!  That is bold!  “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”  Wow!  That’s even bolder!  Why must I remain in him?  Why must I be part of His vine?  It is obvious!  So I may bear the same type of fruit as the Lord did; not a mutation, but fruit that will endure forever.  Bold fruit!
Bold is what we are.  Look around and try to find someone fierce yet gentle enough to hand in their own arrest warrant or write their own death certificate.  That’s what Fr. Damien did.  That’s what Fr. Maximilian Kolbe did.  That’s what Fr. Miguel Pro did.  That’s what Rita of Caccia did.  This is what hundreds of thousands have done since the dawn of Christ.  These are not some fictional characters.  These are not some movie stars.  These are men and women of God.
Be brave!  Follow the commadments of the Lord.  Live like the Lord!  You will be twisted and turned to break away from the vine.  Don't let it happen.  Friends will try to twist you off of Him.  Enemies will try to break you.  Selfishness will cut you off.  Ah yes, the fruit once fallen has become the preferred choice for many.  What prevents me from being tossed or thrown, grinded and obliterated?  “I am the vine, you are the branches.”   Vines are known to be thick.  Christians are known to be thick headed.  We don't budge.
A few years ago, a high school student came into my office and explained to me the trouble he was in.  Over the weekend, he had gone out to the mall with some friends to shop.  They entered one store and he liked a particular shirt.  He held it close to his chest but did not have the money to buy it.  One friend suggested that he steal it.  “Go ahead”, he said.  “No one is watching.” At that moment, this young man received a call from his mother.  “I’ve been waiting for you for ten minutes in the parking lot.  Drop whatever you have in your hands and get out of there now.” He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  But he didn’t listen.  He took his friend’s advice and walked out of the store with the shirt.  As soon as he stepped out of the store, he felt a hand fall upon his shoulder.  It was the security guard.  The Police were called and he was told he could never come back to that store again.  His friend had abandoned him.  His parents were ashamed of him. 
We all need to be grounded or rooted, attached or connected.  Everything in life is connected to something.  A flower roots itself to the earth.  The wind is connected to the sky.  What can I connect myself to?  Myself?  Can I hold onto myself for dear life?  Can a bee hive connect itself to itself?  No.  I know I am strong.  I know I can plan.  I know I can react and solve problems.  But I am not all-knowing, all-powerful, and all there.  I am strong but not that strong.  I cannot live life alone. 
Can I connect myself to others?  My parents? My friends?  I guess.  But do they not go through the same doubts and insecurities that I go through?  There is little stability in that. 
Then what can I connect or attach myself to?  My career?  Please!  Isn't eight hours a day for sixty five years enough?  I don't want to spend an extra hour of my life on my career. 

There is only one that I can attach myself to:  Jesus Christ. 
Let's be honest.  It has never hurt anyone to pray.  It has never hurt anyone to trust in the Lord.  It has never hurt anyone except the Lord himself.  For the Lord is willing to stay with me; through thick and thin; through abuse and neglect; through everything I can throw at him.  All I must do is trust in His Will, His Mission, His promises.  Everyone and everything comes and goes...except the Lord. He rises. 
The Lord invites his people:  Stay with me on the top of the mountain.  Stay with me through the valley of tears.  Stay with me on the cross!  Stay with me in the resurrection. Stay with me in the Church.  So many leave and yet Christ was crucified for the sins of His People.
Should we trust in the Lord?  You bet.  Should we put Him first?  Yes.  Why?  Because He will put us first.  “Do not be afraid”, says the Lord, “I will be with you till the end of time."

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