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, May 13, 2012

John 15:9-17 I Still Love You

John 15:9-17  I Still Love You.
(Click here for readings)
Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you….No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” 
Today, I would just like to share with you some random thoughts.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.  It is so hard to love someone you don’t know.  But it is even harder to love someone you do know.  After all, the more you know someone, the harder it is to turn a blind eye at their defects.  That’s what makes Christ’s love for us so admirable, so beautiful, and so loveable.  He knows us.  Every little bit of us.  And still, he loves us.
Recently, while eating lunch at a local restaurant, I saw a former student of mine who once had a vibrant and radiant love for Christ.  She loved the Lord and it was obvious that he loved her too.  She and I would often get together and talk about God, our faith and the world.  We were going to solve the world’s problems together, one soul at a time.  I have to say, I had some wonderful conversations with her.  She was on fire!  We had this little saying.  I would say, “Pray for me” and she would say, “And you pray for me.”  Then she went off to College and everything changed.  She no longer kept in touch.  She stopped calling, texting and going to Church.  I later learned from others that she no longer considered herself a Christian.  She had changed.
And then I saw her.
There was no way she could avoid me now.  Our paths had crossed and I couldn’t believe it.  Although her physical appearance had radically changed, it did not take me long to recognize her.  I came up to her and said, “I can’t believe you are standing in front of me.  I have missed you very much.  You look so different now.”  Not knowing what I knew, she said to me, “I have changed a lot, not only on the outside but also on the inside.”  I told her, “I haven’t.  I still pray for you.  And even if you don’t pray for me, I can still pray for you.  Just because you change, it doesn’t mean I have to change too.” 
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.  Even if you don’t love the Lord, he can still love you.  
As the Father loves me, so I love you.  This morning at Mass I heard the Celtic Alleluia.  Many people love this Alleluia rendition.  I don’t.  Every time I hear it, I imagine a group of Irish drunks, in a pub, with a Guinness in their hands, raising their warm mugs and toasting each other as they sing it.  Now you know why I don’t like it.  But does the song have a problem or do I have a problem? I think I have the problem.  And my problem is like everybody’s problem.  Our problem is that our mind is like a filter.  We love to filter the world through our mind so that we can see things the way we want to see them, and not necessarily the way they really are.
For example, take a flower.  What exactly is it?  In the mind of a scientist it’s a plant.  In the mind of a girlfriend it’s a gift.  To a store owner it is a source of income.  To a poet, it is a source of inspiration.  To a widow, it’s a reminder.  To a bee, it is a source of food.  To a weed it’s something that’s in the way. But what exactly is it?  Only God knows.  For only God sees things for what they really are. 
Who am I?  If I was forced to answer this question, I would have to say, “Whatever I am, I am not myself.”  People hardly know me and I hardly know myself.  When I finally think I know myself, I prove myself wrong.  I continue to be a mystery to others and to myself.  But God knows me.  Only God knows me.  And just because I change doesn’t mean He has to change.  He can still love me. 

It all makes sense now.  God commands us to love everyone not because we know them, but precisely because we will never know them.  God knows everyone; and although He knows, he still continues to love.  Love is the Christian's net - the catch all - for those we know and do not know, bcause love can define who we are and who we were meant to be.

Christians are the freest people in the world.  We don’t have to pick and choose who to love.  We are allowed to love everyone; those we don't know and those we think we know.  And just because people change, it doesn’t mean I have to change.  I can still love.


  1. "We are allowed to love everyone; those we don't know and those we think we know."

    You're right. Sometimes we don't even know ourselves, but yet we must learn to love ourselves before we can love anyone else?!?! This could be the biggest challenge for so many people, Christian or non-Christians. Perhaps this young woman you reunited with no longer loves herself?

    Your meditations have been beautiful, and the theme of love is certainly front and center. Love, we most certainly can't exist without it!

    Fr. Alfonse, our paths have crossed many times and although I don't know you very well personally, you should know that I love you! It's so easy to see how much love you have for Jesus Christ and its very contagious! If only we really had the faintest idea of how much HE loves!

  2. "We love to filter the world through our mind so that we can see things the way we want to see them, and not necessarily the way they really are."

    What a truthful statement... I tend to put on my rose-coloured glasses thinking certain people are perfect. I envy their endless material possessions, their popularity, and their social status. In my mind, I think they "have it all" not knowing that maybe, just maybe, they lack genuine **love** in their lives. All of the wealth and materialism doesn't guarantee love or happiness. It doesn't guarantee that these people love themselves, love others, or love Jesus Christ.

    If God knows me so well, why can't he help me better educate and know myself? Why am I constantly waxing and waning in understanding what I'm all about, what my purpose is, and who I really am? One day I think I've figured out what God wants me to be. Another day I'm doubting myself. I doubt my faith and I doubt my existence. I agree how important it is to learn to "love ourselves" before we can love others unconditionally - the unknown and known people in our lives. However, we have to be careful not to become over-confident/conceited in loving ourselves.

    On this Mother's Day, I reflect on the love that our mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, and caretakers bring to our lives. A mother would lay her life down to protect her child from harm just like Christ would die on the cross for the salvation of souls. The love a mother has for her child and the love Christ has for his believers is beautiful!



  3. WE have been going to St Josephs for two years and I just found this area of he parish giving Father Alfonse's thoughts. We joined the parish because we loved hearing his sermons so this site is great! Keep up the good work Father Alfonse, we need all the help we can get

  4. Father Alfonse - I find it amazing how your meditations really burrow into the psyche. I felt the urge to share this story. I have not thought of this in years....

    I woke up at 2:30 am this morning with sadness of in my heart. I remember this boy I went to high school with. He always carried a yo-yo with him. I found him terribly annoying. We took English & History Advanced class together. He always stared at me, threw paper wads at me, and teased me. I couldn't stand the boy. (I often thought how much I'd love to throw that yo-yo in his face.) The only redeeming quality was his art talent and incredible writing abilities. (All of us in the class were supposed to be "gifted" in writing, so it didn't surprise me he wrote well.) I only endured class with him that one year. I felt relieved when he moved out of the Honors program. I didn't have to deal with his annoyances anymore....

    A year after we graduated from high school, I found out he committed suicide in his college dorm room. He hung himself. His roommate found him dead hanging from the ceiling.....

    I was shocked and so angry. I couldn't believe he was no longer living. Then I felt tremendous guilt and shame. I treated him so unlovingly! Here in my mind I thought of him as an annoyance like a fly buzzing around the room. I realized that he was desperately wanting attention. Later I discovered his home life was miserable, living in poverty and abuse with no love from his family. He obviously liked me yet I pushed him away. I didn't see him as being a child of Christ. I saw him as an unkept kid with a stupid out-of-date yo-yo. Who living in the 1990's with computers, laser disc players, VCRs, boom boxes, etc still played with such an old toy?

    Shortly after his death, I remember visiting his grave. His parents couldn't afford to purchase a gravestone with his name on it. They planted a tree near his burial site next to a temporary place marker. A friend had placed a tin box on his gravesite which contained a cassette tape from one of Eric's favorite bands, and of course, his prized yo-yo! I burst into tears seeing that yo-yo. Anyway, the next time I visited his grave that tin box with the possessions had been stolen. Only the tree remained. Now 20 years later the tree is overgrown. The graveyard is covered with hundreds of additional graves. My classmate's unmarked grave is well hidden among the other deceased individuals who probably lived long and happy lives....

    Even though I didn't know Eric very well, I look back at how I wish I could've loved him more. I filtered out any good that boy may have possessed because of his obnoxious behavior towards me. I know I'm not responsible for his suicide, but I often wonder if I had reached out as a sister in Christ if I could have helped him?? I think of other times I've taken people for granted not seeing the goodness in them. These same people may not be alive tomorrow for me to change my attitude and love them unconditionally as Christ loves them.

    Thanks for allowing me to share more thoughts.



  5. I have been rolling around your words in my head trying to get the point.

    Just because someone stops loving us, doesn’t mean we stop loving them. That is very hard. Rejection or being forgotten or ignored are difficult feelings to overcome.

    I was thinking about the girl you are talking about and thinking about my daughter who is ‘doing her own thing’ now as far as God is concerned. When she went her own way spiritually, I took offense to it. I wondered what I had done wrong, what I should have done that I didn’t, how I had failed her.

    Probably not unlike this young lady you are talking about, she was completely catechized and had a strong grasp of TRUTH.

    So what happened? The shortest explanation is ‘the world’.

    When I quit seeing her from my narrow perspective, with all my baggage, I was able to see that even though she has moved away from God and me (spiritually), I don’t have to change to meet her needs or to not step on her ‘new’ toes, which is something I found myself doing. I will never stop loving her and I know she will never stop loving me, but it has changed and that change is a little sad for me, but I know that God sees what happens in the end, who she was made to be and who she will become and I want to let go of my limited perspective and see her the way He sees her.

    I know there is freedom and peace there:)


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