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, May 24, 2012

John 17:20-26 Being One In Christ

John 17:20-26  Being One In Christ
Jesus prayed saying:  “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you…that the world may believe that you sent me.” 
The Lord prayed not only for his Apostles, but for us.  His love for us is undeniable.  His prayers are always answered by the Father.  But, when his prayer comes to us (or when his disciples comes to us), do we accept the word of God?
Division among Christians is a scandal.  The Lord did not pray that his followers worship in different churches.  He prayed specifically that we all be one in Lord, in faith and in baptism.  Sure, we come together on many social issues such as abortion, marriage, Christian persecution and the very real threat of secularism.  But when it comes to being of one heart, one mind, one body…wow, we couldn’t be getting further from the Truth! 
For years we have had the very familiar and very unfortunate infighting among Catholics.  It is a scandal.  It is especially a scandal when nuns and priests openly dissent against their vows, their promises and the moral teachings of the Church.  The Lord trusted them, and they broke their promises.  It is even more of a scandal when dissenting faculty members drive faithful faculty members out. 
It is a scandal when religious remain silent, absolutely silent, on issues of abortion and contraceptives, yet will speak up (and rightly so) on issues such as war, famine, women’s rights and the environment.  One priest recently tried to convince me by telling me, “Well, we have enough people to talk about those other issues.”  Hogwash!  Yes, all these issues are important, not just some of them.  All of these issues are important, yet some are more important than others and there are very good reasons for saying so.  Abortion is the number one issue right now because it is striking dead millions of innocent human beings a year; more than the environment, the war, or famine combined in our country.  Being silent on this issue is tantamount to being silent on genocide.  Why would anyone do that? 
It is a scandal when a Catholic institution such as Georgetown University thumbs its nose at the Bishops of the Church; those whom the Apostles appointed as their legitimate successors.  That doesn’t mean the Bishops don’t make mistakes.  Of course they do.  But when it comes to faith and morals, the teachings of the Church are one with Christ, and will always be one with Christ.  That is the guarantee of the Holy Spirit upon Peter and His Successors.
A few weeks ago the President of the United States came out in favor of gay marriage.  He used and quoted Sacred Scripture to back his claim; and yet, he apparently could not find in Scripture the obvious references defending traditional marriage or the abominations that twist marriage.  How scandalous.  It is one thing to be a sinner; it is quite another to teach others to sin.  God forbid we take the President’s word of approval as more accepting and loving than the Savior’s word or Scripture’s word or the Apostles word that says, “He joined them male and female”.  God forbid we take this year’s testimonies as more righteous and meaningful than the testimonies given to us since the dawn of man.
I pray that the President will one day find in Scripture the even more obvious reference to the sanctity of life.
May your Spirit, O Lord, we pray, imbue us powerfully with spiritual gifts, that he may give us a mind pleasing to you and graciously conform us to your will.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 


  1. Father Alfonse, what is the theological definition of "the Truth"? Can't "the Truth" be intepreted differently among Protestants and Catholics? How about the principle of "the Truth" within the divisions of Catholic social teaching? Pro-lifers see "the Truth" one way. Social justice advocates see "the Truth" another way. Maybe even some Religious priests and sisters want to define "the Truth" to match their own selfish ideals and prejudices?

    I've never quite understood why Catholics are so divided between pro-life and social justice. Doesn't life need to exist in order for wars, famines, poverty and the environment to affect society? Social justice proponents think limiting populations will lesson poverty, starvation, and environmental degradation. Not so many mouths to feed or angry folks to fight against one another.

    People seem to be afraid of offending another person's "choices" by bringing up the issues of contraception and abortion. Those are two "no no words" leading to a heavy silence in a room. I know I can speak to my Protestant mother all day long about the environment and wars and poverty. But, bring up the "C" word or the "A" word and she goes into a defensive tirade. That's when her anti-Catholicism really stands out. (I still love my mom though and respect her opinions.) She doesn't understand why the Church is "anti-woman" by encouraging women to have so many children. My mother, bless her soul, is a huge supporter of Obama. I don't like this at all, but again I have to respect her choice for president. I refuse to vote for Obama or support his gay marriage stand. I'm apalled he'd pull out Sacred Scripture in order to defend his immoral stance.

    All we can do is to continue to pray for unity within our Catholic Church and unity within Christians:

    Come Holy Spirit, help unify the Christian faithful. Amen!



  2. I remember before the election of '08 Obama claimed in an interview with Rick Warren, the Purpose Driven Life author, that Matthew 25:40 was his favorite scripture.

    "And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."

    And yet he supported the killing of innocent preborn babies, even babies that were born alive!

    I guess he and all of his followers did not see the following in the Bible.

    2 Peter 3:16-17
    "speaking of these things* as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures. Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability.

    This problem has run through the Christian world since the invention of Sola Scriptura, the Bible alone theology, and those who are not Catholic/Orthodox are free to believe any interpretation of the Bible by their own admission. So many of the ignorant, unstable and unprincipled will believe what they are told by the one that was a liar from the beginning!

    The other major obstacle to truth is that the majority in our society will never know the truth because they believe what they hear in the media.

    Yes we need to pray for Obama but we also need to pray for the ignorant and unstable, that they will have eyes to see with and ears to hear with.

    AND WE OURSELVES MAKE SURE WE ARE EDUCATED ABOUT THE TRUTH. We never know when we will have the opportunity to share the truth with someone who genuinely wants to do the right thing, but is ignorant, gullible and will not take the time to find the truth.

    God Bless America
    God HELP America!!!

  3. There is only One Truth. What you are speaking of sounds like moral relativism to me.

    Until we have the courage to speak the 'C' and 'A' words in public, nothing will change. The anti 'C' and pro 'A',s have no problem sharing their views. Why is that? Maybe because their view is from the devil and it is so much easier to fall into sin than to fall out of it. Sin is easy and sin is accepted, admired and denied in our society anyway.

    Social justice vs Pro Life....I have often wondered that myself. I believe it is the devil again. All evil and confusion is from the devil. He has convinced those on the side of social justice, (which is not opposed to life in truth) that their primary concern is for those already out of the womb and he has made them believe so many lies that they cannot be counted and then led them to believe those 'beliefs' are compassionate, merciful and loving choices. They have taken the words social justice and created a new meaning to it, like the way they have hijacked things like gay, the Lord's beautiful rainbow, PLANNED parenthood and whatever other nice word they have substituted for evil.

    I am sorry about your mom's anti Catholic mindset. Only God can change her mind. All you can do is be an example of a faithful Catholic and pray that God will put someone in her life that will lead her to the truth. You will never do it. I would avoid the conversation with her. Now I don't suggest you avoid it with others, but it always has to be gentle and loving or their ears will close as soon as your mouth opens.

    OK, that is not Father's answer, but it is my "perspective" on the subject, so I may be way off. It is something that I am very passionate about and speak up on every chance I get. We must not be intimidated and think of sharing the truth as helping them get to heaven.

    God Bless You

    1. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts, Anonymous.

      I think moral relativism is a concern in our society today and does impact perceptions of "the One Truth." People are ignorant, often denying, the existence of a God: A loving God who desires people to love one another, forgive one another, and understand one another. These "One Truth" Dissenters do everything in their power to "hijack" the good in the world and manipulate it to promote evil. The Devil plays a role in the divisions and confusion among Catholics (and Protestants). However, we can't simply sit around on our laurels thinking because "the Devil is the cause" that nothing can be done to solve a problem. We should seek the aid of the Holy Spirit to give us all the courage to stand up to the "C" and "A" words. Of course, we cannot neglect social justice issues altogether. If we could only synchronize and harmonize both Catholic teachings and then use them both to help spread the "One Truth" of Jesus Christ our Savior.

      Yes, I've learned fairly quickly to avoid sensitive conversations with my mom. She talks more and louder than me. I come from a very verbal family. ;)

      God Bless You!


  4. Father, what are your views on being gay? You obviously don't support gay marriage in accordance with Catholic teaching, but what would you say to someone who told you they were gay?

    1. Thank you for asking. I have a few friends, dear friends, that are homosexuals. I have had kids come to me and tell me that they thought they were homosexual. They have told me because they know that I will love them without compromising the Church's beliefs.
      The Church does not support is gay marriage. Marriage is an important institution. It has history, and I truly believe it is wrong to redefine marriage since it opens the floodgates to redefining life, sin, grace, etc...
      Instead of redefining things, why not try to understand things?
      Gay marriage opens the doors to adopting children. I think it is important - very important - that a child's rights be respected. Every child has the natural right to a father and a mother. How else does a child know how mom is supposed to love dad? Or a man loves a woman, treats a woman, speaks to a woman? How a woman should be treated by a man. Through books? movies? School? IF so, then we highly underrate the time we spend with our parents; that is, 7 days a week, 24 hour influence, 365 days a year for 18 years that all that has in forming a child's psychology. We know what happens when it's not there. So, the way we grow up - good or bad - does play a role in our sexuality and psychology for good or bad.
      I trust in the Church's research. It is much more intensive and extensive than my own.
      But when it comes to ministering and befriending those who are homosexual, I have no problem with being their friend, their confessor, their priest, their father and their brother. They know they are loved by me, cherished and very much appreciated. I would not allow anything or anyone to belittle that in any way. I think that is the reason why I know not quite a few. Hope that helps.
      To be friends with someone doesn't necessarily mean you have to agree with them in everything. What it means is that you value them, respect them and honestly love them.
      Hope that helps.

    2. is an excellent resource for integrating our Catholic faith, scientific evidence, and counseling of homosexuals. If we do our homework, try to understand where "they" are coming from and help them through this, instead of condemning them, I think we are showing them God's love. I think their defenses / fears would not be so great. Also, I am so very happy that many Catholics have taken up their challenge / vocation to helping homosexuals unravel their true identity. COURAGE is the name of the program. When I read about this program, I realized how much more courage the persons going through this program had compared to me. I hold them in high regard!
      Great Words Father Alfonse!

    3. Courage is a wonderful , Vatican approved program for those carrying the cross of SSA(same sex attraction). There is a chapter in. The DFW area, as well as an Encourage group that is for family and friends of those with SSA and those caught up in the PPH(practicing and promoting Homosexuality) lifestyle.

  5. I used to get angry and self righteous when I looked around at all the people in the pews that have no idea of what being a Catholic is. That they consider themselves Catholic simply because they were baptized and brought up Catholic and go to Church.

    And it angered me that they are completely comfortable in their ignorance. They don't know what they don't know and they are perfectly happy there. I know most of the ones I know (sadly I can say most) have no problem with contraception, Invitro Fertilization and all kinds of other mortal sins. And yet they are proud to call themselves Catholic. All,(sadly all I know) of the same people always go to communion but never go to confession, many teach CCD, head up Bible study, are active in the KofC, mens club, womens club......all the while they are creating scandal because most of them have no problem sharing their sins with anyone, they are not even ashamed of their behavior.

    Now I truly feel sorry for them. Yes I have said what I could, tried to model good Catholic practices, help lead them to truth, but in the end most aren't really interested in it. They believe that doing the minimal will get them to heaven, and oh yeah, they don't believe in purgatory and they're not even afraid of hell.

    Then in my skewed thinking, I thought, "if I share the truth and they choose not to accept it, I have made them more culpable and that is not good for their souls and could lead them away from heaven. But on the other hand, if I don't share the truth with them, I am more culpable and that might lead me away from heaven" so it left me in a dellema....what to do......what to do? I pretty much took the selfish way out, and making it their own damn fault if they end up in hell. LOL!!! I know it's not funny, but what else can one do?

    Now I share little tidbits here and there like little crumbs, I don't try to catechize them with all the stuff they should have learned in the last 30 or 40 years of their life and I don't stress about it and I don't take responsibility for their choices and I am much more at peace.

    But I mostly feel sad that they are missing so much, they are missing the joy they don't even know exists, they are missing the excitement of learning all the stuff the Church teaches has a reason and a purpose, a purpose for their salvation, but mostly I feel sad because they don't know the truth about the Eucharist. That is what they are depriving themselves of, exactly the purpose of the whole thing, Jesus Christ, in the flesh, being in Him with Him and more than anything else Him being in them, receiving Him worthily.

    Today I told someone my favorite Catholic holiday, feast day or whatever the technical name is, is Pentacost. She looked at me puzzled and I told her, that is the the day they were made drunk in the Holy Spirit, that is the day they were filled with the most unimaginable joy, that is the day they were quite possibly the most fired up they ever were again for spreading the gospel, that was the day that they let go of all self control and let the Holy Spirit have complete control! How I would love to have been there.

    Come Holy Spirit!!! Fill me the way you filled them!!!

    There is so much that all the 'Catholic' dissenters are missing. Lord help them find you, not just before their last breath, but now while they can bask in You on earth!

    OK, I guess I sound like I'm high with the Holy Spirit. Maybe I am, but I think I'm only a little tipsy because I know there's a whole lot more!!

    Come Holy Spirit!

    1. I enjoy the Feast of Pentecost right up there with Easter. It's the spirit-filled invitation for us to follow the example of the Apostles. (Let's all get a little tipsy with the Holy Spirit this time of the year. Open up the bottle of bubbly!) What a challenge when not every Catholic is on the same page in terms of the Church's teachings.

      As a Catholic convert, I've studied the Church's teachings and understand the Sacramental and moral demands required. I think it's necessary to be a good example. I don't want to judge others who don't follow the Church's teachings to the letter. However, I do feel frustrated when I see behavior among Catholics that doesn't conform to the Church's teachings. I think it's particularly scandalous when catechizing to our precious youth. Thank goodness the Diocese now offers a certification program that encourages catechist formation in authentic church teachings. I remember a dear friend once telling me that he left the Church years ago because of an improper interpretation of the Book of Revelation taught by a catechist. (I think it may have had an atheist connotation to it.) It gave him a bad taste for the Catholic Church. It's stories like this that make me sad. How many ignorant Catholics are ignorant because they were badly catechized?



  6. Father Alfonse,
    That is a great response. I believe a lot of what you replied too. But I also believe God has been very clear, not just the Church on this issue and has defined marriage between a man and woman and not just for raising children. But i understand you used that example, since most people could grasp that one.
    I have a family member who is gay. I know she is struggling in life and in a lot of pain. She was raised Catholic and is not practicing now. It hurts my heart when someone says horrible things about homosexuals...because I think of her struggle. I know I only learned compassion with this issue only after I knew of her struggle. God has given me that lesson already. And he has forgiven me for being judgemental in the past already. However, when i hear someone be so cold and unforgiving on this issue and other issues, I try my hardest to teach them with love and not allow such belittling talk. I love her no matter what...however, I want the best for her which is for all...including myself. So, speak up agree with God and the Church on this issue and I am labeled as judgemental, hater and intolerant...and have people hold grudges. So I am trying to speak up on this issue and other issues with love. And I will pray for them and for myself because I realize I am a sinner even though I try so hard to please God each and everyday.
    Keep speaking and writing truth Father Alfonse. You are in my daily prayers. And I would sign my name, I will always sign my name to the things I actually write, except for this issue because my family memeber is not "out" within our whole family.

  7. Father, any chance the diocese or parishes would ever consider sponsoring an apologetics program like Catholic Voices, which offers training to Catholics in responding to hot-button issues like abortion? Apparently it's met with a lot of success in the United Kingdom, and the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, is about to start the program.

    1. DM - Thank-you for sharing this site. What a terrific idea to start an apologetics program in Dallas. I envision many volunteers signing up. Did you noticed the beautiful quote by Blessed John Henry Newmann at the end of the home page?

      "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men [and women] who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity - I enlarge [their] knowledge, to cultivate [their] reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism..."

      Something we should all remember as we respond to attacks on our Catholic Faith with zeal and conviction.



    2. Yes! I love the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman, and I hope very much to meet him one day. ;)

      Last summer I had the chance to read a collection of his writings (Selected Sermons, Prayers, and Devotions - available on Amazon) and really treasured it. It's the kind of book to keep close at hand, and refer to again and again.

  8. Great! Thank you so much for the link. I will take a look at it. And thank you for your thoughtful comments. They are always very much appreciated.

  9. I know this may be off the thread but it is still on the gospel! It's all good.
    I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one--as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
    This is Jesus’ last will & testament that He prayed to His Father… a cumulating prayer for what He lived for: It is when we become one that the world will believe!!! Unity! It is His own words… not my opinion. As you are in me, and I am in you. How do we become one? The Father is only a father b/c of His Son. The Son is only a son b/c of His Father. It is this same Trinitarian relationship that Jesus is asking of us... that we may Love one another. It is the immeasurable Love of the Father & Son for each other that Jesus saves humanity. Otherwise, would Jesus have said, “Not mine, but your will be done.”? This is the measure of Love that God is asking of us for each other…… no measure!! … to die to oneself!! There is no greater Love....It is when Love unites us (our acts of Love for each neighbor that we encounter) that we will have one mind, one heart....that the world will believe.
    I only see God as Love. Everything, everything, everything that happens to each one of us (in the person God puts in front of us in that present moment) is only b/c God Loves each one of us immensely. It is all and only for our own good! He is so amazing!!!!
    As Father Alfonse has said many times, there are no coincidences! It is not a coincidence that this gospel for today parallels the Evangelicals saying “We are all Catholics”. (God gives us glimpses of hope!)

  10. we have a great source for apologetics in Dallas.
    Listen to Catholic radio. They have catholoc answers each weekday on the drive home time around 5pm.
    Its all Catholic programing all day and night at 910 am.

    Just in case anyone out there doesnt know about it.

    1. The Catholic Radio in Dallas 910AM is wonderful. What a blessing! I listen to "Son Rise Morning Show" in the mornings on my way to work along with my rosary DVD. (I have a long commute.) Our very own Dr. Italy has a little Q&A spot on "Son Rise" once a week. (Didn't you go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Dr. Italy, Father Alfonse??) Also, I enjoy listening to Al Kresta in the afternoon. He always discusses hot-topic issues. Catholic Answers Live is so enlightening. I find Mitch Packwa's "Q&A Open Forum" very informative, too. It's interesting that all I really listen to on the radio anymore is Catholic stuff! I just can't stomach the bad DJs and crummy music on the secular radio channels.




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