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!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mt 11:20-24 Comfortably Numb

Mt 11:20-24  Comfortably Numb
I remember as a teenager listening to Pink Floyd but never really understanding it.  Today, it reminds me of children watching a cartoon with their parents and wondering why their parents are laughing at a certain comment.  Cartoons, like Pink Floyd’s music, were created for adults, not for kids.
If you don’t stand for something you will fall for everything.  Now I know where that saying comes from:  today’s first reading.  The Lord told Isaiah, “Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail before these two stumps of smoldering brands…They shall not stand, it shall not be!  But within sixty years and five, Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation.  Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!”
Two smoldering stumps.  When did we go wrong?  How did we get so far lost?  It all began when we started believing the scientists and activists more than the religious; when we decided to heed human advice rather than Godly advice.
Remember how computers were supposed to make life easier?  Remember how they were supposed to eliminate paper?  Remember how they were supposed to save us time?  Hahahahaha! 
Life has not become easier or less wasteful, life has become less personable: comfortably numb. 
“Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail you!”  We don’t always have to run away from difficulties.  We don’t always have to curse them out!  Trials and tribulations can make us stronger and much more responsible! 
Over the years I have grown numb.  From my seminary days of cold showers and no heat, I have grown comfortably numb.  The reason for my numbness is due to my comfortness.  When I was in the seminary, if you wanted some Q-tips you would have to write a note to the superior and the superior would deliver them to your room.  He would usually leave just two Q-tips for the week.  I learned to use them at the right time and in the most efficient way.  Nothing was wasted!  Nothing.
Today, I have a confession to make.  I have a tendency to be very wasteful.  Why?  Because I live in a home that does not belong to me; I do not have to pay for my electricity, water or maintenance.  In the morning, when I leave my home and notice the front light still on, I don’t get of my car, I don’t even fret for a moment.  Instead, I tell myself, “Oh well, I’ll turn it off later.”  The next morning, when I notice it’s still on, because I forgot to turn it off, I promise myself I will take care of it as soon as I return.  Again, I forget to do anything about it.  Why?  Because I don’t pay for it.   I’m comfortably numb.
Yesterday, I got on an online debate with a group of people who were supporting Melinda Gates' billion dollar campaign to provide over 100 million women in Africa with free contraceptives.  I read all the same stale arguments over and over again:  "The Catholic Church hates women; the Church knows nothing about family struggles or about the problems in Africa!"  I screamed, “The Church hates women?  The Church knows nothing about Africa or families???”  That was it!  I couldn’t take it anymore!


Before anyone's great-grandmother was born, the Catholic Church had missionaries, priests and nuns working with poor families in Africa.  We know a lot about Africa and the struggles that families face.  We know more about Africa than anyone's personal experience or anyone's personal advisors.
But what do American's know about families?  When did America suddenly become the expert in raising kids and protecting families???  When did we become the role model of the world?  If ten million African girls are starving to death, why are ten million American girls starving themselves to death?  What do we know about families?  What do we think we can teach others about raising children?  I’ll tell you what we can teach them:  the mistakes we have made.
Why do we want to export to other nations and other cultures our programs and policies that never worked their wonders?  Why do we want to share with others our failed ideas?
Let’s take a good look at family life in America.  1-out-of-2 marriages fail, far more than any third world nation; more of our kids take drugs than any third world country (including those that supply them); more of our kids are committing suicide than any third world nation.  We spend more money on secondary education than any third world nation and yet most of our doctors, professors, and engineers went to a secondary school in a third world country.   Why do our test scores lag behind most of the industrial world?  I will tell you why:  because we don’t honor, support and protect the family like other nations do, especially third world nations, neighborhoods and families.
We have connected contraceptives with ending poverty, ending abuse, stronger families, success, job opportunities, responsibility, and higher "living" standards. These are all BAD CONNECTIONS.
Instead, we should connect contraceptives with the reality of infidelity, male invincibility, the hyper-sexualization of woman and the obsession towards the ideal body, irresponsible behavior and an increase in STD’s, abortion, suicide and lower standards of living in all categories except material.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux once said, “Hell is full of good wishes and desires.”  Today, we say “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  The roads to home may change, but the roads to heaven and hell will never change.   
We say we honor and value families.  If so, then why do we only encourage poor families to limit the number of children they have, but never encourage rich families to have more?  Why is that, if we honor and value the family?  Why do most rich families have just one or two kids?  Can they not afford to send their children to the best schools around?  Can they not provide each one their personal menu and show horse?
Do we really honor and value our families or is it that we care about something else?  
I don’t think we honor and value families like the rest of the world.  Instead, I think we honor and value personal choice; more specifically, choices that make us feel comfortable…“comfortably numb.”  And to not feel guilty about it, we would like to share our numbness with the rest of the world!

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the meditation father. :)

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  2. My goodness, super large font today. Your readers will be pleased. Must be a side effect of your new eye glasses you. ;)

    I agree we all have a tendency to become "comfortably numb" in our lives. However, it's no excuse to be wasteful. How many hours do we waste on the Internet or watching tv shows? How much time do we waste with all the digital stuff (smartphones, iPads, iPods, etc.)? How about attempting to honor and value the family by ditching the electronic stuff and engaging in family conversation? Attend Mass together, pray together, eat dinner together, engage in interfaith discussion with other families or serve the needy. We are all too comfortable with the material stuff we possess. We are all too comfortable with thinking we are the superior nation when other nations are doing a much better job in fostering the "good connections".

    Not so sure if you are into dance music, but there's a disco version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" by the band Scissor Sisters (out of NYC) that's great.

    Blessings,

    -Jennifer

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  3. A Confused Teenage GirlJuly 17, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Father, this question is not related to your great meditation, but I'll ask it anyways?
    When we pray, does our prayer actually have to potential to make something change? For instance if my sister was really sick and I prayed and I prayed,would God actually "consider" making her better? Because I know he knows what is going to happen already... could a lot of prayer actually influence what happens? For instance.. If I really anted something to get better but I don't pray for it to get better does it stay the same? but if I pray FAITHFULLY, God could actually make it change? I'm sorry. I know this is really hard to explain, but I can't even pray anymore. I know we should be able to talk to God just like he was our best friend and father, but I can't. I just go to the chapel or sit in my room and turn to the crucifix and look at him. For some reason my brain can't understand how prayer works, I don't know why my brain is doubting so many things. I DO believe, In my heart I Know I believe, but my brain is the one playing me tricks. I have trust issues. I know I have to trust God with all my heart. I now he is not a genie in the bottle that will magically grant my wishes, but I just also don't want to pray and pray and then for (--my problem--) to not get fixed because I would be upset at God, even though I shouldn't be. Anyways, I'm sorry for rambling. I'm just really anxious right now and want to be able to talk to my daddy in heaven but I don't even no how to start. I'm SO scared

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  4. I really needed to read this meditation today. So many people, church going people, not just Catholics make the same excuses about why free contraceptives and abortions are necessary. I never really know exactly what to tell them. Especially when one young girl in my faith formation class tells me that her sister's 14 year old friend is pregnant and every one feels she should have an abortion but she doesn't. I told them that 2 wrongs don't make a right and that it is against God's commandments. It is not the baby's fault and that the baby should not have to pay for anyone else's mistakes. We prayed for the young girl and her family. The next week one of the boys in my class brings up to me that his mom said it was okay for this girl to have an abortion, the girl is so young and cannot raise this child on her own. I was very upset because this boys family was one of the few families in my class that went to church. I just reminded him again of the commandments and told him his mother was wrong in saying this and that is not what the Church teaches. I wanted to approach his mother but didn't. I wasn't sure what to say besides what I told the children. I hear it from others at work who feel the same way. You gave me some very good ammo.

    Thanks Father for sharing your meditations. May God Bless You Always!

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  5. You are right. What do we do about it?

    I keep hearing the problems, many that keep recycling but no answers. I guess it has to be done in the family, each individual family. But if we can't get Catholics, even Catholics that attend mass to take responsibility, how can we even be examples of righteous behavior? I've been attending the Latin Mass lately and I look around and see families, large families, families that don't worry about dressing to the nines. Families that teach their children respect and how to behave. They actually have a dress code for mass and it looks like people are at church when you go. They are not dressed all fancy with coiffed hairdos and manicures and pedicures, but they have a peace about them.

    But at the same time I look around and think I do not fit in here. I live in the real world. I know that when these same people are out in the 'general' population, they seem like weirdos. And they stand out because they are not the norm.

    Why do I go there? I go there because it is peaceful and quiet in the church before after and during mass. People do not visit in the church, they pray. They are respectful to everyone else and to Jesus in the Tabernacle.

    And the priests hear confessions EVERY DAY BEFORE and AFTER every mass and they stay there as long as there is a need.

    I love it even though I have no clue what they are saying and I've had two people try to teach me how to follow in that 1962 missal and they have different readings than the rest of the Church, but it is beautiful and I am catching on. Their homilies are about real issues, real controversial issues, it that is what needs to be taught and about the actual readings of the day. They are not concerned if people like them or what they have to say. They take teaching through the homily seriously.

    Yes they once scared me because they seemed so serious and stern. I went to confession recently fully expecting the priest to be stern with me because he had just given me a book on humility and after reading it, I really felt inept.
    But when I got in there, he was so much the opposite that I couldn't believe it. I could feel Jesus in there that day. I could almost see him sitting in that little box right there with Father.

    Holy families, how do we get holy families? It does almost seem like third world countries have the most devotion to God. I believe that oppression brings them closer much like all the painful trials we go through. I do fear that that kind of oppression is what it will take in the country to bring people back to God on their knees. And I believe we may very well be going in that direction. I know God can do anything, but his first priority is to get his children to himself and I imagine he will do whatever it takes.

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  6. Take care you remain tranquil, do not fear. A mom whose son has cancer shared this with me. Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to DANCE in the rain.

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