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!

Friday, August 24, 2012

John 1:45-51 Under The Fig Tree

John 1:45-51  Under The Fig Tree
(Click here for readings)
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”  But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth? ...Jesus saw Nathanael and said to him, “Here is a true child of Israel...Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”  Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” 
Putting things together is an important part of being a Christian.  Nathanael knew the scriptures well.  He was able to piece two important oracles together:  the fig tree and Nazareth.  The fact that he was “called” while sitting underneath a fig tree recalls how neighbors will “invite” one another under their “fig tree” in the messianic age (Zech 3:8).  And the fact that “branch” that will sprout from David is a term linked to the word Nazareth. 
When two truths join together, amazing things happen.
This morning I was driving out to Sky Ranch to celebrate Mass for the Senior girls at Ursuline Academy.   As I was heading down Walnut Hill, I got pulled over by the police.  To my “amazement”, I got pulled over because I was going a bit faster than the speed limit.  As soon as I pulled away, I kept asking myself over and over again, “Why do I do this to myself?  Why am I so stupid?  Why do I keep on agreeing to celebrate Masses that are so far away?” [Sky Ranch is about an hour-and-a-half from St. Monica.  It’s a long drive for one mass].  But in all honesty, I wasn’t asking the right questions.  Or better yet, I wasn’t allowing myself to put the right “two and two” together.  The problem was not with me being generous.  The problem was with me being devilish!   Of course I would love to be able to convince myself that generosity and sacrifices are not worth the time, the expense or the effort.  But the reality is that one can be generous and reckless at the same time.   
Either/Or or Also/And:  What makes Christianity so remarkable is its balanced approach to just about everything.   Take holiness and sinfulness as an example.  Most of our secular foes think that there is a great divide between the life of a saint and a sinner.  If there is, it isn’t our fault; it’s there’s. Most sinners would love to call themselves saints.  But it is the saint who is the first to call himself a sinner.  Christians would do well in reminding those who love to judge us that, in order to be a saint, the saint must first declare himself a sinner.   The question of holiness and sinfulness is not a question of either/or, but rather also/and.
Or take, for example, the atheist, who cherishes the use of his intellect to insult, on the grounds of reason alone, every single believer.  For him, it’s a simple question of either/or:  either you use your reason to liberate you, or you keep the faith that enslaves you.  But for the Christian it isn’t a matter of “either this or that”; it’s a matter of “both this and that”.  The Christian does not need to separate faith from reason; in fact, he believes in faith and reason; he believes that faith extends the arms of reason. 

Now every Christian knows that he has a touch of atheism in him.  After all, if he did not doubt, then he could not have faith.  Faith, by definition, requires a reasonable amount of doubt.   Of course the atheist will never admit he doubts himself.  He has too much confidence in himself.  On the other hand, the Christian should feel no shame in his weaknesses and doubts.  Humility is an essential ingredient to being a better Christian.  Paradoxically, if he did not doubt in God, he would turn himself into god...or an atheist (the two are not so far apart as you would think).
We have been taught to believe that confident people do not doubt themselves.  Nonsense!  This is like saying “confident people do not surprise themselves”.  Only those who watched the Olympics know what I am talking about.  The reality is quite obvious: confidence and doubts go hand-in-hand.  We all doubt ourselves once in a while.  Thank God!  If you didn’t have doubts in yourself, then you could never surprise yourself.  And you would take away one of the greatest joys in life.
Recently, two strong-willed women died.  Both sought to protect women’s rights.  Helen Gurley Brown, a writer, was a lifelong warrior for the Pro-Choice cause.  Nellie Gray, a lawyer, was a warrior for the Pro-life movement.  These women, who died within days of each other, were worlds apart in their views of women’s rights.   We often think of the Pro-Choice cause as synonymous with women’s rights and the Pro-life movement as synonymous as children’s rights.  This is not correct.  It is a deliberate tactic of the Pro-Choice cause when speaking incorrectly of the Pro-Life movement.    The real difference is that Brown believed you could separate the two (baby and mother).  Gray believed you could not. 
When our foes speak against us, they always use the tactic of divide and conquer.  It’s always an either/or for them.  But the Christian view of humanity is the most humane view of all.  It does not allow for anything less than also/and.  The pro-choice cause would like to consider themselves the movement for women’s rights (at the exclusion and expense of the child).   The Pro-Life movement is not a baby’s rights movement (at the exclusion and expense of the mother).  Rather, it is a movement that insists on the rights of mom and child.  This is who we are.  This is what we have always believed in.  That all life is sacred is the most humane and Christian way to respect all life.
We have more in common than in what separates us. 


  1. Im just wondering how many times does one get pulled over before they quit speeding or manage thier time better so they're not in a hurry all the time, running late.

  2. I don't know...but I will let you know when I find out.

    1. LOL
      I guess the world may never know, like how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? I bet half of your audience has no clue what that means!

      So I imagine you have a speeding ticket fine catagory in your monthly budget. LOL!!!!

      I know you dont always talk your way out of them even though you have a lot of experience at story telling;-)

  3. FatherAlfonse-Thank you for giving me a different perspective on Pro-Life & Pro-Choice. When you said it yesterday in Mass my brain lit up with this new connection. I was hoping you would put it in your blog to make sure I got it right. Often I have tried to argue this topic but did not feel confident enough. I went over it in my mind with arguments that Pro-Choice often uses and regardless how the baby came to be he/she is human and human life is sacred.

    BTW heads up when driving not only on Walnut Hill but also Midway; Marsh Lane and especially NORTHWEST HIGHWAY by Target! Guess how I know this:/


  4. I remember one your homilies you brought up about another time you got pulled over by the police when you were running late to do another Mass.
    i believe you told us it was one of your first Mass here in Dallas ;)
    those police officer must like seeing you! you should ask the officers "would you like to confess your sin to me LOL!"!!!!!!!!!!

    Have a blessed Saturday ! My Father !

  5. i do not like getting tickets !;(
    i feel for you ! :)

    1. I can't help but laugh and also shake my head! Father Alfonse - The temptation to speed is a terrible habit that needs breaking! My uncle who's a few years older than you has a "heavy foot" and gets pulled over all the time. He's been in a number of wrecks, too. (It's frightening to be in the car with him. Never know how reckless he'll get...). Gosh only know how much he's paid in fines.

      What's sad is if the only way to get someone to stop speeding is after the've caused a serious accident, killed someone, and got thrown in jail! Part of being a good Christian is obeying traffic laws. (I know all too well how difficult it is not to speed on Walnut Hill. The 35 mpg is ridiculously slow. This area along with Farmers Branch are major cop hang outs.)

      Just think if you eliminated the budget for speeding tickets that money could go towards this year's St. Monica School GAP fund!

      Praying for you always,



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