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, August 14, 2012

Mt 18:1-14 Broken Saints

Mt 18:1-14  Broken Saints
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven…If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?”
There are some commonalities in life that are a bit confusing.  For example, those who are overwhelmed with joy often share something in common with those who are overwhelmed with grief.  They both shed tears.  Another, that has intrigued me for years, is related to today’s Gospel passage.  I have seen that those who are emptied by sin often share something in common with those who are filled by grace.  They both are broken.
I have to calm myself down when people tell me that there are many commonalities among the great world religions.  For example, that Aztecs had altars, just like Roman Catholics have alters.  But appearances, like so many things in this world, are not everything.  An SS officer may have a gun just like GI Joe, but what he does with it is an entirely different story. 
Although saints and sinners may both be broken, there is a tremendous difference between the brokenness caused by emptiness and the brokenness caused by holiness. 
Today, we celebrate the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe.  He was the only man that was sent to a Nazi concentration camp  who voluntarily gave his life up to save the life of a condemned prisoner.  He was a Roman Catholic priest. 
Sin breaks us apart.  It separates the heart from the mind; the body from the soul; the person from the community; the creature from the Creator.   The Nazis loved to separate individuals from their community and enjoyed watching them betray one another or turn against each other. 
But grace too breaks us apart; but in an entirely different way.  It releases us from our inner most fears.

It allows us to come out from under our hiding place.  Come out!  Come out!  Where ever you are!  When Maximilian Kolbe was not selected for death, he broke through the ranks of the saved and joined the list of condemned.  It was said that he came out from nowhere. 
Grace frees the “new man” from the old.  It breaks free the captive.  It liberates the restless heart from a very limited mind.  Grace allows something good to created from nothing.  From the emptiness of space came forth an explosion of love.  From the darkest corner of the planet (Auschwitz) came forth a ray of light.  Sacrifice breaks the back of despair.  It brings the dead back to life.  It is giving, rewarding, enriching.  But it leaves the human body twisted, broken and disfigured. 
On the night he was betrayed, he took the bread, broke it, gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this all of you and eat of it.  This is my body which will be given up for you…Do this in memory of me.”
The Lord allowed his body to be torn (broken) so that it could be distributed to others.  Do this in memory of me in an invitation to do what the Lord did.  Allow the Lord to take you, break you, and give you to others.  Do this in memory of me. 

A broken saint is not the same as a broken man.  The difference is one gave himself away while the other never gave himself away.
Although the man who left his sheep in search of the lost one may have appeared just as confused as his lost sheep, we must remember that appearances are not everything.  Do not be fooled.  The Savior may have looked just as dazed as the saved; just as bloodied as the condemned; just as confused as the victim; just as much of a man as the rest, but he is not.  He is God; who appeared like us in all things, except sin.
Broken bread is still bread.  A pierced heart is just a reminder of a loving heart.

9 comments:

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  3. This is an interesting thought. Looks CAN be deceiving. Judgements are often made by outward appearances.

    I have spent much time trying to make myself, my intentions, my actions clear to those around me and yet I still fail.

    I have made plenty assumptions about others myself and in the process driven myself crazy with all kinds of wild conclusions which were far from if not exactly the opposite of the truth.

    I have just recently, last week, started trying to not make those assumptions and I have to admit, it has truly given me freedom to live in peace.

    What does that have to do with your meditation? Only God knows the whole truth and I have to quit judging books by their covers and know that even if I do take the time to read them, I may still misinterpret them and my interpretation does not alter the truth.

    The only opinion that matters is God's.

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  4. Father Alfonse - I agree commonalities can be confusing in life. However, why get upset when people talk about many commonalities in world religions? Aztec altars and GI Joe dolls seem like trivial examples. I see commonality in world religions as a blessing in many ways. (Are you anti-ecumenical? I often wonder....) Simply ignoring or dismissing commonality with the idea "Christianity is superior" and religious "coexistence" wrong concerns me. A lot of the problems in this world are directly the result of arguing over our religious differences. Why not explore our religious similiarities and see where that leads the Church?

    What if St. Maximillian Kolbe didn't acknowledge the commonalities within his Jewish brother and sisters? Would he have still died for them? What if our missionaries didn't first see the commonalities in the people they minister to before inviting them to learn more about Christ? Globalization has made it necessary for us to be "disciples of nations" and effective "witnesses" of Christ in dynamic ways. However, if we are closed-minded and angry at the idea of working together with religious "commonalities" as a focus then we really can't make much progress in the new evangelization.

    (I don't mean to make your blood boil...)

    Blessings & Peace,

    -Jennifer

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  5. been there done thatAugust 14, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Cristina,

    "Trying to say ,I would be curious to see that side of you Father Alfonse. When your temper goes up a little bit higher then the norm...or when someone or something can press your button."

    Be careful what you ask for.... LOL!!

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    1. I see Father such a gentle Priest,But he is Italian LOL!

      Father Alfonse always does Wonderful Meditation. His Meditation always makes me think about myself and life!

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  6. "Allow the Lord to take you, break you, and give you to others." What a great definition of a saint! Absolutely Brilliant! Isn't this what it's all about?

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  7. Father Alfonse,

    Did you hear about the girl that was bullied because her ears stuck out and her chin was crooked? The kids at her school called her Dumbo. She spent her summer having plastic surgery because the bullying had gotten out of hand. Too me it's the love that's in someone's heart and not necessarily what they look like. That's unfortunate that she had to spend her summer correcting what people were making fun of when she could have been out enjoying that time off. I've made judgements on other people myself to find out later I was wrong and the person had a heart of gold.

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    1. Yes, Father heard this story. He posted about it. Look in the blog archives under August 7, 2012 "Mk 14:22-36 Walking on Water".

      -J.

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