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, August 2, 2012

Mt 13:47-53 Good and Bad Fish

Mt 13:47-53  Good and Bad Fish
Jesus said to the disciples:  “The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.  When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets.  What is bad they throw away.  Thus it will be at the end of the age.” 
I don’t think anyone would disagree with me if I said that there are all kinds of people in the world.  But what if I were to say that there were good and bad people in the world?  Would you still agree with me?  And, to make things a little more complicated, what if I were to tell you that quite a few bad people think they are actually good and very few good people who think they are bad (These people are generally dead and known to us as canonized Saints)? 
Now, in order for any of this to make sense, we have to define what it means to be bad.  So, who is up to the task?  Who would like to do it?  Should we submit ourselves to God and His Word or should we act like our ancestors and decide for ourselves?  Will we submit or will we vote?
Is the President of Chic-fil-A a bad person (or citizen) or is he a good person when he said, “I THINK we are opening up God’s judgment on our nation”?  Is the President of the United States a very bad person or a very good person when he voted, as a Senator, in favor of partial birth abortions?  Do we still need to figure this out or has God already decided?  Can we know what God thinks or is it still an uncracked (and very convenient) mystery? 
We are all sinners; there’s no doubt about that….I think.  Actually, there is…if you speak to an atheist.  Since they deny the existence of heaven and hell then it means they deny the existence of sin and grace.  You can’t have hell if you cannot sin.  You can’t have heaven if you can’t receive grace.  Although they deny the existence of sin, they don’t deny the existence of criminals.  Although they deny the existence of hell, they don’t deny the prisoner in solitary confinement.  Although they, along with Nietzsche, have moved beyond good and evil [N.B.  That’s the title of a book written by Nietzsche], society has not.  That’s good.  Even if we write about going beyond good and evil, we still seem to be able to give concrete examples of good and evil.  Funny!
As for Christians, I think I can safely speak for everyone when I say that we are all sinners.  But although it may be safe to say we are all sinners, it is not very safe to point it out to anyone.  And so, in a very silent way, we inadvertently perpetuate sinners to continue to sin and to be blind to sin. Yesterday, I watched on OWN a program regarding the work that nuns do in the United States.  One order works very hard at taking good care of male and transgender prostitutes.  They feed them, cloth them and make sure they get proper health care.  But, I didn’t notice any of the good sisters speaking to them about how bad it was for them.  Maybe, I just missed that part, but I thought for sure I saw the entire program.  
We have come up with our own Commandments and we respect them much more than we do God’s Commandments.  For example, the first and greatest “Civil” Commandment is this:  Don’t ever talk about religion.  We are very, very good at that.  Unfortunately, only Christians are very good at that.  While we say nothing, others are saying something and making a difference in the world.  The fastest growing religion in the United States is Islam.  It has grown by 66% in the past ten years.  America isn’t less religious; America is less Christian.
I’ve only seen small portions of the Olympics.  I watched the opening games that presented a very concise and elaborate history of England.  It seemed like they got everything except the important part; that is, the Christian part; the tremendous influence that Christianity had on its survival and history.
Yesterday, NBC (CNBC, MSNBC, etc…) did their very best at hiding one athlete’s faith.  They presented a short documentary on the life of gymnast John Orozco.  I have to admit, they did an awesome job at keeping this young man’s faith a secret.  Throughout the entire interview, John was wearing a rosary around his neck.  NBC went to great lengths at never showing the rosary cross in front of his chest.  How deceitful they were in their camera angles and image lengths to keep the cross hidden from viewers.  You would almost think it wasn’t there.  But it was, and what it did was convince me more than ever at how hard this news station works at giving the impression of how unimportant faith in America is. 
When did a rosary or a cross become a bad thing?  When did abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia become a good thing?  Answer:  Roughly the same time.
Have we gone beyond good and bad?  No.  We’ve just done a much better job at handling the bad and hiding the good.  But yesterday, there were tons of cars in the drive-thru windows of a Christian restaurant.  And all the politicians and all their bullies, could not stop the good Christian families nor drive them away. 

44 comments:

  1. Very interesting meditations this week, Father.

    I think the Media "hides the faith" in news stories because they do not want to "offend" the audience. Religion is seen as a personal and private thing.

    I see Islam spreading so quickly in the US because it lacks a central authority figure like a Pope, Bishops, etc. Many different sects maintain different interpretations of the Quran and scripture. Much more "open" in some respects because of the diversity. I think some people find Christianity as too rigid, too uncompromising, too structured, and too fundamentalistic. (Maybe even flat out annoying because Christians won't shut their mouths.) Christianity's "superior" point of view is a turn off to many non-Christians and atheists. (This goes back to the issue of religious "co-exist" which you are against. However, I feel it is necessary.)

    Some may argue that the owner of Chick-fil-A should've kept business and religion separate. Why discuss a "gay issue" when it has nothing to do with eating chicken or running a restaurant? Again, it's the principle of keeping religious points of view silent. Don't risk offense, controversy or ridicule. I don't see Muslim restaurant owners making a stink about "gay issues" causing controversy.

    (Oh..please don't spit at me for this comment!!!)


    Blessings,

    -Jennifer B.

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  2. P.S. Please, don't criticize the nuns. It's not their place to judge the behavior of the transgendered prostitutes but to care for them. I'm sure the good sisters pray for the prostitutes' conversion. Flat out saying these people are "bad" to their face isn't going to help their cause. Allow the Holy Spirit to do the healing.

    -Jennifer B.

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    1. Precisely the point of my meditation.

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    2. Terrific discussion taking place today!!! :)

      Father Alfonse - A follow-up to my original posts this morning that I forgot to mention....Interesting you bring up the fact that the Christian part of England's history wasn't mentioned in the Olympic Ceremony. Also, the "hiding of faith" with the rosary issue. Did you catch the Opening Ceremony Walk of Nations? When Turkey, a Muslim country, walked through the field the commentators made reference to the Celebration of Ramadan and how fasting would be delayed by the athletes until after the Games. (Also, reference made to Turkey's women athletes for competing for the 1st time in history.) I thought this was an interesting and seems opposite to the rosary/cross situation.

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    3. Father,
      I am a little confused about your response to the anonymous post above which was signed by Jennifer B. You said that the point she made about not telling the prostitutes they are "bad" was the point of your meditation and so I am confused because I thought you were saying that we should speak up for our faith and let others know what we believe and why. I do understand that when ministering to the poor you don't just come right out and say your "bad" or sinning. My main question comes from a post I made on facebook reminding my family and friends to participate in supporting Chick fil a on Aug. 1st. I had several family members make comments to my post that they believe same sex marriage is good and ok. I then posted what God teaches thru the church and scripture and that that is what I believe. As soon as i did that I was told I was a hater and that by quoting scripture and saying that same sex marriage was a sin is hateful and wrong. I was also told that i was judging all same sex couples. Father was I wrong in responding to what they said they believe by telling them same sex marriage is wrong and sinful? Should i have just left them to their thoughts and prayed for their conversion? 2nd question is I have a neice who is openly a lesbian and the rest of the family supports and even celebrates the relationship. We don't do that and my husband has told his niece that we love her but won't support her relationship because it is wrong. Are we wrong in doing that? Thanks and God Bless,
      Rebecca

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  3. This picture doesn't show they deliberately hid the cross on his Rosary. That observation seems a bit of a stretch :) If they got his whole torso to show the cross, we wouldn't see who it was they were interviewing or it would be a long shot which doesn't really work well for a sit-down, face to face interview format.

    In my view the whole Chic fil A appreciation/boycott is shallow. What exactly does one day of appreciation or boycott do to change hearts and minds? How about padding the guy's pockets every day of every year if the convictions are that strong. So, are the folks who are against Gay marriage going to stop using/buying Google, Amazon, Microsoft, General Mills, or Kraft products? These are just some corporations that publicly support LGBT rights.

    Gosh, I long for the day when Christianity will not be used as a football to satisfy/justify different agendas. His agony & death for us, our sins can't be reduced to this.

    Have the best day!

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    1. Did you watch the documentary or are you just basing your comment on the photo? Watch the documentary. Let me know :)

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    2. Yes, my comment was based on the photo. I thought the image came from web images of the interview.

      Per your suggestion I just now watched an online version of the documentary on NBC. It was a few minutes long, (not sure if it's the same piece you saw). To be honest it didn't seem to me as though they were cutting out the cross on purpose. Definitely, yes, there were shots & clips that didn't show the cross. I also paid attention to all the shots & clips where he was not wearing a Rosary and they didn't seem any differently produced than when he was. In fact, I did see the whole rosary in one clip where he was moving toward the camera. It was a brown one (you could barely see it but it was there). Anyway.... the prism from which I was watching the video right now is different than the first impression prism you had when you watched it.

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  4. Great commentary, Father Alphonse. I really enjoy reading these.

    I read this morning about the mother of one of the American men swimmers saying that her son is into 'one night stands' at the Olympics. He was quoted as saying four years ago he made a 'big mistake' by having a girlfriend during the Olympics. This time, he's single and 'having fun.' I couldn't believe he would say this or that his mother would be quoted as talking, without much apparent shame, about her son's sex life. Amazing.

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  5. Considering that nonreligious people have reduced morality to something subjective, it's strange that they oppose one man's beliefs about marriage. On what grounds is he wrong? He doesn't discriminate; he disapproves. His restaurant will serve homosexuals; he just won't bless their marriages. Why should a nonreligious person care about a religious person's blessing if he or she doesn't believe in religion? It makes no sense, nor is it fair to boycott (an economic form of discrimination) his business as a response. Usually, when someone lashes out disproportionately in response to a perceived affront, it's a sign that there's some gnawing insecurity in that person. They desperately seek approval because, somewhere deep inside, they're not comfortable with themselves. The whole Chick-Fillet protest seems like a desperate attempt to provide an ego-boost for gay-rights activists.

    The same insecurity applies to the concerted effort of the media to downplay the faith of various individuals. Modern journalism fabricates a reality without God: He becomes a concept, the church becomes another intellectual (or anti-intellectual) movement, and a person's spirituality is marginalized to oblivion. It's tempting to believe the myth when it's plastered everywhere, but that's why attending mass and witnessing the continual sacrifice of Jesus is so important. The mass brings a person back to reality: a reality infused with God's presence, populated with other souls thirsting for the Truth.

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    1. "Usually, when someone lashes out disproportionately in response to a perceived affront, it's a sign that there's some gnawing insecurity in that person. They desperately seek approval because, somewhere deep inside, they're not comfortable with themselves."

      It's interesting that you say this. One could also view it as some gnawing insecurity among heterosexuals. I feel empathy for Gay and lesbians. They are not allowed to know the freedom in all aspects to love and marry. There is a quote that comes to mind. "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." ~Nelson Mandela. So, I don't think they are not comfortable with themselves. Others are not comfortable with them. Just remember if you've never been bound, you might not know what it really means to be free.

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    2. Gays are free to live their lifestyle already. How should a revised definition of marriage make them more free? Will they live any differently when they have the piece of paper saying it's acceptable? They will be just as free as before. However, those who don't believe in the legitimacy of their marriage will not be as free. As we see in the case of Chic-fil-A, people will protest and try to hurt those who have a different idea of marriage. The Chic-fil-A controversy started with Jim Henson's daughter refusing Chic-fil-A's sponsorship on the grounds that they didn't support gay marriage. Then, mayors of various cities followed suit when the owner refused to recant his beliefs. The guy's not even a politician; he just owns a chain of restaurants selling bland chicken sandwiches. What does his approval mean to anyone who has already made up their mind? It doesn't mean anything. Activists who pile up on him are like bullies pouncing on a kid, forcing him to say "uncle."

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    3. "Gays are free to live their lifestyle already."

      - I'm not sure what this means....'live their lifestyle.' Yes, they can participate in the commercial aspects of life like everyone else, but it pretty much ends there.

      "How should a revised definition of marriage make them more free? Will they live any differently when they have the piece of paper saying it's acceptable? "

      - Seriously?!?...

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  6. Considering your comment about atheists, you say that atheists "deny" the existence of heaven. This is a logical fallacy, as one has to believe in the existence of something to actively deny it. Atheists do not deny God. They simply have not found enough evidence to support the existence of God. If God himself came to them and showed them evidence that he was the one true god then they would quite easily convert.

    For ones who say it is a matter of faith, then there can be no evidence supporting their claim, because once there is evidence for a belief it ceases to be faith and is instead verifiable evidence. If there is enough evidence presented then it can generally be accepted as true in the form of a scientific theory.

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    1. It sounds to me, John, like you're describing agnosticism. Atheists do in fact deny God. They don't believe God exists, and therefore would have every reason to deny the existence of heaven, or 'whatever'. Agnostics, however are indifferent; they neither call themselves believers or non believers because they cannot prove that God, heaven, and so on does or does not exist.

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    2. An agnostic is a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

      An atheist is someone who has made the choice not to believe in a deity. They're not denying any deity's existence, because for them to deny the deity existence they would have to acknowledge the deity actually exists first.

      There are some people who are regarded as "strong atheists" who assert that there is no god and there is absolutely nothing you can do to change their mind. However, most atheists are "soft atheists" who do not believe in a god, because they have not found enough evidence supporting a god.

      Of course if you're able to prove the existence of a sentient god, then the next step is proving that YOUR particular god is the correct one. And that's the most difficult of them all, since there are thousands of different religions with millions of different ideas of what an all-powerful deity is.

      Frankly when it comes to the nature of a deity I'm a Pantheist, because it makes the most sense to me, however it makes life difficult at times, because everything is sacred.

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    3. I'm pretty sure your last post is a huge elaboration of what I said. ;) Pantheism, now, is a term I'm not very familiar with. Will look that up.

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    4. Ah, but atheists are NOT denying heaven. For them to deny it they would have to know it exists.

      I am using a different term. Disbelief. You can believe or disbelieve in something regardless of the evidence presented.

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    5. Same difference if you ask me; no god = no heaven and no hell.... Just a dead body at the end of life with no where to go but six feet under.....

      FAITH is the key in my mind! As the old saying goes, "I would rather die as a believer and find out that there is not a god or heaven, than die as a nonbeliever and find out there is!"

      You will be in my prayers!

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    6. But it's not the same.

      A "soft atheist" will willingly admit that he/she does not know what happens after they die, but based on current evidence concludes that nothing happens. If the evidence changes, then their belief changes.

      A "strong atheist" will assert that they know what happens, and no amount of evidence can change that.

      An agnostic willfully admits that they don't know, and expresses that no one can know until they're actually pushing up the daisies.

      In your second paragraph you're asserting Pascal's Wager, coined after French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal. Unfortunately this only works if there are only two options for religious belief, Christianity and non-belief. Since there are near infinite options for choosing a deity, then this argument is flawed.

      You will be in my prayers, which I don't believe is going to do anything, however I just wanted to say that for once.

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    7. Holy cow, John, you are one intense dude. I make simple statements and you feel the need to get all philosophical....... Like it or not, when we die, there is either going to be an afterlife or there isn't, regardless whether or not you practice any sort of religion or other way of life. I can't imagine how the above statement is a flawed argument as it's not really an argument, in my book anyway. Apparently you need proof of a deity, I get it. Fortunately I've been blessed as a recipient of a miracle, a true miracle. I've never needed proof that God exists to begin with, but I'm incredibly thankful that He showed me His truth.

      Food for thought: Do you think Jesus' apostles who ended up as martyrs, which was mostly all of them, would have died for Jesus if they hadn't had experiences with Him after his resurrection? What about all those early Christians? I'm sure they must have been somewhat fearful of the pain they would endure, but yet none of them changed their story nor denied Jesus' existence as The Messiah to try and save themselves. There are lots of great reads out there from early church fathers so perhaps do a little, or should I say more research...??

      In closing, I can't imagine that we would go through all this pain and suffering in this hell we call Earth, to die, and that's it, nothing, nada. HOW BORING!!!!!!!! :D

      Thank you for the prayers!

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  7. Evidence...hmmm.. Let me ask you a question: "Have we discovered everything that exists?" Yes or No? What evidence can you provide for me? We take as faith many things that people take as fact. Can you prove to me that Davinci really painted the mona Lisa? I know his name appears on it. But did he personally do it? Prove it. And yet, we take it for granted. Do you have proof or evidence that Shakespeare really penned all his plays...all of them? No. So, why do we think he did?
    You mention God coming to earth and showing himself and that would be enough to convince every single atheist. I know tons of people who are wrong, know it and will never admit it out of pride. I think God already came to earth and some people rejected him. Did you not hear about it? Or is it he didn't come to earth like YOU would have liked him to. You know, like with blasts and fire and glowing and big monster faces, and with lights and thunder, etc... I think too many of us have watched way too many sci-fi movies. :)

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    1. Before I begin I should remind you that the burden of proof lies with the one making the claim, because you cannot prove the non-existence of something.

      I don't know whether or not Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, however we have a reasonable amount of evidence pointing to this man as the artist. Is there a possibility that he didn't paint the Mona Lisa? Yes. I'm not questioning this.

      If God came and appeared before me, and he was unconvincing then that just needs to try harder next time. He shouldn't fault me for using the logical brain he gave me.

      If God is truly just then he will not care how devout I have been, but will be focused on how virtuous a life I have lived. If God is petty, unjust, and demands worship then he does not deserve to be worshiped anyway.

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    2. No John. I disagree with you. The burden know lies with you. The Lord said, "Knock and the door shall be opened. Seek and you shall find. Ask and you shall receive. You mention your brain. Good starting point to God. Did it happen by blind chance or by design. The answer should be obvious. Has anyone, even the most brilliant mind created such a thing? No. Not even the fastest computer in the world can compete with the human brain since the computer is a creation of the human brain.
      So we can know God as being intelligent, powerful, and all loving (we have all that it takes to live).
      But we know God is a Father and love. Right here. Use your human heart. This is the best way to know someone. You can know something with your senses: taste, smell, see, hear, touch. You can know something by abstactly: putting the pieces together. But the best way to know someone is to know them by heart. Your teacher knows you because she interacts with you. You can know someone because you recognize them. But the best way to know someone is by heart (I know you by heart).
      The burden rests with you. In Scripture, it states: "He came into the world and his own rejected him."
      I doubt your problem is intellectual. Smart people and dumb people believe in God and don't believe in God. But I wouldn't be surprised if your problem isn't a problem with the heart. I might be wrong, but as a priest, this is usually the greatest obstacle to knowing and loving the Lord.
      Jesus Christ revealed who God is and it shocked the hell out of everyone: God is love and God is a Father. No other religion ever made that claim. Also, no other person ever made the claim that they were God. Finally, no God ever died and rose again. You say that if God showed himself to you, you would believe. But maybe with God you have to believe and then you see. That's what happened to me.

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    3. No, really. The burden of proof lies with the person who makes the claim. You wouldn't in a court of law accuse someone of a crime without any proof. You'd be laughed out of the courtroom. Just as with your claim that your god exists and is the one true god the burden of proof lies within the one making the claim.

      But frankly you have about as much proof for the existence of your deity than you do for proving that Odin killed the frost giants, so we're not going to get anywhere with that. Pointing at your very old book isn't going to do anything when the opposing party does not believe it is a sacred tome.

      Now it is true that people of many different intelligence levels believe or disbelieve in the Christian god Yahweh. This is also true for Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Horus, Zeus, Odin, Attis, Ahura Mazda and any other deity you wish to insert. The human mind is very malleable, and one is able to justify nearly anything to conform to their own preconceived beliefs.

      And it appears we are at an impasse. You demand I believe in a deity I cannot see before I'll be able to see him, and I require evidence before I'll believe. So we might as well stop here.

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    4. You're right John...in a court of law. Some consolation!!! Especially for criminals who get away with murder due to a lack of evidence, right? I wouldn't go to our Court system to prove any point John. Bad argument. It's not too convincing...ask any lawyer.
      2) I don't get as tired as you do with dialogue. I don't run away. I know how important dialogue is because I was once an agnostic. So, although you may tire. I don't. Even if your arguments are very old and very stale and very much answered. Can you come up with anything new?
      For example. You put all religions together like all existing things together. So a rock exists like you do? Come on John. I know you are not a theology major, why act like one? Did you study Zeus like I did? Or Buddha? Or Mohammad? I laugh at those who love to quote Darwin but never read a page of his origin of species!!! Ah...patience, patience.
      3) Let me use your argument in my favor. You list all the religions (or myths). Fine. Doesn't that prove to you that there is a one true God? Does a thousand lies prove there is no truth? If I find a fake dollar bill, does it not prove their exists a real one? If anything, it does!

      4) But you dismiss, and you dismiss before you even search. You believe that God could never have revealed himself. Ok. I say He did and in the person of Jesus Christ. The burden is to prove to me that his words were lies, his Apostles were liars, his death and resurrection never occured, his miracles were forgeries, that he never forgave and that he never lived. If there are those who witnessed all these things, and those who continue to experience everything He did, then tell me, as a lawyer, how they did not occur? Of course you will tell me that you can say the same of Mohammad. But you see, I did study the world's religions before. Mohammad never claimed to be God. Buddha never claimed to be God. Only one claimed to be God and lived and preached like God: Jesus Christ.

      5)What you are basically saying is: "All religions are the same." To which I reply, study them and you will see they are not. And the evidence is clear. The Greeks and the Romans were the first to not believe in Zeus because they were the first to acknowledge Homer. Oiden may have killed the frost giant but only in the fairy tales of our youth. How come no one believes in it anymore? Actually, how come no one ever believed in it? SImple: Because we know the difference between imagination and revelation; between art and creation; between a forgery and the real thing.
      You know the difference too, stop being silly. Stop using senseless arguments that everone uses and no one believes.

      6) It's boring, very boring when you say something to the affect: All religious people are feeble minded or in need of someting. To which I reply, remember: only human beings are capable of believing because only they are capable of thinking and reflecting. It's not feeble mindedness that makes people believe or a desire or wish to believe. If that were the case, then we would only believe what we want to believe. And like I said, "that's pretty boring." What's exciting is being told your wrong when you think your right. That makes you think and wonder. Try it.

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    5. Father Alfonse & John - Perhaps take this intense atheist/agnostic offline? It's way too intense. Debate back and forth in person or via email. I assume you two know each other well......

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    6. Bravo Father, I really liked that back and forth. Although this debate really makes some people uncomfortable, we should face it and think about it seriously. John's argument is heard everywhere and too often meets no reply and continues to perpetuate more skepticism. It's a weak position: the atheist won't believe it until he sees it and complacently waits for God (whom he denies) to compel him to believe. What kind of God would He be if we could reduce him to a scientific postulate? Life's meaning would be absolutely pointless if we could experience God the same way we experience a tree we pass by on the way to work. God is so much bigger than that, and human beings are capable of a much deeper relationship with Him that transcends some confirmed superficial observation that meets our empirical standards. Furthermore, what allowed people to put so much faith in their senses? Can one see an atom? Can one hear a star collapsing across the galaxy? If one can't behold things in our finite universe with the senses, why should one be able to able to behold the infinite? Moreover, could a finite creature even stand to behold the infinite without any help? His mind couldn't take it nor could his heart accept it. The empirical atheist refuses God's grace by closing himself off from the possibility of a loving god, let alone any kind of divinity.

      Seriously, how much physical evidence does one need to believe? Is the universe not enough? Are the numerous documents of history not enough? Is the church's continued mission not enough? Are the saints not enough? Is our very humanity not enough? If a person denies the truth of these things, he'll very well deny any visitation that God might send him.

      It's like an ant in an ant farm moseying about his dirt and tunnels. He senses the glass holding him in and that world of giants outside the glass. There's no way the any can even fathom what those giants are, even if he were given a mind with which to conceive. His reality are a wall of glass, bits of dirt and other ants; and his logic proceeds from this reality. There's no way this little ant can arrive at the truth about those giants--who they are or what they do--through any kind of logic or observation. The giant would need to help him, and he would have to allow that help.

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    7. Anonymous-

      You are making two unwarranted assumptions: that John never was a Catholic and that he and Fr.Alfonse have met and are in contact with eachother.

      I know for a fact that your assumptions are erroneous. . . .

      Jan Nathan

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  8. P.S. What I love about God is that he came exactly the way I no one ever imagined he would. He came in a way that neither the greeks or romans or even the Jews ever imagined or penned.

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  9. As u stated : "We’ve just done a much better job at handling the bad and hiding the good." So true Father Alfonse

    A very well and intelligent Meditation

    God Bless u My Father ;)

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  10. Father,

    Hope you saw Gabby Douglas when she said after winning her Gold Medal, "All Glory goes to God". Amen, Gabby. Loved it! :)

    Loved your meditation by the way. And I agree totally with you.

    God Bless you Father and all that you do.

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  11. Sarah asked early in the comments: "What exactly does one day of appreciation or boycott do to change hearts and minds?"

    I don't know what the boycott will do but I know first hand what Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day did!! It might of not changed anything dramatically but I know that people went home excited and encouraged. I work at a Chick-fil-a, and on Wednesday I worked twice my normal shift as the lines snaked around the buildings, starting at 6:20am and not ending until after closing. The people who pulled up to the drive thru window after waiting in line for a hour weren't upset, they were smiling, literally their faces were glowing. All around them were people who believed what they believed, everyone said how happy they were to be surrounded by people who felt strongly about Christian values.

    People waited outside in lines because we couldn't fit more people inside. When I walked out there, everyone was talking, it was a party! Everyone was smiling. One lady was crying. She told me, "I am just so happy and overwhelmed." She had never imagined that so many people felt the same way she did. She kept saying: "Just look at all of them(the people)." And the stories go on and on.....

    People were there to support Chick-fil-a, but I am sure of the over 5,000 people we served at our store, 99.9999% of them went home feeling supported by each other. They weren't alone.

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    1. Praise God and thank you so much for sharing your story!! And thank you for your hard work! My heart went out to all you employees who worked your bodies to exhaustion! I'm so glad to hear that you had a positive experience, no matter how hard your day was. Again today, I went through the drive-thru at 2:00 pm and I must have waited nearly 20 minutes..... I think too many of us have been silent for way too long, thinking there is nothing we can do since it seems our 'way too liberal government' has complete control of everything. We all have to get out there this November and vote if we want things to turn around.

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    2. I'm glad to hear the appreciation day met your expectations. Now what's next? Should we cease activity on this blog since it's powered by Google? My position on this may be cynical, but if we're going in the direction of giving your dollar to corporations that stand with your beliefs it's a losing proposition. Many of the cars people were sitting in the drive thru were bought from corporations that support LGBT rights. The cell phone pics that were taken were probably uploaded on a smart phone using a wireless network onto a social media site that supports LGBT rights.

      The whole thing reminded me of one of those prove you're Christian and love God emails you get that ask you to forward to 10 people...but in the end, for me, that's not how I try and nurture my faith and relationship with God.

      On a lighter note...I wish the public would also have an appreciation day for the airlines and help boost our bottom line with record sales :)

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    3. Quite cynical indeed. But you're right, my money does in fact end up in the hands of all of these corporations as I don't choose to not support companies who don't share my beliefs. But for a lot of us, the point of supporting Chick-Fil-a was to stand up for freedom of speech and religion which it feels we are losing little by little. Will the appreciation day make any difference in the long run? Probably not much, but it's just nice to be able to do something instead of nothing at all. EVERYONE should understand fighting for our freedoms of speech and religion regardless of your personal opinions on any moral or political subject. You seem to be enjoying freedom of speech as you comment on this blog.......for now anyway. ;) Peace!

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  12. I love it!! Another record-breaking comments!!!...Great job keeping the discussion flowing, Father & Blog Readers. The topics may be a little uncomfortable for some. However, I see the Holy Spirit definitely at work with such a dynamic exchange of thoughts.

    I attended the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and was absolutely shocked at the crowd! It took me over 30 minutes to get through the drive-thru line. People were so courteous in the parking lot. I remember walking back into work with my Chick-Fil-A bag in hand and a coworker remarked, "Ahh....How busy was it today?" I stood there with a smile on my face commenting, "Yes, it was crazy!" Sad to say I didn't see anyone else eat C-f-A for lunch. I work with a group of non-church going folks. I think most of them didn't really have a clue (or care) about the Appreciation Day. I admit my chicken nuggets were not as fresh-tasting as usual, but I felt great supporting the cause. (Normally the food is delicious.)

    Blessings to All!

    -Jennifer

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  13. I went to Chick-fil-a for lunch at around 2 because I knew the lines were long. I already felt good about being there. The lines were still long, however everyone was waiting patiently. I waited patiently as well even though I had to get back to work because it is our busiest time of year. I got a special surprise when I got there and the person in front of me paid for my lunch. So I did the same. Thank God it wasn't a whole lot. :) I felt very blessed. Still feeling it.

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  14. Father Alfonse i love the come backs regard the disagreement between you and John.

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  15. I admit the disagreement between Father and John made me cringe. The whole atheist/agnostic dialog is uncomfortable and something I really don't want to read about. Why not concentrate more on trying to retain the Catholic Christians that are leaving in masses (especially our teens) instead of trying to convert an atheist/agnostic? We have so many issues here in the Church. So many needs that need to be met first within the Catholic community. :)

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    1. Father Alfonse is awesome....I am sure he can converse with atheist/agnostics AND help Catholic Christians that are leaving the Church.

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    2. Yes, of course Father can converse with anyone he chooses: atheist/agnostic or falling away Catholics. (I never said Father was not awesome.) He can even converse with Muslims,Buddists, Jews, Hindus, or Jehovah Witnesses. He can tell them all "you have a right to be wrong" or "I've heard all of these same old excuses". He can debate until he's blue in the face. But, if a person is unwilling to bend his stance and is resistent to believing then why push the conversion(and get frustrated in the process)? I'm sure this was an eye opening conversation for John. I pray it will lead him to an understanding of God and the whole truth of Jesus Christ. In my opinion, Father probably gets more intellectual stimulation from a conversation with an atheist/agnostic because he was there at one point in his life. He was an agnostic and converted. So, of course his interest will be influencing other atheists/agnostics to conversion as well. Nothing at all wrong with this good intention! However, I think the priority should still be helping those Catholic Christians who are leaving the Church. Try to keep them before they decide to become atheists themselves...or Muslim, Buddist, Jewish, fundamentalist Christians, etc. :)

      Blessings & Peace to All,

      -Jennifer

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  16. I think John is searching for something in his life. Otherwise, why would he be lurking on this blog? I'm praying he finds what he searches for,and I'm betting he will.

    Craig

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