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, September 18, 2012

Luke 7:11-17 Whatever!

Luke 7:11-17  Whatever!
Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.  As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow…When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.”  He stepped forward and touched the coffin and said, “Young man.  I tell you, arise!”  The dead man sat up…and Jesus gave to him his mother.
One of the toughest assignments for a priest (for anyone) is to tell a family that their loved one has passed away.  It is always a difficult assignment, but it is even tougher when you know the family. 
This Friday will mark the one year anniversary of the unexpected and sudden death of a father of four small children.  I will never forget that day. 
After a normal day of school, the children were brought to their grandparent’s home.  As I looked out the window, I could see they were excited because they had noticed my car parked out front.  They ran up to the door and opened it.  With the biggest smiles on their faces, they greeted me and were wondering why I was visiting.  Little did they know the sad reason for my unexpected visit. 
“Your daddy went to heaven today.”  Their mom, grandma and grandpa were there to comfort them.  But as the news sunk in, the color in their fair skin went away.  It was the direct result of a broken heart.  They could not be consoled.    
Why did the Lord raise this young man from the dead?  Why did He bring him back to life?  After all, his resurrection would only temporary, not final.  One day, he would return to the grave.  So, why did the Lord perform this miracle?  Was it for him?  Maybe.  Was it for her?  Could be.  But most likely, I think it was for both of them.  Most likely, it was an answer to one final wish and prayer:  “Oh Lord, if I only had the chance to tell him/her, one last time, how much I loved him/her…”
They may have had some unfinished business to attend to.  After living together for years, they may have gotten too comfortable, too used, to each other.  Maybe she had said some things to him that she regretted.  Maybe he had wished she would go away.  Or maybe they had taken the other for granted too often and for far too long. 
Thank God for death!  Thank God!  Otherwise, I fear we would never appreciate anyone in our life.  Thank God for difficulties.  Thank God.  Otherwise we would take everything for granted.  What do people call children that take everyone and everything for granted?  We call them spoiled.  And you can see a spoiled child from a mile away.  They never smile.   The one word on their lips is:  “WHATE-V-E-R!!!”
I really try never to take anyone or anything for granted.  I’ve learned that as a priest.  Yes, there are plenty of things to cry about, but there are really plenty more things to smile at and to laugh about. 
A few weeks ago, a mom told me that her daughter was struggling.  It turned out that last year she had not been invited to a single birthday party.  Yes, she’s a little shy.  Yes, she’s a little reserved.  But no one, absolutely no one from her class, had invited her to a birthday party. 
Now I know that many moms invite just their children’s best friends in order to throw an over-the-top birthday party.  I know that it can be very expensive.  But why not try something different.  Why not try to invite everyone from the class and make it a less than over-the-top party?  Why not keep our priorities in place:  First the lessons, then the party; first the kids, then the presents; first love, then friends.
This past Friday was a tough day for me.  I had a ton of things to do and then I remembered that I had Mass at Ursuline.  Although it was still morning, I felt like I was running on fumes.  I was exhausted and upset about something.  As we all sat down to hear the first reading, one young student got up and said: “A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippines.” 
Did I just hear what I thought I heard?  I looked up and glanced over at the nun.  She was smiling.  Then I looked at the youth Minister and she was giggling.  That was it.  I then burst laughing.  I couldn’t even contain myself while I was reading the Gospel. 
Although life is full of disappointments and pain, there are plenty of things to smile and laugh about as well.  It is so much easier to laugh than it is to cry.  And even when you cry, it could mean you are laughing!
May the Lord give us the grace NEVER to take our life, our family, our friends, our gifts and talents, our difficulties and trials for granted.  Of course it is not an easy thing to do, but it is the better thing to do. 

Live today as if it were your last.  One day you will be right.

8 comments:

  1. May the Lord give us the grace NEVER to take our life, our family, our friends, our gifts and talents, our difficulties and trials for granted. Of course it is not an easy thing to do, but it is the better thing to do. - Such! a wonderful thing to say Father!

    I feel so relieve after reading this Meditation

    Live today as if it were your last. One day you will be right- You have made my Day Father Alfonse

    God Bless u Father :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have to find joy in the small stuff or we are missing the point! I lost someone in our family 2 1/2 years ago and that moment taught me to enjoy every little thing in life and appreciate connections, rather than material things. It is so hard to be grateful for the struggles in life, but that is how we learn to appreciate the good times.I needed this today Father. I appreciate the story and meditation. With God's grace....

    ReplyDelete
  3. My heart breaks for this family because I know what it's like to lose a dad as a young child. I just didn't understand why, why, why. Fast forward 30 years.... In the past five years, our Lord has taken, prayerfully to heaven, six of His children who were special to me in one way or another. Where I'm going with this is that God has really just loaned to us our family and friends. We are temporary, short term, here today - gone tomorrow, and we belong to God and to Him only. We should absolutely make amends with those we love, and always, always let one another know how much we love them. We could lose them tomorrow, or they could lose us! YES, live every day as if it were your last!

    I'm kinds slow I guess because I don't see what was so funny about last Friday's reading.... You lost me there.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. I truly feel as if you wrote this just for me. A friend of mine just told me about your blog yesterday. I was excited to read it because I miss hearing you speak since I don't live in the DFW area any longer. Today is the second time I've read it.

    I lost my husband unexpectedly 2 months ago. He went to sleep next to me in the bed where I am writing from now and didn't wake up. Just shy of his 30th birthday and a week after our 4th anniversary his heart just stopped. I fear the day I have to explain to our 10 month old son that his daddy has already gone to heaven. My life has been forever changed, my heart has been broken, but in spite of the pain and suffering I have also changed in a positive way as well. I have a new appreciation for the smallest things in life (such as waking up each morning), and have been blessed with strength I never thought possible. As I embark on this new journey, I pray that my faith will stay strong and that I can be a living example of Gods love and grace here on Earth.

    Please say an extra prayer for my son and I, we could use all the help we can get :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will pray for you and your son

      God Bless to u Stephanie

      Delete
    2. You are in my prayers. "pray, hope, and don't worry!" -Padre Pio

      Delete
  5. Father Alfonse ,

    It is amazing how sometimes your meditations coincide with things that are going on in my life. October is the anniversary month of both my Dad and brother having passed away, and although many years have passed it still feels just like yesterday. I promise I won’t act crazy this time  but please allow me to share. Who knows maybe it will touch somebody’s life. When my Dad passed away I had decided to stay with him in the hospital, just to make sure I was there in case he needed anything or perhaps I knew because of his age that I had to stay vigilant. To this day I remember my Mom walking into the waiting area by his room…the look, the non-verbal communication of “I know but don’t want to hear it”, all I could do is cry with her. But it did not compare to when I had to tell my mother that my brother who was only 26 years old had passed away. I remember isolating myself until the day of the funeral. If he would have only been raised from the dead…”Most likely, it was an answer to one final wish and prayer”; to tell my brother how much I loved him. Most likely it would have been for my brother to repent and to be forgiven for the hurt he was causing himself and the family who loved him so much. He is now in God’s hands, may he rest in peace; I trust in God that He be merciful and have him in his kingdom.

    “Thank God for death!” When my Dad died he first went into cardiac arrest, it all happened so fast, I remember once they were able to stabilize him I stood by his side holding his hand, one of the nurses guided me into calming down and allowing myself to be in a state of mind in which I could let my Dad know that I was going to be ok. I remember telling him I loved him and that if he could hear me to just let me know by squeezing my hand, I felt a very weak squeeze and held him till he took his last breath. Father, that was the first time I was not afraid of death, I wished that I had died with him, because I wanted to go where he was going, to heaven. I love to tell this story because it reminds me of the love I felt for him and I am 100% sure he knew it when he took his last breath. Thank God!
    Father, referring to taking things for granted and pastoral duties, a while back during Adoration I found a book that caught my attention, it is titled Gift and Mystery. In one of the chapters Pope John Paul II talks about “how priests fulfill an essential part of his mission through the confessional---by voluntarily ‘making himself a prisoner of the confessional.” This is taken from the book, I don’t write that eloquently, anyway, when I read this I remember feeling so sad for priests and in particular for those whom I have confessed with. I felt sad when I heard you tell the story about having to tell the children that their Dad had passed away, I cannot even imagine, especially because you had to be the strong one. Reading Gift and Mystery taught me so much about the priesthood and your love and commitment to Christ. I pray that you know, that you and Father Biershank are loved and appreciated. Finally, I would have never found this book, if I had not gone to Adoration and I would not have gone to Adoration if I had not been going through some difficult times. I would never have gone to a retreat if I had not been going through some difficult times. I remember every conversation I had with my group in the retreat my husbands goodness always came to mind, what a beautiful reminder of his love and what a beautiful new love I have found with my new Sisters in Christ. Thank God!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Father Alfonse ,

    It is amazing how sometimes your meditations coincide with things that are going on in my life. October is the anniversary month of both my Dad and brother having passed away, and although many years have passed it still feels just like yesterday. I promise I won’t act crazy this time  but please allow me to share. Who knows maybe it will touch somebody’s life. When my Dad passed away I had decided to stay with him in the hospital, just to make sure I was there in case he needed anything or perhaps I knew because of his age that I had to stay vigilant. To this day I remember my Mom walking into the waiting area by his room…the look, the non-verbal communication of “I know but don’t want to hear it”, all I could do is cry with her. But it did not compare to when I had to tell my mother that my brother who was only 26 years old had passed away. I remember isolating myself until the day of the funeral. If he would have only been raised from the dead…”Most likely, it was an answer to one final wish and prayer”; to tell my brother how much I loved him. Most likely it would have been for my brother to repent and to be forgiven for the hurt he was causing himself and the family who loved him so much. He is now in God’s hands, may he rest in peace; I trust in God that He be merciful and have him in his kingdom.

    “Thank God for death!” When my Dad died he first went into cardiac arrest, it all happened so fast, I remember once they were able to stabilize him I stood by his side holding his hand, one of the nurses guided me into calming down and allowing myself to be in a state of mind in which I could let my Dad know that I was going to be ok. I remember telling him I loved him and that if he could hear me to just let me know by squeezing my hand, I felt a very weak squeeze and held him till he took his last breath. Father, that was the first time I was not afraid of death, I wished that I had died with him, because I wanted to go where he was going, to heaven. I love to tell this story because it reminds me of the love I felt for him and I am 100% sure he knew it when he took his last breath. Thank God!
    Father, referring to taking things for granted and pastoral duties, a while back during Adoration I found a book that caught my attention, it is titled Gift and Mystery. In one of the chapters Pope John Paul II talks about “how priests fulfill an essential part of his mission through the confessional---by voluntarily ‘making himself a prisoner of the confessional.” This is taken from the book, I don’t write that eloquently, anyway, when I read this I remember feeling so sad for priests and in particular for those whom I have confessed with. I felt sad when I heard you tell the story about having to tell the children that their Dad had passed away, I cannot even imagine, especially because you had to be the strong one. Reading Gift and Mystery taught me so much about the priesthood and your love and commitment to Christ. I pray that you know, that you and Father Biershank are loved and appreciated. Finally, I would have never found this book, if I had not gone to Adoration and I would not have gone to Adoration if I had not been going through some difficult times. I would never have gone to a retreat if I had not been going through some difficult times. I remember every conversation I had with my group in the retreat my husbands goodness always came to mind, what a beautiful reminder of his love and what a beautiful new love I have found with my new Sisters in Christ. Thank God!

    ReplyDelete

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