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 11, 2012

Mk 7:31-37 Be Open!

Mk  7:31-37  Be Open! 
People brought to [Jesus] a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.  He took him off by himself away from the crowd…He looked up to heaven and groaned, “Be open!” -- And immediately the man’s ears were opened.
The problem with the world today is that there are too many narrow-minded people!
I know what you are thinking…Now that’s an interesting statement, especially coming from a priest who writes an opinion on just about everything!  But I am not afraid to say it and, more importantly, defend it.  In fact, I will even say that I consider myself a very open-minded individual and for the best of reasons.
I have no problem conversing with “tolerant” people; even though they are the least tolerant of all the people I know.  I have no problem being in the presence of scientists, even though I am a priest.  And I have no problem making friends with the dead, even though I live well into the present.
I mention these three companions because there is much narrow-mindedness (or single-mindedness) when it comes to those who oppose science as art, dogma as honesty and our past as reoccurring.  Or, for the sake of clarity, let me say the following:  Far too many narrow-minded individuals can be found among scientists, relativists and progressivists.    
Scientists.  Now, there were many times in my life when I was “narrow-minded”.    For example, when I was an engineer I used to be very narrow-minded; that is, I would only read and breathe scientific journals.  But then one day, in fact, while I was studying the planets, I had an epiphany that has lasted to this day.  For the very first time in my life I realized that everything I was reading and studying was a human attempt at understanding all that already existed, and that we had no part in creating. What I was reading and studying was more like an art critic’s review of someone’s art, but the Artist was never mentioned.   
Now it’s easier to be a critic than it is to be an artist.  At least, that’s how it used to be.
It gradually dawned on me that most everything we do is a cheap imitation of everything He did.  Take, for example, the incredible descent of the Mars Rover, Curiosity.  Wasn’t it spectacular?  I stayed up all night watching it.  But the next morning I saw something even more amazing:  a single leaf gracefully falling to the ground.  Actually, it was zigzagging towards the ground.  What Curiosity will do on the surface of Mars does not even begin to compare with what that leaf will do on the surface of the earth.
Or let’s analyze for a brief moment a simple apple falling to the ground.  Not only will that apple land on the ground, but it will roll next to its “mother”, whose shade will ensure its chances of survival.  And like a placenta, the fruit surrounding the seed will fertilize the ground in which it lies.  Now, to think all this as less remarkable than a Rover Landing on Mars is to think narrow-mindedly.  But as a priest and engineer, I have learned to appreciate both.  That’s not narrow-mindedness.  That’s open-mindedness!
Relativists.  So many people pride themselves in being Darwinists.  But in all honesty, they have never read a single page of Charles Darwin or Ernst Haeckel.  The same goes for atheists.  Most have never read an entire book by Friedrich Nietzsche or Jean Paul Sartre.  Instead, most have pleased themselves with newspaper headlines and comical acts produced and directed by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.  
These professors, and their adherents, are not the product of the Dark Ages.  Ironically, these morbid writers consider themselves the grandchildren of the Enlightenment.  What they really are, are the grandfathers of the Establishment. Recently, it was revealed that a vast majority of college professors will reject tenure to a colleague if they are deemed to be too conservative.  Most academics, like most colleges today, consider themselves open-minded.  But in reality, they have never been anything but very closed-minded. 
Let’s cut to the chase.  The real difference between open-minded and narrow-minded individuals should be obvious by now.  It’s the difference between intellectual honesty and ideology.  Relativists tend to study little and speak wildly.  Dogmatists tend to study a great deal and speak reservedly.  In essence, narrow-minded individuals tend to study little and only pretend to accept everything; whereas open-minded individuals tend to study greatly and only cautiously accept anything.
Progressivists.  There exists in today’s culture a very narrow-mindedness with regards to the past.  It begins with a great deal of angst with the possibility of history repeating itself.  It should not, declare the progressivists, for there is nothing good to learn from our ancestors or our past.  But when we consider what’s new in today’s subculture, we begin to see that it is actually quite old from long ago days.  For example: The three-generational home.   The only sector of housing construction that appears to be booming is the three-generational home.  Wow!  How exciting!  How avant garde!  But is this something new?  Not really.  In fact, it is something very old.  And millions of Americans are returning to it in order to save their lives, their families and their livelihood.  But you would never know it by the limited news it is receiving.  After all, it is a dramatic push back to modernity’s push towards the “New Normal” family.     Only a courageous few dare to mention this modest return to the wisdom of our ancestors.  How narrow-minded!  And once again, the reason for this negligence is not ignorance but rather ideology.  Out with the old, in with the new is an important ideological tweet in our free-market economy and culture.  But it isn’t a reliable fact in a flesh and bone humanity or a safe bet in a free-falling economy.  To think what is new is always better is not narrow-mindedness, but plain and simple foolishness. 
What is new isn’t always better.  But being better will always be something new! 
This is something worth repeating to our kids, from one generation to another.  Was the Occupy Wall Street movement something new and exciting?  Or was it a failed attempt to repeat the performance of July 14th, 1789 (Bastille Day)?  Is the European Union something new?  Or is it a union as old as the Holy Roman Empire?  You tell me. 
I consider myself very open-minded every time I connect the past with the present, and predict the future based on the past and present.            
Conclusion:  Here are just a few of the areas of life in which I find people to be very narrow-minded.  There are many more.  But unlike space, a blogspot is very limited.  In conclusion, a narrow-minded individual tends to see the past as a thing of the past; religion as something that should be swept under the carpet; and creation as an accident rather than a God-given model.   
Let’s be what the Lord said this day to be:  “Be Open!” 
The Lord had a tremendous ability to interact with just about anyone.  But he didn’t live like everyone. 
Authentically open-minded people tend to become authentically narrow-minded people.  They are open-minded to learning, and narrow-minded in accepting only the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 


  1. Father Alfonse - It's clear to me you're very open-minded in terms of accepting the truth of the Catholic Christian faith. You appear open-minded in listening to others. We know atheists, relavists, intellectuals, and progressivists seem to be very "narrow-minded" to the concept of God and his dominion over the earth. However, I'm not convinced you are "open-minded" to other Christian religions that adopt slightly different idealogies from the Catholic faith. (I'm not speaking of relativism. I'm speaking of the different traditations surrounding Protestantism, Judaism and Islam.) This goes back to when you wrote about "Christianity is superior" and "coexistence" is something of non-importance. Also, if you were 100% "open- minded" you'd be more concerned about social justice in today's society (the poor, human rights,war & peace, etc.) It's sad such issues get a terrible reputation as a liberal, progressive, relativist, or socialistic atheist "concept". Moreover, as a Catholic priest you can't be "open-minded" to societal norms like contraception, abortion, population control, ordination of women, etc. As I see it, anything that is contrary to Catholic teaching lumped in the "narrow-minded" category.(Please don't tell me that I am "missing the point." I've read that so much on this blog. It gets old...) I just find it humourous you consider yourself so "open-minded" when in many respects you're "narrow-minded" like the rest of us but in other areas.

    Overall I've noticed Christians, especially the Catholics, to be much more "narrow-minded" than some of our non-Christian brothers and sisters. Why is this?? Jesus was open to all - why not us? Why do we constantly judge others with a "narrow-mind" thinking we are so much better?

  2. I am open minded, especially when it comes to other denominations. When I asked them why they continue to splinter, they never could give me an answer that was believable. I used to attend a non-denominational Church. I used to attend an offshoot of the Jehovah Witnesses. But like I said, I made a decision, and after careful examination I chose the Catholic Faith because it was more coherent and more honest in its teachings. For example, The Catholic Church claims to be infallible in certain teachings regarding faith and morals. They were the first to admit the obvious. Do you know of any other denomination that preaches and teaches its truth but claims it might be wrong? Do you see the hypocrisy?
    Do you think that protestant pastors might think they are wrong in what they teach? Do they start off each class or sermon by saying, "I'm not sure folks if this will ever change, but here goes it..."
    Do you know a Muslim cleric who will admit that he might be teaching something wrong?
    Do you see what I am trying to say? The Catholic Church has stated the obvious that every denomination should state, but won't...for not so obvious reasons. I saw the hypocrisy long ago and rejected it.
    Open-minded people do not accept everything; they try to understand everything. And so, eventually, an open-minded individual makes a decision that excludes ideas and things. Otherwise, he might find himself living in a contradiction.
    You mention Islam. But do you truly understand Islam? Do you acknowledge that the best schools of Islam are taught and practiced in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's not my opinion. That's a fact. But you prefer to understand an Islam that is better suited and propagated by individuals that have no credentials in the Middle East and who live in the United States. Tell me why 99% of people who live in the above countries are muslim? Is Islam lived in a radical way in these countries or is it lived in a faithful way in these countries? Is what you learned about Islam in the USA considered a radical departure from true Islam lived for centuries?
    Finally, you mention social justice. And again, I have read just about everything that the proponents of social justice spew out. But they haven't been able to convince me like they have convinced you that they are really about social justice. Your lists always keep missing one very important item: the right to life. Do you do that on purpose? Is it intentional? Why is it? It is amazing to me just how many lists I have seen written by social justice advocates who consistently (and almost diligently, purposely and faithfully) leave out ALWAYS, without exception, the right to life. You see, you do not convince me at all that you are truly a social justice advocate. In many of my posts, I have mentioned women's right, war, peace and the poor. And also, I have mentioned abortion and life. YOU do not mention it. Do you believe that you will change the hearts and minds of individuals and put an end to poverty, war and defend human rights if you can still have the right to kill an unborn life? Convince me please???
    Lastly, like I said in my post, The Lord was very open-minded. He listened, he spoke, he learned a lot from others. But he did not accept everything he heard and everything they did. Is it so hard to understand this concept? I am open minded in the sense that I have studied, read and listened to the best of the best, and in the end, I made up my mind. You wrote, I read, I thought about it. And I responded. I rejected it.
    I personally believe that narrow-minded individuals accept everything by never really opening up their eyes or ears to see or hear. They hope we can all live together, if we just don't speak or interact with each other, or if no one is really listening to what they have to say. :)

    1. Well, I must say, your reply is exactly what I expected. I did not intentionally leave out the right to life in my social justice "list". Right to life is a no brainer and something focused on all the time through your own words. Do you seriously believe because a person is well-read, educated, and learned that this makes him more "open-minded"? Does it make the rest of us ignorant if we don't know every little facet of the other religions and fiercely "reject" as fallable? I'm sorry but I take offense when you say, "You wrote, I read, I thought about it. And I responded. I rejected it." I could say the same about your words but that's not who I am. I'm much more "open-minded" to thought and reasoning than you may think I am....I don't think if I was a Protestant that I would take too kindly to the tone of your response. I definitely wouldn't want to open up Pandora's box of righteousness. There's a reason why Catholics and other religions are still at odds with one another. I think there's a sense of fear which causes the narrow-mindnesses you speak of when opening up to others. Nobody wants to be told they are WRONG. Nobody wants to be told they are ignorant and stupid because they think a certain way or reject certain faith aspects.

      Everybody's faith journey is different. We go through periods of an open-mind and a narrow- mind. No, it's not so "hard to understand" the concept that Our Lord is very open-minded. It's our own individual closemindness that makes us in utter turmoil with others: Among Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and the like. :)

    2. Anonymous #1,
      I'm afraid you may be the narrow-minded individual. It seems to me that if one doesn't agree with you then you label them narrow-minded. I would further assume that if Father had said “Anonymous you’re right” magically you’d classify him as an open-minded person.

      You taking offense at Father's statement "You wrote, I read, I thought about it. And I responded. I rejected it."? This lends further credence to my claim if someone disagrees with you they must be narrow-minded. Father’s analytical mind is following a logical process. He read your arguments. He then processed the information you presented against his beliefs, experiences, facts, teachings, etc. and he responded. In this case, he rejected your arguments.

      Katie essentially states she uses the exact same process when another student wants to discuss taro cards or a professor wants her to be “open-minded” regarding Freud.
      Both Father and Katie showed they were open-minded when they LISTENED to another person’s perspective and reflected on it. They then formulated their own responses.

      As for your statement “do you seriously believe because a person is well-read, educated, and learned that this makes him more "open-minded"?”. Possibly. It definitely allows an individual to go thru the process much quicker and reject those arguments that aren’t fact based, have already been proven to be wrong, or goes against one’s beliefs/principles that have already been internally verified. If the argument has some merit, the better read, better educated, and learned individual is more apt to continue studying the argument looking for holes and perhaps adopting and enhancing the argument blending it into their own. I see this with children as they grow, learn and experience more. If you tell a 2 year old the moon is made out of cheese, they might adopt this as truth. Eventually, they will learn more about the moon thru study. If you were to tell them the moon is made out of cheese when they are twelve, and they reject your statement, does this make the 12 year old child close or narrow-minded?

      The Catholic Church has very strict teachings and strict organizational structure for good reason. If we didn’t, we’d have splinter-groups all over the world proclaiming themselves to be Catholic doing whatever felt right at the moment based on their own individual beliefs. Look at all of the factions of Protestants we have in the world today.


    3. Dear Craig in Christ, thank-you for your thoughts and telling me I'm so "narrow-minded." A nice judgmental comment. Glad to know you think I'm NOT LISTENING. Father Alfonse is clearly "open-minded" in many respects. He's proven his points. I get it now. I'm backing off and letting him lead the flock with his well-read mind. I don't appreciate your critiquing.

    4. I never stated you weren't listening. I stated Father and Katie listened and reflected on the arguments poised to them. I did state if people disagree with your opinions you labeled them as narrow-minded.

      As for judgemental comments, that would be the pot calling the kettle black.

      Your verbal attack on a Catholic Priest was uncalled for, and I had to wait many hours before penning my response to you so that I would calm down.

      I don't appreciate your verbal abuse against a leader in our Church. Show him and our other leaders the respect they deserve.


    5. I'm sincerely sorry for have offended you, Craig. I was taken aback by your words and made a terrible decision to overreact. You have defended me in the past which I appreciate so much. Please accept my apology.

      As for "verbal abuse against a leader" I don't think Father Alfonse agrees I was verbally abusive??? But, if that's how you see it and others, again I am sorry!!! This discussion got heated. I was not expecting the debate to grow beyond a few short sentences. I will make a since effort to be much more respectful of Father as well as others on this blog. Peace.

    6. Peace. I'll be praying for you and ask you to do the same for me.

      No hard feelings on my end.


  3. How can you say that Catholics are in turmoil with Jews? Or even with Muslims? Do you see Catholic radicals blowing up trains? This is why I can't take what you write as serious? You would love to group everyone together, but it is simply not the truth. Turmoil? Catholics? With who??? Please, tell me where there are Catholic radicals planning their next suicide mission. Tell me? Or tell me where Jews are in danger of being shot to death by a Catholic extremist? You would love to beable to say that we are all alike. But maybe, just maybe, we aren't. And that's okay. Maybe, just maybe, the reason why Catholics are at odds with other religions is because we believe differently than other religions. Or maybe, just maybe, Catholics are not really at odds with others. Maybe, Protestants are still at odds with us, hence the name: "Protest"-ants.
    No body likes to be wrong. I've been wrong too many times. But I also can say that I learned from most of my mistakes...only to make new ones! :)

  4. I think its great to be open minded And innocent but not naive. I am putting them together for a reason.
    I met someone today who likes to read taro cards on my college campus. He didnt have them but was telling me how to use them. I flat out told him that i was a christian and that i stay far away from that because That power come neither from you nor from God but from evil itself. An outside force which if not relying on HIS almighty power is pure evil. I am proud to say that my parets have taught me to question and have an open mind, but to seek the truth in everything. To preserve my innocence but learn from my naive mistakes. In many cases which have been due to my " open mindedness". If my parents have taught me different, I would be an extremely different person today. I probably would find it hard only not to stand up for the faith but also to be able to say " no" to evil when it comes my way. And to be able to recognize it.

    My psychology professor also asked all of us to be open minded today about Sigmund Freud who we are currently studying. For instance, he believed that toward the end of his mortal life, that he fell into a great despair and came to the conclusion that humans hold inside a death wish. That beneathe everything we wish to die, or that life is too much. That mankind has a killing instinct so as  so far as to take our own lives. I thought ( trying to be open minded) interesting... I do not believe that but if you dont know the truth and who made you, and why you were created, then your prone to believe anything. Amen.

  5. Well, I guess I better step up and help anonymous #1. I didn’t write that post but something you wrote I think refers to me in my previous posts. “But you prefer to understand an Islam that is better suited and propagated by individuals that have no credentials in the Middle East and who live in the United States. Tell me why 99% of people who live in the above countries are muslim? Is Islam lived in a radical way in these countries or is it lived in a faithful way in these countries? Is what you learned about Islam in the USA considered a radical departure from true Islam lived for centuries?” I don’t try to understand Islam! I don’t try to analyze Middle Eastern Muslims from US Muslims! Just as I don’t have to know every detail of what a person believes to try to respect or love that person. It is precisely what you wrote yesterday: We won't show our true colors to one another in fear that they won't want to continue our friendship! This is the best way I can answer your questions. We are debating two different perspectives!! What if you met someone and just instinctively liked them. You spent time with them and liked them even more. Would you continue that friendship if you later found out they were Muslim? Here is my perspective. I understand your point – They are not Christians. Their founder is not God-Love. I get it. But I would just as much try to love a Catholic who doesn’t really try to live a moral life as much as a Muslim, atheist or Protestant that doesn’t live a moral life! I am not basing my love for them on their sins, beliefs, behavior or lack of… just as Jesus did for me. Where am I wrong? Convince me!
    “I personally believe that narrow-minded individuals accept everything by never really opening up their eyes or ears to see or hear.” It all about perspective! I was reading yesterday about John Newman, the author of Amazing Grace. When he wrote this song, he was a slave trader!!! “I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see.” It is only the vision that God gives us that we are able to use our eyes to see….maybe I don’t see well yet.... I trust God is not finished with me yet. (Newman did convert to Christianity a time before this song, but it would be about 8 years after he wrote this song that he finally gave up slave trading.)
    “They hope we can all live together, if we just don't speak or interact with each other, or if no one is really listening to what they have to say. :)” I do hope one day that we can all live together in authentic peace on this earth, but it won’t be authentic if we don’t speak and listen to one another. If Jesus prayed for it, I will too.

    For what it's worth, I do believe that the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the foundation to the Truth. Sorry Jennifer that I don't agree with you.

  6. Ahhh...So I see you don't take me seriously. I don't "love" to group all the religions together as if they are alike. That is a fallacy and not my original intent.... However, there is still **obviously** turmoil based not only on differences but prejudices and misunderstandings. Couldn't a Northern Ireland Catholic "radical" bomb a train hosting a group of Protestants touring the country? Could a Catholic radical harbor anti-semitic views toward their Jewish neighbor because they don't believe in Jesus? Couldn't a fanatical "Catholic" decide to murder an abortionist in the name of "Thou shou not kill pre-born babies"? What about the history of Catholics persecuting the Muslims during the Crusades? There are radicals and extremists in all religions....and radical to varying degrees. Of course, you should know this!

    As for our dear "Protest"ants...(This made me giggle. LOL...) Why are so many Catholics turning away from the Church and becoming Protestant? Why, why, why? Tell me? Is it because the "open-mindness" of the Catholic Church and its clergy? Maybe, just maybe, these people see something missing and wrong with the truth church and nobody is willing to convince them otherwise. :)

  7. Sorry...I forgot the smily face!!! :)

  8. Ah...I knew you would bring up the Crusades. Tell me wise one, what you know about the Crusades?...And how you find it so convenient to bring up something that happened centuries ago to defend something that is happening right now. If that were the case, then tell me: Why are we friends with England, especially after fighting a recent war with them (1776)? Or why are we trading with Japan, especially after annihilating them recently (1945)! You span centuries as if they were a page in a book. I can do the same. Let's get serious, please.

    Let's start from the very beginning...
    IRELAND: What did the freedom fighters in Ireland call themselves? Did they call themselves the ICA (Irish Catholic Army)? No. They called themselves the IRA (Irish Republican Army). Why? Weren't they fighting to establish a Catholic Republic, like an Islamic Republic? No. they weren't. Sorry. Didn't they have support from the Pope? No, not at all. Didn't they have support from priests and Bishops and the Catholic Herarchy? No. In fact, the only side that had any type of religious support were the Unionists, and specifically from Rev. Ian Pasley, the famous Protestant minister that would often refer to Pope John Paul II as the "whore of Babylon".
    You see, the devil is not in the detail, TRUTH is in the detail. The IRA was not hoping to establish a united Catholic Republic, they were fighting to establish a unified IRISH Republic. They wanted their land back! The land that England had stolen. Why did the English take a portion of Ireland? Because they hated the fact that the Irish would not convert to Protestantism. Facts, my dear annonymous, are a stubborn thing (John Adams). If anyone started this conflict, it was the English.
    2. Could a Catholic harbor anti-semitic views toward their Jewish neighbor? Are you asking me a theoretical or hypothetical question? I didn't ask for hypothetical answers. I asked for proof of institutional anti-semitism that was occuring today! You give me a hypothetical???
    3. A single Catholic decides to kill an abortionist. Okay...So...let me get this want to show that there are nuts on every side of every issue, right? But that's not what I was arguing. I was arguing that Islamic terrorism is not a bunch of nuts. They are acts that are condoned by clerics! What Catholic or Christian cleric condones acts of terrorism? You are the one who is trying to say that there is no difference between Islamic acts of violence and Christian acts of violence. I am telling you that there is a big difference. One is supported by thousands of clerics. The other is not supported by a single cleric. Do you understand the difference???

    Why do Christian communities live in terror (in fear) in Islamic Republics? Please do not tell me that muslims live in fear in the United States. That might be true, but this is not a Christian Republic. It is a secular republic. It would be one thing for Christians to live in fear in a secular Muslim country. But unfortunately, Christians are living in fear in Islamic Republics; they are being arrested for being Christians; they are being threated with death for blasphemy and this is happening in Islamic Republics! Are you going to tell me that they represent the fringe of Islam??? I am going to tell you that they represent the NORM of ISLAM. After all, these nations are governend by Islamic clerics.
    4. Crusades. Do you really want to go there? I would prefer that you do your homework instead of me doing it for you. Let me help you by asking you a question and then you can google it if you wish: How in the world did Islam spread so fast in the Holy Lands? (Hint: WAR)
    There...that should get you started in the right direction.

    1. Ok, Father Alfonse, after a restless night's sleep I get the point. You're right again even though I secretly wish you were WRONG somewhere. Nobody likes to take a beating like you did to me. (Of course, it was to get my noggin' straightened up!) I can't stand the backlash from other blog readers when I'm contrary to your righteous opinions. (Let's clarify, I'm not as profoundly STUPID and DEAF as you or many other people might think.)

      Catholics are not radicals or extremists like Islam"ists" in any shape of the word. They do not resort to honor killings, suicide missions or acts of terrorism. Only exception to violence is in the threat of holy war. Catholics are more "radical and fanatical" in their deep sense of THE TRUTH of Jesus Christ. They are radical in adopting a "right to life" for ALL regardless of stage of life. This may seem "fanatical" to the secular public but this is very much in line with Jesus' open-mindnesses.

      I wish the anti-protestantism would disappear from the Catholic frame of mind. Unfortunately, this is not going to happen anytime soon. As long as one faith thinks they are "superior" to the other things won't really change.....

      I wish there was a way I could battle your brain power but unfortunately I cannot. But, what I can do is write thoughts and allow YOU to help me work through them in a non-judgmental, non-confrontation, non-condemning matter. Is that fair?

      P.S. Amongst all of this debating, it would've been a thoughtful gesture to say a prayer for the souls of the victims of the 9/11 tragedy.

    2. Jennifer, do you really think we are going to increase in virtue, get to heaven by battling someone's brain power? I really can't think of one saint (or Pope) that said we have to use our intellect to get to heaven. It seems that Mary chose the weakest, poorest to appear to in her apparitions. Did they use their brain to discern? Yes, but it was not their intellect. It was their conscience. What I'm trying to say can get all caught up in semantics which is why I hate using words. I want more adversity in my life so that I can increase in the virtues! That is the only way my ego will have to die. It will not happen with my intellect! That is the whole point of Catholicism! DIE TO MYSELF! Dying first and then God will raise us from our old way (old man) of thinking with new eyes! You and Father can argue about details of the different religions all you want. Is that really helping you to increase in virtues? If so, have at it! To be honest, I do understand your point of view. I've argued most of my life about these very same things. But until I started trying to change myself and not someone else did I finally begin to see a change in my journey. I love your line and must use it here: "I do not wish to argue, just wish to state my opinion.’ love it.

  9. Ahh, I'm not at all surprised by your lengthy reply interlaced with questions and exclamations. Figured the Crusades would strike a nerve.... I knew you'd unleash your academic prowessness and book smarts. Why don't you answer the questions? Oh, wait, I'm supposed to do my homework, right? I gladly accept the challenge, my dear wise one, if you'd like to give me verifiable resources, perhaps a name of a book here or there? Maybe a bibliography?(Oh...wait, I forgot, you don't like to make lists. You never did them in school. I need to utilize my own research skills.) I don't know about you, but over the years I've learned not to trust all the "sources" on the Internet as "truth."

    I find it amusing how you claim you were "arguing that Islamic terrorism is not a bunch of nuts" when you made no direct reference to this in your initial challenge to my opinion. Or, that you did not ask for a hypothetical or theological examples? You wanted honest prove? Make it clear next time. All I saw was a challenge to find proof of Catholic Radicals and extremists. You didn't distinquish between hypothetical, historical, theoretical, whatever the flip.....

    I never said that I thought there was a similarity between Islam acts of violence or Christian acts of violence. You wrote that.

    "You see, the devil is not in the detail, TRUTH is in the detail." - I guess I need to frame this quote and put it on top of my laptop as I'm doing my Fr. Alfonse assignments!

    You have made me so boiling !@#$ today. If you knew who I was your responses would not have been this rabid. Honestly, you would've politely ignored me. No matter. I'll be back full of knowledge. The "open-minded" soccer match is on! :)

    1. Why remain anonymous? Just because you can or you don't want the confrontation? Just curious......

    2. Interesting question....Interesting this discussion continues on...I find Father is more honest, revealing & candid if comments addressed toward him are written anonymously. It's a strange psychology. It's not a matter of avoiding confrontation. I must deal with the positive and negative regardless if people know my identity or not.

      My identity has already been perceptively revealed by a few folks. I'm really no mystery person. :)

  10. In response to "Why are so many Catholics...becoming Protestant? Why? Why? Why?"

    I belong to a Parish with priests who were once Protestant pastors. One of these priests has said that it was common knowledge among his Protestant brethren that the Catholics were the easiest to convert, because many did not know or understand the richness or history of their faith.

    Think about it....if Protestants didn't consider their faith superior to Catholicism, why would they try to convert Catholics? Ever notice that the Protestant missionary trips tend to target the Catholic countries instead of the non-Christian countries? Countless colleagues, upon learning of my Catholicism, have tried to save me over the years by enlightening me on the evils of idol worship, the problems with the Pope, and the importance of Bible-based teachings. When I ask them who recorded and preserved the Bible before Protestanism started in the 1500s, I usually get a blank stare. When I share that Peter is considered the first Pope of the "universal" Church, this comment comes as a surprise.

    I realize that some Catholics seek out Protestant faiths because of their perceived "open-mindedness." Heck, I've jokingly told a friend that if I were ever to leave the Catholic Church, I'd join her modern Methodist congregation where anything goes and no confession is required! Sounds like a lot more fun to me.

    As I've shared with my well-intended Christian colleagues, it's a Bible-based teaching that keeps me Catholic..."Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Since I believe that Jesus was the Messiah, I want to belong to the Church that He founded and not one created by man. If Christ establishing the Church and sending the gift of the Holy Spirit through the Magesterium for 2000+ years are not enough to make the Catholic Church superior (possessing a higher rank or importance) for those believing in Jesus Christ, then I don't know what would! Thank God for Father Alfonse and other priests who carry on the sacred apostolic tradition.

  11. I don't mind you using anonymous. After all, I am sure that there are thousands of people who feel the same way as you do. As you can tell, I don't respond to many comments, especially the one's that are about me, and that's because they are generally true :) But when it comes to faith, Catholic Church, etc...well...that strikes a cord with me.
    I saw the news this morning regarding Egypt and Libya. Young Islamic men stormed into our embassay, tore down the American flag and raised a black flag with the inscription: There is no god but God and Mohammad is his prophet. Of course the newspapers are claiming this is because of a "contraversial" film made about Islam. And of course the State Department issued an apology while we bury our dead. Pathetic! Absolutely Pathetic!
    Are we to believe that this protest was about a film? Are we to believe that it was spontaneous? It just so happened to be done on September 11th? Oh, how naive we are. We want to really believe that we can live with people who are so violent. We want to believe that these few individuals (hundreds of millions) represent the "fringe" - a radical branch - of Islam. We want to believe that they would love to dialogue with us. I am afraid we will learn a very good lesson...and very soon at that.
    People will always come up with excuses for murder and even mass murder. When will we learn?

    1. Father, I wish you could see what I see! I know you wish I would see what you see! We've just got to continue to pray for this world!!


    2. I'm not sure what you mean? I agree 100% with the Vatican. So, I'm not sure what you are asking me to see? That we need to dialogue with other religions? Of course! That we can learn from other religions? Of course! That we need to pretend to be all one religion? Of course not! That we need to drop that which divides us? The truth does not divide. It unites.

    3. "We want to really believe that we can live with people who are so violent. We want to believe that these few individuals (hundreds of millions) represent the "fringe" - a radical branch - of Islam. We want to believe that they would love to dialogue with us. I am afraid we will learn a very good lesson...and very soon at that.
      People will always come up with excuses for murder and even mass murder. When will we learn?"
      The Vatican's response to these killings: "The Vatican said respect for "beliefs, texts, outstanding figures and symbols" of all religious is "essential" for peaceful coexistence." Why would the Pope respond this way, without condemning the killings, which we all know he does condemn BUT he didn't say it! Here's my point! (like I know what the Pope's intentions are!!)
      I'm trying, I really am, in understanding how your response correspondes with the Vatican's. Do you not see the difference in attitude? No offense, I'm just asking.
      By the way, I never said that we should pretend to be all one religion. You continue to reiterate this notion. Why do you put sarcastic remarks out there that are obviously contrary to the Church? I, along with others who believe in ecuemism, believe ONLY in what the Church teaches. I'm just trying to dialogue not argue! Could we try to discuss ecumenism with this view? I think we could help one another.
      There is no way I can articulate what I wish you could see. It's not that I know it all, it's just so subtle that I am inadequate in explaining it.

    4. Thank you so much for your comment. The way I say this was the following. Vatican State is a papacy, a theocracy. It is not a democracy. And of course I would not expect anything different from the Holy Father. The problem that I have with the United States is that it does not claim to be a religious state. It claims to be a secular state. So, the President, to be true to his colors, should be advocating freedom of speech, rather than religious sensibilities. After all, I have never heard the president condemn "artists" and "movie writers" who denegrate and humiliate the most sacred figures of Christianity! Why the hypocrisy? Why the obvious hypocrisy? Is it because violence pays??

    5. Thank you for your explanation! Do you realize that you knit politics and religion so seamlessly together so tight that they are only one color? I mean, they are not even two different hues!!
      Expectations can kill. Really. I no longer expect our government to follow The Rules. Even though I really enjoy the game, they continue to change the rules while we’re in the middle of a game! And whose advantage do those rules favor? I no longer mind this because I don’t mind losing in this world. It’s when I lose, I win. I need the exercise of losing more often! Our politicians are not in control like they (and we) think they are. God is. God is allowing a different America, a different world to emerge…..ever since WW2 it has been happening at a much faster rate. Time and space are coming to a point where there is no longer an objective distinction. (Just think of communication: when we use to write a letter to someone. It took time to write it, send it and 4 to 5 days to receive it. It took space to flow through. Now, it takes neither – email.. or blog!)
      My thoughts sift only through our Church. She is neither Republican nor Democrat. (Just take a deep breath - I'm almost finished.) She is Catholic. She is so above their league! That is where I got confused with your comments. The Pope vs Obama. I really appreciate your viewpoint. I wish we could talk more….dialogue not argue!!

  12. The following is worth reading and heeding.

  13. People don't get to heaven by being intelligent. People get to heaven by knowing the way, the truth and the life. We all read Scripture to better ourselves in knowing God. We all read the newspaper by knowing ourselves and a lack of God.

    1. "We all read the newspaper by knowing ourselves and a lack of God." No Way! The only way we will get to know God is by knowing ourselves better. The only way we will get to know ourselves is by knowing God better. I think Teresa of Avila said that but don't quote me... I don't have time to look it up on google. See what I mean about semantics?

  14. I did not find anything offensive at all. Rest assured. :). It is a conversation that needs to take place. I am never offended by heated or passionate arguments or conversations. There were a lot of things I wanted to add to this meditation but it would have been too long. This was an excellent way to complete it. Thank you!

    1. Thank-you, Father, for the conversation! :) Now I feel a little more at peace. (I fretted about this last night and all today.) I've always had great respect for you....

      Blessings & Peace,

      -Anonymous #1


Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.