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!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Luke 2:1-14 Think Small

Luke 2:1-14  Think Small
While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son.  She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  
Three days ago, the Pope tweeted the following message:  "Whoever denies God, denies human dignity.  Whoever defends God, defends the human person".  Among all the disgusting and distasteful responses, there was one that caught my eye.  It read:  “If God is almighty, then why does he need to be defended?”
And there you have it:  One poor soul who has never seen a manger in his life. 

Life needs to be defended.  Good needs to be defended.  And today, especially today, God needs to be defended.  How?  With love.
When we think of America as being “almighty”, we typically think of it as being all-powerful; that is, with lots of guns, lots of soldiers, and lots of flexing muscles.  But this is not America's strength; it is her people and her principles.  And these have been  worth defending for decades! 

Big does not necessarily mean almighty.  Even some science fiction writers have understood the value of being small. In H.G. Well’s classic fictional novel, “War of the Worlds”, it was the microscopic world that eventually annihilated a technically superior and violent alien force that was eliminating man from the face of the earth.    
Now look at the manger.  See for yourself.  When the moment arrived for God to enter the world, this is how we wanted it:  humble and loving.  What “makes” God “almighty” is how humble (small) He is.  What makes him worth defending is how loving He is. 

God is almighty because He is love, and love does not come in only one size, except when it becomes flesh. 

And still, there is nothing more powerful than love.  No human empire has ever destroyed it.  No evil (or alien) force has been able to eliminate it.  Love conquers all things, even death itself.  A murderer is no match to a lover.  Yes, there is nothing more powerful and everlasting than a woman, a teacher, who wraps her arms around a child and lays down her life for him.  That is the power of love.  And that is worth defending. 
Nothing (no weapon or individual or army) is more powerful than that.
Let’s make the most out of life.  Let’s think small.  Let’s reflect on the manger and let’s reassess our priorities, our values, our way of life.
As for me, I have seen enough commercials this holiday season, but only one stood out above the rest for its absurdity and, strangely enough, its proximity to Christianity.  Let me describe the beginning of the commercial for you.  It starts with a woman looking inside her Christmas stocking.  Her face says it all.  She is in shock; amazement; in disbelief!  Whatever she received, it is understood by all that it is the greatest gift anyone could possibly have given to her.  And the man who gave it to her, well, he is one lucky guy.  He read her heart through and through.  What was it?  A dozen Five Hour Energy bottles! 
How absurd!  And yet, in a certain sense, it is as absurd as our Lord and Savior’s birth.   The King of King, Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace was born in a stable. 
How shocking:  a stable!  How surprising:  a manger!  How humbling:  a scene surrounded by sheep and Shepherds!
The Lord’s birth was so unremarkable that it had to be heralded and described by an angel!
Yes, an angel of the Lord had to go to a group of sleeping Shepherds, wake them up, and tell them that the Savior of the world had been born.  Then, the angel had to describe for them what they would see; otherwise, they wouldn’t believe it or even recognize it! 
“And this will be a sign for you:  you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” 
This very scene is much more glamorous than the Lord’s scene!  But it is not as important as the Lord’s scene.
The manger, the Lord’s nativity, should remind us of what God considers to be essential and most important in life.  What do we see inside the stable?  The simple things of life.  Let's take note of them.  What do we see?  We see the family.  We see the family together and friends off to the side.  We see mom and dad in love with each other and with God.  We see blessings in their eyes for what they possess:  hay, wood, swaddling clothes.  We see faith, hope and love just oozing out of every single mouse hole and piece of straw.   They will not allow the difficulties and dangers surrounding them to take control over them!  They will not allow anyone or anything to take their peace from them.

The Lord wants to teach us from the crib, the manger and the stable.  His message is clear:  make the most out of the simple things in life! 
The manger is a little thing with a huge (almighty) message.
Start singing a new song (cf. Ps 96:1-2), please.

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