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, January 10, 2013

Luke 4:14-22 Where He Had Grown Up

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.  He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.  He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it is written:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”  …He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
In his “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”, Karl Marx wrote the following:  Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress.  Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation.  It is the opium of the masses.”  
Usually the most people ever heard or read from the above quote is that “religion is the opium of the masses”.  That’s too bad, since Marx did say much more than that. 
Of course one can argue with Marx and say, “Atheism is the true opium of the masses”, for it often advertizes itself as the “no regrets”, “no worries”, “just have fun” alternative to religious demands.  What exactly these slogans mean depends upon each individual, I guess.
I still remember a few years back when the British Humanist Association started an ad campaign on London buses with the message:  “There’s probably no God.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”   Richard Dawkins, zoologist and atheist superstar, insisted that the ad remove the word “probably”.  Now for a scientist, even a zoologist with a PhD, to make such an unscientific claim like that proves just how much ideology, and not math, is involved in their campaign…and in his calculations!
Well, it might be working. 

Recent polls have suggested that most young adults are losing their religion.  This should not be surprising at all if we also include recent facts showing that more young people than ever are on drugs; most public schools are inflating grades like never; more young people are cutting themselves and having more sex earlier and earlier than ever; and so many parents are failing their children like never before. 

A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves “gifted” and “driven to success”, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.
Dr. Keith Ablow writes:
This data is not unexpected.  On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends”…they can choose to show the world only the flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves, “speak” in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they “like”.
Using twitter, young people can pretend they are worth “following”, as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame.
Using computer games, our sons and daughters can pretend they are Olympians, Formula 1 drivers, rock stars or sharpshooters.  And while they can turn off their Wii and Xbox machines and remember they are really in dens and playrooms on side streets and triple deckers around America, that is after their hearts have raced and heads have swelled with false pride for “being” something they are not.
On MTV, Oxygen and other networks, young people can see lives just like theirs portrayed on reality TV shows fueled by such incredible self-involvement and self-love that any of the “real-life” characters should really be in psychotherapy to have any chance at anything like a normal life…
With the “fall” of religious belief comes the “rise” of self-belief (narcissism).  After all, the “natural” tendency that we all share is to knock God out and replace Him with someone ourselves. 
Yes, with the “fall of God” comes the rise of the “selfish man”.  This is a very natural tendency.  It goes back to the very beginning.   
With the rise of secularism, all natural tendencies have become something to embrace, to tolerate and accept; not something, at times, to reject, fight, or conquer. 
With the rise of secularism, the most worthy institutions have become worthless, laughable, and easily “rejectable”.   In a recent poll taken, it seems like more Americans prefer head lice and cockroaches to Congress!  I feel sorry for Congress.  I really do.  After all, they have to do more babysitting for Americans, give more hand outs for Americans, solve more problems for Americans, and create more laws to help Americans than ever before!  So of course they can’t keep up!  Of course they are always behind!  Of course they can't get anything done because no one, especially parents and young adults, is doing much at all to help.  American "families" are creating more adult babies than our nanny state and national debt can handle.
I don’t think Karl Marx ever imagined that happening.  But maybe that’s what happens when we tell people to stop worrying and start enjoying their life.
Jesus Christ is Lord.  So what did He do about it?  He rolled up His sleeves and He went to work.  He brought relief to the poor, liberty to those held hostage by sin, recovery of hope to the devastated.  Although Jesus is God-Almighty, He rolled up His sleeve and gave blood.
We don’t believe in a God that lives somewhere up there.  We believe in a God that is a Father, a true Father, a real Father, who lives and works and dies for His children.  But like so many children, can they even trust their very own father?  No wonder why they are having a hard time believing in the Father; in believing in truth and love.
The Lord never told us to not worry about this life.  He told us to start working in this life.  He told us that the way we live our life on earth will determine the way we live it forever.  That’s not something to worry about.  It’s something to think about. 

The Lord went back to where he had grown up.  But it wasn’t just the town of Nazareth that helped him to grow up.  Most importantly, it was the presence of His Mother and Father (on earth and in Heaven) that had helped Him to grow up.

1 comment:

  1. Pope Benedict states in his book, Jesus of Nazareth, that the relationship that our relationship with our earthly father reflects that of our heavenly father, in the same way earthy marriage should follow that of the heavenly marriage between Christ and the Church. Our inability to think spiritually effectively prevents us from understanding fatherhood, motherhood, parenthood, and even childhood as the callings they were meant to be. We don't understand the roles we fulfill in daily life. If we understood roles, we could act with purpose, and if we did that, this amoral limbo we've created for ourselves wouldn't even exist.

    Cultural movements, all born out of envy (communism and relativism) or narcissism (atheism and hedonism), have corroded roles. We break down whole systems of beliefs, whole systems of thought that brought communities together to worship God and love one another, and we leave ourselves with broken pieces of those old thoughts. Then we put those pieces together in a haphazard collage with no forethought, no beauty, no meaning. What pleasant feeling could spring from such a course of action? Should we tell children to reject their parents and finally live their lives? Should we tell students to leave the classroom and finally enjoy themselves? Should we tell all working men and women to dump their jobs and enjoy themselves? Enjoy what? What comes from all this denial? Enlightenment? Or, more likely, darkness and gnashing of teeth?

    You make a vital point that one can only turn to oneself for guidance after rejecting Christianity. A person like Dawkins thinks that he liberates the masses and turns them to higher things like science, politics, or art. But, like you say, those poor misled masses normally turn to much lower things like self-mutilation, drug abuse, pornography, and alcoholism. By God's grace, this hasn't happened to everyone, but for those with the blessing of faith and good upbringing, they should help these lost children. The times call for more outreach and less complacency. Otherwise there will be no more adults left in this world, and we'll all simply be lost orphans.


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