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!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Mk 16:15-18 A 180°

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:  “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.  Whoever believes and in baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 
When I was in High School, I was taught that Thomas Sterns (T.S.) Eliot (1888-1964) was probably the most influential poet of the 20th century.  What I never learned in my public high school is that he converted to Christianity in 1927, and his conversion sent shock waves through the literary world.
Yes, the greatest poet in the English speaking world became an Anglo-Catholic!  And he often described himself as a militantly traditional one at that.  When asked what he believed, he answered he believed in the Creed, the Invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints, the Sacrament of Penance, and so on.  He was seen practicing the faith he proclaimed, going to communion and confession on a very regular basis.
Writers like Virginia Woolf (an atheist) greeted the news with horror:  “I have had a most shameful and distressing interview with dear Tom Eliot, who may be called dead to us all from this day forward.  He has become an Anglo-Catholic believer in God and immortality, and goes to church…there’s something obscene in a living person sitting by the fire and believing in God”  (Joseph Pearce, Literary Converts, pg. 131).
From the pen of Virginia Woolf, it’s not hard to imagine the impact that Eliot’s conversion had on the rest of the army of moderns who idolized his poetry (for its pessimism and its undertones of despair), and yet never understood it.  It turned out that Eliot was never in their camp.  Rather, he predicted the ‘Waste Land’ and indicted the ‘Hollow Men’ for being who they were:  an image and likeness of the Godless man.
Following Eliot’s conversion, many other English writers and poets found the courage and strength to follow in his footsteps and take the path to Catholicism.  Virginia Woolf never did.  In fact, she took her own life in 1941. 
It is amazing the impact one writer’s conversion can have on so many others.
Now Saul’s conversion was even greater! 
Conversions to the faith happen all the time, and most consist of a simple and relaxed short journey back to the faith through the Sacraments.  Saul’s conversion was nothing like that.  His conversion was dramatic, lonely and shocking.  To those who knew him well, the sudden change of heart and mind was unimaginable, unintelligible… simply hard to believe!  Saul’s conversion to Christianity did not simply mean his changing sides, but rather his changing course, changing identity, turning his life upside down and emptying all his pockets!  Saul was left with nothing! This was no slight adjustment.  This was no tweaking matter.  His life had changed 180°.  Saul had been walking south and suddenly, unexpectedly, he turned north.  The old man was dead and the new man, Paul, had risen from the ashes. 
His conversion sent shock waves throughout the Jewish world. 
Saul died on the road to Damascus.  Paul died in Rome.  He ran the race and finished in the Empire’s Capital. 
Paul’s conversion can be best explained by his own words to the Corinthians:  “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child”... (1Cor 13:11a).  In other words, he only did what he wanted to do.  “But when I became a man, I left behind all my childish ways”.  That is, after his conversion - after doing a 180° - he did what he had to do. 
Paul’s conversion had a tremendous impact on all who knew him. I think he knew it.  Before he died, he left them with a remarkable challenge.  He said to them, “Imitate me, for I imitate Christ” (1Cor 11:1). 

9 comments:

  1. I love St. Paul. I love how explicit he is. Hope to shake his hand in heaven, if I make it.

    Katie

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  2. wow,Holy spirit moment. After reading your meditaion, I was surfing on my netflix to find a good movie to watch, and I come upon this movie that I have never seen before called, "Overcome". Its a movie about a young man who struggles through his teenage years with rebellious acts towards his parents, God and his friends, and looses whats good and right in life. Its a movie on forgiveness and redemption. I am not even half way through the movie and I just came upon the part in the movie where he just vandalized a church with spray paint, and is getting into more and more trouble. His parents, who are good Christians go to the minster of this church and apologize for their son's behavior and asks the miinster what else they can do to help their rebellious and defiant son. The minister then reaches for the bible and tells them if they have heard the story of how Saul became Paul and about his conversion. I stoppped right there because I could not believe it! Of all the movies I could have chosen...

    Katie

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  3. I then proceeded to watch October Baby for the first time, and towards the end, St. Paul is mentioned and quoted again! Twice! In the same night, on his feast day, during too movies that I have never seen before! Ok, St. Paul, I get it! Your startin' to creep me out a little!!!

    Katie

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  4. Father Alfonse,

    Have you read Eliot's poem Ash Wednesday which he wrote shortly after his conversion?

    God Bless You

    ReplyDelete
  5. No, I haven't. But I will. :) Thank you for letting me know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Father Alfonse,

      I studied his poetry when I was in school and that was one of the poems we had to read. I enjoy most of everything he writes.

      God Bless You


      Delete
    2. Father Alfonse,


      Don't buy it. I just found it on the internet. I remember reading it a long time ago. I always loved the poem. When you mentioned him in your blog and about the conversion thought about this poem. Don't want you to have to buy it if you don't have to unless you just want to.

      God Bless You

      Delete
    3. Father Alfonse,

      I will have a copy of it in the office for you hopefully on Monday. It's called the Conversion Poem and I love it and hope you wlll too. Tried several places to print it but of to no avail. I have always said where there is a will there's a way. Guess what I found the way.

      God Bless You

      Delete
  6. Father, have you seen October Baby yet?

    Katie

    ReplyDelete

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