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, February 14, 2013

Luke 9:22-25 Choose Life, Choose Death

Jesus said to his disciples:  “…If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
So which is it?  Life or Death?  I’m confused.  In today’s first reading, Moses tells the people that they should choose life (cf. Dt 30: 15-20).  In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus tells the people that they should choose death.  Well then, which one is it?
We should know by now the paradox of the Gospel:  Jesus Christ.
If Christ is a paradox, then life is one as well, for the giver of life is the author of life. 
We all have the very strong instinct inside of us to survive; to do whatever it takes to survive, and yet we don’t ridicule those who have laid down their lives for others.  In fact, we mourn their loss. 
For those of faith, death is gain, not loss.  For those of faith, death is not the worst thing that can happen; dying on the wrong side is the worst thing that can happen. 
As a priest I’ve seen a lot, heard a lot and learned a lot.  I’ve learned a lot about people, especially at funerals.  I’ve learned that being right all the time is not as important as being loving all the time.  I’ve seen how people react to loss.  I’ve heard many eulogies.  I’ve learned that when the deceased loved “little”, the eulogies were filled with sorrow, unanswered questions; and remarkably, wise-cracks and jokes that were almost belittling the deceased person – of course, not in a distasteful manner, but in a very subtle and fine-tuned manner.  But I’ve learned that when the deceased loved a lot, their eulogies were filled with joy, gratitude and plenty of stories and examples of how the deceased impacted their life and how the joke was on them! 
What is the best way to live?  To die to oneself.  What does it mean to die to oneself?  To love unconditionally.  How does one love unconditionally?  Humbly.  Honestly.  By imitating the love of Jesus Christ; that is, by placing worldly treasures (such as pride, vanity and sensuality) below love of God, love of Church and love of neighbor. 
Like Moses, like the Apostles, Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his entire life to serving the People of God.  While as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger offered his resignation three times to John Paul II!  Three times he was denied.  If John Paul II had accepted his resignation, then that would most likely have been the end of Ratzinger’s story.  But John Paul II wanted him to continue to serve.  And he did when he was elected Pope.
A lot of people today are speculating why he is resigning.  Conspiracy theories abound.  But I truly believe that the only reason why he is resigning at the end of this month is for a very simple reason:  because he finally can.  He prayed about it and finally got permission.
Resolution:  I will make myself available to another, regardless of what my plans were today.  My plan will be their plan; my life will be a part of their life; my heart and mind will be available to help lift up their heart and mind.  Two hearts are better than one.  Two heads together will solve the problem.  By my words and my actions, I will make it clear to them that they are not alone.

3 comments:

  1. Father Alfonse,
    This is what I posted on my FB today. Thank you for the words of Resolution.
    I must confess...today i was feeling bad because when i went to go visit my Mom I didn't have anything to give her for Valentine's Day. Those of you who really know me know that I am a last minute person, needless to say that last minute caught up to me. So I was feeling sad, imagining how all the other residents were going to have all kinds of decorations and shirts that said I Love You, etc. So I get to the nursing home and she is already in the dining room waiting to have breakfast. As I walk in I get several compliments about how nice I look so I start to feel even more guilty, thinking, awe my Mom doesn't have anything Valentiny (I know not a word) anyway we do our morning routine of feeding her breakfast. During our interaction she starts pointing at the things she wants, since she cant talk anymore. I start doing my little therapy with her and tell her to use her words...c a f e... so she repeats c a f e...I praise her show her how excited I am that she said a word. Then I said to her I Love You Mama...she just stared....Then i said now you tell me so I had her repeat
    "I L o v e y o u m i j a." and she repeated " I L o v e y o u m i j a." That totally made my day! Then I read the daily meditation from our priest's blog and this is what was at the end of his meditation.
    Resolution: I will make myself available to another, regardless of what my plans were today. My plan will be their plan; my life will be a part of their life; my heart and mind will be available to help lift up their heart and mind. Two hearts are better than one. Two heads together will solve the problem. By my words and my actions, I will make it clear to them that they are not alone. How powerful...if that is not God's Love being manifested to me then I don't know what is. I pray that God's love may be manifested to you on this Valentine's Day. ---Love Minerva

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  2. One experience that helped my brother immensely in his decision to enter the novitiate of the Jesuit order was when he wrote out his own eulogy. It took him months to complete; but when he finished he knew who he wanted to be and the road that would lead him to this destination. He challenged me to do the same. This exercise is daunting! How I fall so short of what I want to become! I will never reach it! But my faith is not in myself; only in my God. I am nothing, He is everything. This is my ONLY consolation.
    Very Happy Valentine’s Day Father Alfonse. I don’t know if you realize how many hearts are moved by your meditations, words and experiences. It is by your life experiences that you challenge us to move closer to our Lord. He puts us in daily challenges that we almost don’t desire because they are so hard to overcome; but it is by these very challenges that He knows exactly what we need to overcome in order to become Him. It is a remarkable life we are living today!! I am so grateful that I am alive in this age. Thanks for being who you are.

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  3. Father Alfonse,

    Did you find a copy of Ash Wednesday and have you read it?

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