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!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 Ash Wednesday 2013

Jesus said to his disciples, “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them…When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you…When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them…When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.”
This morning, a mom asked me if it would be appropriate to give her son’s baseball team donuts in celebration of his 16th birthday.  I told her that maybe ashes would be better!  I think she believed me because I never heard back from her! 
Exterior discipline during Lent is important, but the Lord makes it clear, very clear, what He wants when his prophet Joel writes:  Rend your hearts, not your garments.”
Most of us look in the mirror to see how we are physically doing.  But once in a while we look just to find - and get a hold of - ourselves, especially after we've committed some horrible mistake.  It is during one of these sessions that we ask the deepest questions:  “What are you doing to yourself???”  “What have you done???”   “Why are you like this???”
This is deep.  This is profound.  This is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
If we were to routinely live our lives by only examining our physical traits, then we would surely live a lonely and shallow life. 

But today will not be that way!  Not for the next forty days and forty nights, if God has His way. 
Today, we received our ashes.  Now one of the reasons why we put ashes on our forehead is because they don’t belong there.  That’s what makes Ash Wednesday so intriguing for those who don’t get us!  Asheslook weird being there - on our forehead, on us.  But ashes serve an incredible purpose.  They are an eloquent representation of something hidden, unseen, yet very well known that does not belong on me:  sin, guilt and filth. 
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of something profound:  Lent. And Lent is the beginning of something even more profound:  conversion.
Hypocrites.  A hypocrite is someone who isn’t who they claim to be; that is, there’s an imbalance, a disunity with the inside and outside; the spiritual and the physical; thoughts and words; the soul and the body. 

Hypocrites may be likened to fractions, where the numerator (the interior) is not of the same value as the denominator (the exterior) or is reduced in value to zero, making life worthless or meaningless.  Lent is about making the person whole again, one: one "whole-y" person!

All of us are fractions because we've all been fractured by sin.  Even religious people are fractured, for while they hate sin they still fall into it.  Again, during Lent, the Lord invites and assists all Christians in elevating the dignity of their life, both interior and exterior, to the highest value:  himself; and reducing access weight given to one or the other. 

This should not come as a surprise to any of us, but throughout our lives, we have a tendency to put a higher value on the body than on the soul; and our will over God's Will.  During Lent, we do well in accepting God’s grace to balance things out towards Him; otherwise, we can easily have a distorted picture of God and human life.
Case in point.  Upon hearing the news of the Pope’s resignation, zoologist and spiritual head of the world’s atheists, Richard Dawkins, sent a tweet yesterday to all his followers:  “I feel sorry for the Pope…”, he wrote, “Imagine having a wasted life to look back on and no sex.”  Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel sorry for all those people who have had plenty of sex and experienced little-to-no love.  What a tragedy! 
As for the Pope, he isn’t seeking our sympathy.  He’s asking for our prayers. 
Lent is that time of year where we take a leap of faith so as to plunge into the realm of God.  God, like love, is not found in the shallow but in the deep, in the profound; and like love, God will not allow himself to be reduced to sex, like some pagan cults of today and days long gone. 
God, like love and life itself, is profound and complex.  He is not crisp or rigid like a mathematical equation.  And people are not word problems easily solved; we don’t easily fit into formulas!
In the profound is where the Lord is found.    
Heavenly Father, give us the strength and the courage to plunge, body and soul, into the depths of Christ’s love, so that His love will be found in our hearts.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

8 comments:

  1. Father Alfonse,

    Today a friend of mine that is a priest had his birthday. He was asked by several members of the congregation what he wanted for his birthday. His reply was that he wanted everyone to receive ashes.

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  2. Richard Dawkins, sent a tweet yesterday “I feel sorry for the Pope…”, he wrote, “Imagine having a wasted life to look back on and no sex.”

    What does sex got to do with the Pope resigning- I do not get it, nor do I care what Mr Dawkins thoughts are

    I believe Mr Dawkins has the wasteful life along with his wasteful and evil mind

    God Bless you and Goodnight :) Father Alfonse

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    Replies
    1. You sure hit the nail on the head. I would put the guy on the back burner along with that news reporter. I wouldn't waste my time reading his crazy remarks. I can't see where the Pope has had a wasted life. I think he's done some beautiful things for the Church.

      Delete
    2. Father Alfonse,

      I don't think the ashes look weird. Afterall, didn't you say they serve a beautiful purpose and that's not weird.

      Delete
    3. Father Alfonse,

      Tell Dawkins to go fly a kite.

      Delete
  3. Heavenly Father, give us the strength and the courage plunge, body and soul, into the depths of Christ’s love, so that His love will be found in our hearts. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Beautiful Father !

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  4. Father Alfonse,

    I was curious about Richard Dawkins and so I went into into his Twitter Account and he's one of the most perverted, disgusting and sick minded people I've ever heard of. He has an extremely filfthy mind. The people that follow him are just like him.

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  5. Dear Father,
    Please offer in Holy Mass, my intention in trying to discern the Lord's Will for me in wanting to do further studies for 5 years in order to become a Catholic Chaplain. Also I request graces for my youngest (10th Grader) to become more focused in his studies.


    ReplyDelete

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