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, August 9, 2013

Mt 16:24-28 Pick Up Your Cross And Turn Your Life Around

Friday of the Eighteenth Week In Ordinary Time

(Click here for readings)

Jesus said to his disciples:  “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
A couple of days ago was one of those days when the Son began to shine on me.  It was a “great-awakening” moment.  I realized just how much of a sinner I am.

It was an awful day!  Early in the morning I began to feel the heat of the Son, and it was very, very intense!  Thankfully, the day ended wonderfully, with an admission of guilt and an outpouring of God’s grace.  I finally did what I should have done long ago:  I quit fighting fire with fire.

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself.  There are moments in our lives when we really feel like we can do no wrong, and that the world is at my beck and call, ready to be crushed by me at my command.  Success, like superior intelligence, can do that to us.  It can give us this false sense of superiority and take us to places we never ever dreamed of going:  Hell (and I don’t necessarily mean the eternal one).  How easily the roar of the crowd can turn a lamb into a gladiator. 

I’m sure you know what I mean.

The Lord reminds his men:  If you wish to follow me, then begin to deny yourself.  He is telling them that a comfortable life is not in store for them; and that recognition will “Passover” them.  Instead of the laurels of success, persecution will follow them wherever they go. 

But why “deny yourself?”  For one simple reason:  the worst form of persecution always comes from within.  

This knowledge is not meant to frighten them but to humble them.  Pick up your cross and turn your life around!

The most important thing is not to win every argument; it is to win every soul.  The most important duty is not to win at any cost; it is to love at all cost.  The most important rule is not to fight fire with fire; it is to turn the other cheek.  It is scary how certain circumstances in our lives can quickly turn us upside down to empty us of all that is good, pure and holy. 

What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?  Again, what do I gain in being a thorn in someone’s side?  What do I gain in holding on to resentment, bitterness, anger and frustration?  Do I not become a thorn, a dagger, a disturbed individual?

Break away from all these chains!  Free yourself with the instrument that liberates all men:  humility.  Repent and believe!

Now you're ready to carry your cross and turn a new leaf over!

Accept this challenge.


  1. Fr. Alfonse,

    I am a frequent reader of your blog and this post makes me very happy for you! As a fellow formerly self-professed atheist, I share in your frustrations. Sometimes it seems that we try and try to get people to see the beauty of the faith, almost always to the point where we're just making ourselves look silly by arguing. What a great display of humility on your part. Humility (like we have seen with Pope Francis) is often the best tool in evangelization.

  2. Humility...... It's so incredibly difficult to face. But something I should ask for more often. Good for you Father. I need this type of divine intervention with my spouse after 24 years of trying to control too many situations.
    Father, do you have an email address you can share? I've got a question I don't want to post here. (It's not related to this post and I would like it to remain private.) If not, I understand.


  3. You know how sometimes you just know God lead you to see this or read that and it touched you in a way that you just know is it sent from above to lend a help to a troubled heart.

    This meditation did that for me Father Alfonse, thank you I send a gentle kiss of gratitude your way, thank you.

  4. The cross I'm carrying around is certainly self-inflicted: "persecution always comes within." I'm going through an emotional crisis. It started when my new boss joined our team. Although a very nice individual, I'm having a difficult time warming up. I don't feel like I'm very much needed in the organization anymore! I'm very very scared I will lose my job so I'm isolating myself. I'm resentful and quick to frustration because of this nauseating fear. Of course, isolating myself creates the impression I'm not a team player which brings along more anxiety!! Uh......

    I now realize this entire boss situation is a memory trigger. It was exactly two years ago this week I was let go from my old job! I thought I was over it and moved on for the better. Yet I'm afraid I may be repeating the same mistakes I did at my old job. My doctor prescribed me special medication for times when the anxiety becomes overwhelming. I understand pills are not the answer. They only temporarily block the problem. I sleep like a baby and then wake up with the thoughts still lingering.

    The answer is to break out of my protective shell and effectively engage with this new boss. Explain what I've been doing so she is aware I am working. Better interact with the other coworkers so they recognize I am a team player. However, before I do all of these physical acts I need to fervently PRAY. Ask Our Lord for the strength to get though this. Don't allow my emotional temperature to rise when I'm stressed. Quench the fire within me so I'm more pleasant to work with.

    I get so distraught and down on myself when my personality flaws present themselves! I always wish God created me with an angel-like disposition with the ability to accept stress with ease. I wish God blessed me with a natural positive attitude. Weeks like this one I think of myself as a total failure! I want Jesus to smile from heaven and not shake his head as if to say, "Oh, Dear Jennifer, why do this again?"


    1. Hey Jennifer,
      Thank you for your comments. I am concerned about your comments, though, because they do provide a lot of personal information, and if anyone you work with were to happen to come across your comments, it could become very awkward for you. (For example, if you have ever invited someone you work with now or in the past to look at your blog, they could pretty easily find that you follow Fr. A's blog and look at your comments since you comment a lot. They could probably find your blog just by googling your name even if you didn't invite them.) Even though your use only your last initial here, I was able to click on your profile and see your last name and look at your other blog. I'm sure this particular set of comments will amount to nothing, but just be cautious in the future, because if you start to leave a trail of personal info, it might become easily identifiable in the future.

      I did try to find your e-mail to e-mail this to you in a private message, but I didn't see a link to an e-mail on your blog.

    2. Thank-you for your concern.. I will refrain from posting too personal of comments in the future. In fact, it's probably best I go back into "hiding" and no longer post on this blog period. It took a lot of guts to reconnect with Fr. Alfonse and his readers after many months. Obviously I'm causing drama again. I'm very sorry for getting people I don't even know into my personal business. Trust me - Im already awkward around my coworkers and my own family.

      Not always sure why Father posts my comments. He always has the power to hit the delete button, especially if he's concerned about what I write as being personally damaging.


    3. I don't see anything wrong with your posts. But I think the anonymous commentator wanted to make sure that you protect yourself and to not be too specific with locations, names, etc...

      Your posts are great and inspiring.

    4. Anonymous 2, yes that is what I meant. Jennifer, I didn't mean to discourage you from sharing your thoughts and insights. I just want to offer a note of caution, based on my own past experience with, er...interesting shall we say? co-workers, as well as some super-busy body extended family members. Some of my friends use pseudonyms or have a blog ID so that their comments can be tracked/attributed to one individual, but they can't be identified personally. Obviously you know the state of your past and present connections better than Fr. A or any of us strangers on the web do, so we'll follow your lead on whatever your decide. I don't think there's a reason to stop sharing your reflections though.

  5. Wow! Your important thing paragraph is Holy Spirit-inspired!! Dy-no-mite dynamic!!!

  6. Fr. Alfonse, prayers will continue for all of us to be guided towards being the people God has called us to be. I'm glad to read things worked out, and even moreso, that you shared your experience with us.


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