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, September 5, 2013

Luke 5:1-11 The Net In Our Lives

Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Jesus said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."  Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets."

While I was preparing for this morning's Mass, I centered my heart and mind around today's liturgy.  I reviewed the readings I had read last night and opened up a small spiral notebook to review the prayers of the faithful (intercessions). 

Since I've been here, I haven't found them to be very inspirational.  In fact, I've found them to be very ideological.  I'm not very happy with that.  The individual who has written these intercessions (his name will remain anonymous), apparently has a bone to pick with the Church and her doctrines.  In social settings, he would be known as a left-wing or progressive Catholic.  In my mind, he is a lost puppy.

I read through many of them and noticed that when the Church celebrates the memory of a female saint, this author often includes at least one female specific intercession.  For example, "Let us pray that the rights of women and girls may be upheld and honored."  But when the Church celebrates a male saint, he includes no specific prayers for men. 

This is so childish.  Don't we need to pray for everyone, not just women?

In today's Gospel passage, we read how Jesus called Simon to leave behind everything (and everyone) and follow Him.  For obvious reasons, this Gospel is used a lot during vocational retreats.  But when I read this morning's intercessions, I couldn't believe my eyes:  not a single intercession was written for priestly vocations!  Instead, the author prayed for "fishers" (notice:  he didn't use the term "fishermen") and all laborers, and that they may prosper.

There's nothing wrong with praying for "fishers" and laborers.  But lets also pray for priests and religious men and women as well!

When our prayers are laced with ideology and impishness, they become useless and foolish. They are like useless nets, cast from the wrong side of the boat and into shallow water. 

Simon and his nets.  Simon used a net to catch fish.  The Lord used the Truth to catch Simon. 

Nets are very useful, if they are made and used properly.  They can help us catch what we are seeking.  But if our net is strung together with lies and grudges, with certain preconceived notions and opinions, then all bets are off. 

Christ was successful because He was honest.  God is honest.     

Pope Francis recently tweeted, "Let us pray for peace in Syria."  An atheist that goes by a certain username tweeted back:  "Can't have peace while religion teaches its followers hatred for other faiths and non-believers."

It is worth noting that the only negative or hateful responses to the Pope's initiative came from atheists.  It is also worth noting how this individual completely ignores hate-filled religious bigots (like Richard Dawkins) who are atheists.  One need not go far in history to note how the most notable (and most influential) atheists (Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao-tse-tung, Kim Jung-um) have been on the losing (or wrong) side of history.  It's worth noting how these atheists advocated everything except peace.

Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing.  It took a lot of faith for Simon to - once again - paddle his boat out into deeper waters and - once again - cast his net into deep waters.  But because of his faith in God, he did it.  And because he did it, he discovered the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

The only net Simon ended up tearing that evening, was the one between him and Jesus; the one preventing him from being a Saint.


  1. Father Alfonse - When you celebrate Mass, is it mandatory that you read the prepared intercessions word-for-word? Our new priest tends to recite his own personal prayers of the faithful at Daily Mass. Other parishes I attend ask for people to say their personal intentions out loud. Maybe in the future instead of criticizing someone's written prayers you should have a backup set of your own. :)


  2. Oh Jennifer. I do. I actually take his intercession and remove the ideological aspects.

    When it comes to criticizing, I hope your not asking me to keep my opinions to myself or not to criticize the works of others. As you can see, I am not interested in shaming someone. Instead I am interested in examining someone's work, not someone in particular. We should not be afraid to do that.

    Now didn't you just criticize me? ;)

  3. Oh no, Father, I'm in no way asking you to keep your opinions to yourself or "constructively" criticize the works of others!! Sorry it came across that way. Kind of felt bad for the person writing the intercessions. He or she may not be fully aware of how "ideological" the prayers come across........ ;)


  4. I was only kidding. But excellent point. In fact, I just realized I specifically mentioned Richard Dawkins by name. But considering all that he has written and the influence he wields, he deserves to be mentioned by name.

  5. Here is a great example of ideology running over faith. It's in regards to Catholics who support the Obama Administration with respect to Syria.

  6. I wonder how many days ago you would have been for bombing - being the strong Republican you are?

    It's not about the various reasons that Republicans give for war: (US must police the world; we can't let another country have one up on us; since we are the most moral nation, we must keep all nations moral, etc. or that Democrats give for war: (what is the message we're sending by not doing something about it, whatever the President says, we must back him up, etc).

    There is only one reason for it: egoism!

    But don't worry, I'm not criticizing you either.


  7. Wow.. This is a great example. The Catholic Left are something else......

    Have we not learned our lesson from Vietnam and Korea? Iraq and Afghanistan? Is the United States so arrogant and superior that we feel the "right" to get involved in another country's civil war and religious conflict? It would be another story if Syria used Chemical warfare specifically on US citizens on US soil. The Obama Administration seeks urgency in dealing with Syria but then it doesn't do much of anything to really stop the President of Korea from nuclear bomb testing, starving his fellow citizens and executing his girlfriend for alleged improprieties? America needs to stop meddling in other country's conflicts and take care of herself! We've got so many problems here in our own country to solve. Maybe for once our government should exercise a little humility!


  8. This sounds like personalizing to me, and I took homeletics, and was instructed to stay clear of such, especially in reference to a parishioner. Such is better covered in a one on one, face to face, meeting, I think. You may owe an apology. Blessings...Pat

    1. The person who writes these intercessions is not from our parish. They are not even from this state. These intercessions were purchased and are published. I consider them, as with any work, to be open to critical examination.

      But thank you for your concern. I would never have made such a public statement if I could have corrected it personally. :)

    2. Thanks for the clarification, and was accustomed to such being written at parish level, which I have helped do at times. Pat

    3. I never even thought of that, Pat. I'm glad you did. I think your comment may have helped other people as well.

      I'm also glad that I didn't mention the name of the author of this book. I don't really see the need to do that.


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