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!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Jn 20:19-31 More Than Experience: Empathy

Divine Mercy Sunday
(Click here for readings)

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked...

So much of our time is lived at the very superficial or obvious level.  We don't take time to go deep into meaning and reflect on why things are the way they are. 

The doors were locked.  This morning, while I was reflecting on today's Gospel passage, I focused on one particular verse:  "The doors were locked."  In a spiritual conversation with myself and the Lord, I asked what this verse meant; that is, why the doors were locked.  Of course they didn't want anyone to come in.  They were afraid of the Jews, especially one Jew:  Jesus.  What would he think of them?  What would He say to them?  What would they say to him?

May I speak to you? Do you crave empathy?  Are you searching for someone you can open your heart to?  I am.  We all are.  I crave for someone I can speak to; someone who will not judge me harshly.  I crave the empathy of a friend, a real friend, someone I can truly - honestly - talk to and who will understand me.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday.  Big deal, right?  But what is it?  What does God's Divine Mercy mean and how does it manifest itself in our lives? Please don't tell me the obvious, to go to confession within a certain limited time frame in order to get all my sins completely forgiven.  That's not it.  That's too superficial; in fact, it's too mechanical, artificial and legalistic, which is unlike Christ.

The depth of Christ's Divine Mercy is immediately manifested when the resurrected Christ "came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'"  This closeness, His empathy, especially after all that happened to Him, is His Divine Mercy, and it opens locked doors.  

The Good News just got better! 

Opening Doors.  Technology has made communication so easy,  but it hasn't made us more trusting or open to one another.  Prayer, on the other hand, allows us easy access to the Lord, and Christ just invited His Eleven to an open conversation. 

Is there anyone in this world you can speak to with great ease?  Do you feel like you have easy access to your immediate supervisor or boss or superintendent?  Do you trust them enough to say anything to him/her?  Are you confident you will be understood? 

I wonder how many teens feel as though they can speak to their parents, freely and without reservations?  I think it's very few. 

The Lord has an unfathomable desire to speak and listen to us. 

Are you looking for someone you can open up to and not have to pay a lot of money to?  If so, then know the Lord desires such a relationship with you. 

St. John Paul II and John XXIII.  There is no place on earth right now I wish I could be than in Rome.  Can you believe it?  Two Popes and two Saints! 

How did they do it?  Why was their canonization today?  Is there a connection between God's Divine Mercy and their lives?  Yes. 

I don't know about you, but I find it interesting how insanely popular these two Shepherds were in their lifetime and yet how different they were in their approach to guiding the Church.  But when it came to what matters most - God and neighbor - they shared a common trait:  they made everyone feel as if they were important, welcomed and loved.  

They made everyone feel like they could talk and be listened to. 

Can we not say the same for Pope Francis? 

Divine Mercy is Divine Love.  Divine Mercy begins with Divine Love, that great adventure of God leaving Heaven and becoming man.  The great romantic, St. Paul, understood this when he wrote:  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. Christ's mercy comes from His love.  Love opens doors.  Mercy opens locked doors. Christ's love brought life to His Apostles.  His mercy brought forgiveness to His Apostles.  Life and forgiveness are exactly the same thing.

Now let's talk (pray).


  1. I wish I could think as deeply and clearly as you do in your meditations. My goodness, you have a way if bringing things full circle. I have a deep prayer life, but your wisdom is far beyond my reach. Thank you!

  2. This is an absolutely beautiful meditation. I can relate to the depth of your words, Father. A few thoughts come to mind.....

    I wish I was in Rome, too, celebrating the event, checking out the historical sites, and feasting on delicious Italian food and wine. I'm so excited for Pope St. John Paul II and John XXIII. I need to research more about John XXIII since I wasn't even born yet during his pontificate. It seems like he hasn't received as much focus as John Paul II. However, both men are incredibly deserving of sainthood.

    I'd like the opportunity to speak to someone that I trust about my concerns and even my accomplishments! Friends and acquaintances are always way too busy. It's quite frustrating because I sense that they really don't **care** to speak to me. They are too wrapped up in their own lives. If they do engage in conversation, it usually trivial, superficial and involves themselves. I will slowly begin to distance myself from such people. Loneliness and isolation intensifies. Naturally I begin to resent them because they don't give me the time of day.....

    On the flip side, there are times I've desperately wanted to help a person by listening to him or her with sincere empathy. But forever reason he/she rejects me. It's as if my mere presence disgusts the person. I know in my heart I can help them. However, he/she limits interactions with me. It's not like I did anything wrong that I’m aware of. I'm just not someone they trust or feel comfortable enough to talk to......

    This is when prayer comes in which forms that intimate bond with Jesus. I know he is always present with me ready to listen when I speak to him. Moreover, I know he's ready to heal and pour out his divine mercy in amazing ways! I can pray and converse with Our Lord day in and day out. I can take in his body and precious blood in the Holy Eucharist. However, I can't physically touch and feel him like I can a human person. There's something warm and satisfying about the closeness of a human bond. When we lose empathy for one another and don't give people much attention, they may decide to doubt God. Sadly they may think killing themselves is the only option because no one will speak to them in compassionate and loving ways.

    All of us should make honest attempts to open the doors of our hearts to others who may need a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a hug, or practical non-judgmental advice. I understand we are all extremely busy, but taking the time (even five minutes) to talk to someone can make the world of difference. As an example, think of Fr. Alfonse eating a meal with the homeless man and then listening to a woman in a nearby booth. We can engage in the same type of relationship building even if it’s only for a brief encounter.

    Saint John Paul II and Saint John XIII, Pray for Us!

    Have a blessed week.


  3. “On the flip side, there are times I've desperately wanted to help a person by listening to him or her with sincere empathy. But for whatever reason he/she rejects me.”

    What an honest, open comment! I’m sure every single person has encountered this at one time or another.

    Someone once told me that the way I will become a stronger person emotionally, psychologically & even intellectually is by loving without expecting anything in return. It’s true! It just takes a lot of failing and starting again on my part to finally ‘see’ that this is a beautiful consequence of loving someone! It’s my intention of sacrificing / loving only Jesus in that person. If they acknowledge me – great! If they don’t acknowledge me that’s great too, because I did not ‘love’ in order to receive something back. I did it only to love Jesus in that person. It’s not about them and how they react; it’s about me and how I react. ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Now that is Real Love!

    You can tell when someone is ready to open up to you. I don’t believe in forcing anything on anyone, because if they aren’t ready, they aren’t ready... period. There is nothing I can say or do to make someone ‘ready’ to talk or open up about whatever. I can only love that person and give them space and the security of my love that no matter what they do or say, I will always love them. Time is usually what we all need.

    It’s like the love of a mother whose son is in jail. She continues to love him ‘even more’. She might despise what he has done, but she loves HIM to the core, even if she can't talk to him often.

    Nothing will change that.


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