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, May 8, 2014

Jn 6:44-51 Sharing The Good News

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
(Click here for readings)

Jesus said to the crowds:  "...Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me."

It doesn't take much to become a Muslim.  The only thing required is the recitation of the Shahada or a short declaration of faith; which, by the way, is very brief indeed:  "La ilaha illallah, Muhammadur rasulullah."  This translates to "I testify that there is no other god but Allah, and Muhammad is God's prophet." By saying this, you become a Muslim.  Now of course, you must say it sincerely and with that intention in mind.

For an adult to become a Catholic, one is required to go through a two year period of discernment.  Classes are required.  Knowledge of the faith is mandatory.  And of course, the reception of the Sacraments is essential, especially baptism. 

Knowing all this, I was pleasantly surprised when I read there was a record number of people entering the Catholic Church this year in the Archdiocese of Washington.  [I'm sorry to say this, but my first thought at the news was reminiscent of something John the Baptist once said (Lk 3:7):  "You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?" 


Well, the Archdiocese welcomed over 1,300 catechumens and candidates into the Church this past Easter.  The largest number in its history!  How blessed the Church in Washington must be to have so many politicians, lawyers and government employees!  Am I sounding sarcastic?  Sorry, I couldn't help myself.   

Even the Archdiocese of Boston - where the sex abuse scandals first broke - saw its largest number of new Catholics in over a decade, with over 650 coming into full communion with the Church.  A pleased Cardinal O'Malley blogged, "It was the largest group that we have had in recent memory and about 100 more than last year.  Perhaps it is the "Francis Effect.'  I do not know!" 

I'd like to take a guess, please?  I think the Francis Effect is simply the sweet aroma of God's grace that settles upon a humble, yet tenacious man, and permeates the Church and all that surrounds her.

What I find most remarkable in all of this is what people will go through to join the Church.  This is no easy step.  This is no easy step ladder.  Each step requires grace, discernment and hard work. 

It also requires some risk taking.

On March 9th 2014, just a few weeks before Easter, Ulf Ekman stood nervously before the congregation of the Word of Life church in Uppsala, Sweden.  Dressed in his Sunday best, the Swedish pastor looked out at the congregation of nearly 3,000 members and shared some shocking news with them.  The founder of one of Scandinavia's biggest Bible church and school was becoming a Catholic.

"I have something special to tell you....My wife and I have in recent days sensed the Lord's leading, urging us to join the Catholic Church.  This may seem a very radical step.  But we have great peace and great joy in this decision...

In a recent interview, he went on to say: "We need what the Lord has given to the Catholic Church to live fully as Christians."

Wow!  Talk about putting some pressure on yourself.  But isn't this what faith does to us?  Doesn't it put some pressure on our shoulders?

We all know what Jesus said:  "Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me."  But now we have to ask ourselves one simple question: "Does anyone who listens to us and learns from us go to Him?

If so, then that would make some great news. 


  1. On Easter Sunday, we went to St. Francis of Assisi to go with our son's family which we have done many times. When we got there at 9:00 am for the 9:45 am Mass the new church was packed with patrol officers saying the code limit was full. They also had the old church which is like a gym packed and people waiting outside with this building not able to hold anymore people due to fire code. They went and started Mass early someone said since there were so many there already. Even though we did not get in, I felt a feeling all over, that maybe there is going to be a change coming and people are seeing a need for God in their lives. I don't know what the estimate of people were but what a profession of faith that was. I hope the many people that were there will come back and not just for a Easter and Christmas Mass. Let us all continue to pray there is a change coming

  2. Francis Effect? Maybe. But I submit that it's the JPII Effect. As my kids would say, "He was the BOMB!" The vibrancy of the laity is led by the fire of our young priests (under 50 crowd). They are (finally!) not afraid to talk about the moral issues of artificial contraception, abortion, IVF, etc. About 30 years ago when I was in college, the priests that I knew were telling me that contraception was OK. Rarely did I hear pro-life homilies. Today, our clergy are not afriad to speak the truth in love. This is so essential so we as Catholics are not confused and know what our faith teaches and why. We need to be able to articulate the beauty of our faith to our fellow Catholics.
    If we are led in word and example by these holy men of God, they will light a fire under us and the numbers in DC will seems small. Keep up the good work Father Alfonse. We are listenting and you are bringing us closer to Him.


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