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, September 14, 2014

Jn 3:13-17 Pray to be Brave

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
(Click here for readings)

Jesus said to Nicodemus:  "No one has gone to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man.  And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."

I heard my phone go off at 4:00 am.  It was a text message from a former student of mine.  The message was simple:  "Are you praying for me?"  I wrote back:  "No.  I'm asleep."  This person wrote back:  "If I pass my entrance exam, I will send you a check for $500.00."  I wrote back:  "I'm on my knees!!!"

Crosses and Miracles.  This former student of mine graduated from College last year and got the job of her dreams:  to work in New York City and on Wall Street.  Little did she know how cut throat it would be.  She was a small fish among dozens of sharks.  Rich kids from across the country and from the best schools in the country were competing against her and each other.  If they failed to make the cut, then it would mean immediate termination.  For my former student, it would means she would have to leave the city, her apartment and her dream and look for another job.  She was petrified, and for good reason:  no one had passed.

Two hours later, I received a text message:  "What's your address?"  I was so proud of her!  I couldn't believe it!  She said she needed a miracle and she got it!  Her dream had come true.  Now what I believe made her victory even sweeter was the size of the Cross she had to carry.  It didn't matter if it were real or in her mind.  She had a super-sized Cross on her shoulders. 

Are you afraid of your Cross?  Are you afraid to carry it? 

Christ has given us a challenge, and it's not just to grudgingly carry our Cross but to accept it and embrace it.  Why?  Because He knows something we're afraid to admit:  The Crosses in our lives transform our lives.  They have the power to remove whatever is superficial - even harmful - in our relationship with God and neighbor, and to hold on to what is essential and noble:  faith, hope and love

If we accept our Cross, then we open the door to something amazing.  The Cross is what makes miracles possible, even definable.

Pride, Vanity and Sensuality.  Our Crosses feed our vices of pride, vanity and sensuality.  Let's face it:  we're all afraid to lose what we have earned (this is due to our pride); of what we have built, like our reputation (this is due to our vanity); and of undergoing pain and suffering (this is due to our sensuality). 

Our Crosses feed our fears and our fears feed our vices. 

But Christ nailed it!  His crucifixion makes us a little braver.  Why?  Because He did the impossible:  He took His Cross - a symbol of hatred, murder, evil, and torture - and turned it on its head and into the symbol of faith, hope, love, perseverance and unconditional love.  Christ on the Cross speaks to all of us and says "You're worth it!"  With God nothing is impossible.

This is a miracle, one of His greatest miracles.  No wonder why the Lord invites His friends to pick up their cross and follow Him.  How else would He expect us to transform the world we live in? Unfortunately, far too many of us succumb to the same temptation Christ withstood while on the Cross.  The temptation to prematurely come down from the Cross.  To come down before the "till death do us part" part.

Pick up your Cross, embrace it, and allow something amazing to happen!  This is Christ's story. This can be our story.  This is what makes a story an amazing story!  The Cross is what makes a story a great story and a life a great life.  Why?  Again, because the Cross opens the door to something amazing, which is an essential ingredient to every great story.  Doing what is right, what is good and what is holy (The Cross) should not be avoided.  It should be embraced.  Christians take vows at their marriages (The Cross). They accept unwanted children (The Cross).  They take care of their elderly parents (The Cross).  They do missionary work in crazy and dangerous places (The Cross).  They love their enemies (The Cross).  They forgive the unforgivable (The Cross).  They lay down their lives for others (The Cross).  None of this is because they want to.  It's all because they have to (The Cross).   

This is Christ's story.  This can be our story.  Overcoming the Cross is what makes a story a great story.  Hollywood calls this moment "the comeback."  Christians call it "The Resurrection."

Getting back to my story that opened up this meditation.  I think what this young person will most remember about her Cross is not so much the nervousness before her final exam, but how there was someone from Dallas who took the time to answer her text at 4:00 am.  How we carry our crosses and how we help others to carry their crosses is what people will most remember us for.  It's how we carried ourselves, which is the same as saying our Cross. 


  1. Thank you for the reminder, Father. I needed it.

  2. The Cross represents the full panoply of human dysfunction. It is on the Cross of Jesus that we are forced to confront our own sin. We also find the Divine Mercy on the cross who has taken away our sins and washed them away. Jesus, the Light the World, lifts us out of darkness if we embrace our cross, and brings us into the light. No matter what we have done (or failed to do) the Cross of Jesus is redemptive and transformative if we embrace it.


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