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!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lk 6:20-26 Hope and Patience in a Hopeless and Impatient World

Wednesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

By Benedict Augustine

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.”

Without patience, nothing significant could be accomplished. Completing a degree in college, paying off a house, mastering an instrument, and even having a good relationship with another person requires patience. This truth occurs to those with experience and wisdom as well as the young who have only started their lives.

However, when applied to one’s relationship with God or one’s spiritual discipline, the majority of people, young and old, do not consider patience as a necessary prerequisite to fulfillment. We can easily endure a long line to purchase something at a store, or a long wait at the hairdresser or doctor’s office, or a plethora of pointless meetings at work, but such fortitude always seems to melt away in religious matters. We cannot handle long lines for Holy Communion or Confession, nor can we wait for the final blessing of Mass before departing, nor do we have any tolerance for a homily above seven minutes. In matters of life, we can soldier on bravely; in matters of faith, we frequently have the patience of a toddler.

The problem of impatience becomes worse in regards to Christian doctrine. So many Catholics leave the Church because they cannot wait for the benefits of a healthy relationship with God or a strong spiritual discipline. Heaven cannot come soon enough, so many fabricate an illusory heaven in their minds that accepts all people, regardless of their distance and disdain for God and His Son. Changing the world one soul at a time will not do; they want to change the world right now with a new government program, or a new drug, or a new social movement, or a new phone. The serenity of prayer does not offer the instant gratification of popular entertainment. The love of God and neighbor can rarely compete with the thrill of a lustful affair or those easy friends of convenience. Face with these pressures, some find a church, or some equivalent, that can supply a quicker satisfaction. True to their ephemeral nature, these comfortable sources of community and entertainment pass out of existence quickly one their novelty wears out.

The true joys of faith can only come with patience, and for this reason will never be popular. The peace, the love, the spiritual food all come with time and diligence. A person who never prays will never understand the spiritual life; the person who never attends Mass will never understand the essence of worship; the person who never makes a true sacrifice of himself will never understand God's love, known to Christians as 'agape'. Rather, they will follow the wisdom of the world that fosters a stressful transient joy that stands in perpetual opposition to the quiet lasting joy of the Christian.

Aware of the opposition, Jesus, “raising his eyes toward his disciples,” addresses the difficulty that comes from the rigors of discipleship. Before Him sits a bedraggled group of men and women, away from their homes, away from their communities, away from any kind of comfort, in order to sit with Him and hear His Word. Clearly, they had faith, for they trusted Him; and they obviously had love, for they obeyed Him for no other reason except that they loved Him. Adding to these two virtues, Jesus gives them hope, the kind of hope that could sustain them for their lives. Soon, they will laugh, feel satisfied, and have everything; and none of it will pass away.

The rich man, that man who places his hopes in himself, the material world, and the opinions of others will never understand the theological virtue of hope. Realist that he is, he believes in utopias, technological miracles, and the power of rock and roll and social networking to bring world peace. What he calls hope only makes for interesting conversation, nothing more; it has no bearing on his life. Unfortunately, the ultimate realist, Jesus, lets him know where this false hope inevitably leads: hunger, mourning, and delusion.

Naturally, the rich man has his objections lined up to this, but Jesus does not intend his words to start a dialogue. He has spoken, and men can either listen and obey, or ignore Him and rebel. In the meantime, and for all time, His disciples will continue on their way with confidence while the rich men continue to search for their way in despair. Appearances will deceive, and eventually disappoint, but God's truth never lies, and will always satisfy in the end.

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