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!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mt 18:15-20 Are You Spiritual or Religious?

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Jesus said to his disciples: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.' ...For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Spiritual or Religious?  Are you "Spiritual" or are you "Religious"? 

Nowadays, to be considered "Spiritual" means to loath organized religion with all its "trappings" and to gravitate towards a more personal/private relationship with the Lord.  Why bother going to Church when I can pray in the comfort of my own home and be all by myself? 

To be considered "Religious" means to be part of a community of believers who cherish all the parts of a body (i.e. the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ).  Religious people do not see doctrines or dogmas as rules but as the result of communal prayer and reflection.  Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.    

We need each other.  I don't know about you, but I need you!  I need you in my life.  I need a community of believers that will help lift up my heart and soul and inspire me through their words and actions. 

I don't know about you, but I need your devotion and prayer life.  I need your voice and music.  Sure, I can sing to the Lord a new song, but I can't sing it as well as others, especially those who are in the choir!  Sure, the Lord may be tone deaf, but I'm not!  I need to hear the psalms intoned and the Alleluias sung well.  I need you!

I don't need a Church that will tell me that I am wrong when I know I am wrong.  I need a Church that will tell me that I am wrong when I am convinced I am right!  I need you!  I need you not only in my life but also in my face.    

To be "Spiritual" means to emphasize the I - like in island - in me.  To be "Religious" means to emphasize the We - like in World - in all of us.  As you can see, it is clear which of the two invites greater glory, vulnerability and risk to the individual.  Go for it! 

Thus says the Lord:  "If you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death" (Ez. 33:8).

All the great stories of the world are religious (community based) and have two common features:  personal greatness brought about by community awareness. 

Great people need not only great causes but people who help bring great causes to the forefront!

Of course being "Spiritual" has its advantages.  It can be very soothing and reassuring to the eyes, body, mind and soul.  My God thinks just like I do.  Isn't that amazing

Not so with the "Religious" being.  He has no where to hide.  In fact, he places himself in the midst of the hierarchy, his peers and critics.  He learns from others, especially from their mistakes.  Whereas the "Spiritual" being isolates himself out of fear of being wrong, the "Religious" being conquers his fear of being changed.

We need each other as well as the Lord.  No wonder the Lord gave us two Commandments:  Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself. 


  1. Thank you for this explanation/clarification Fr. Alfonse! This is a topic that has come up in the past.
    -Rosa E.

  2. Amen! We are perfectly capable of loving God anywhere and communing with him anywhere - but we cannot obey His command to love our neighbor as ourselves unless we are involved in a community of believers.

  3. This is THE best explanation of the difference between being ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’ that I have ever read!!! It’s brilliant, really! Isn’t the Eucharist the “Bond of Unity” where we all become one in Christ? ‘Communion’ with Him and only because of Him with each other! If all Catholics really believed in the power of the Eucharist, Catholics alone would be able to transform this world! But God probably knew this wasn’t going to happen (like I know what God was thinking!) so He gives us more ways to bring Him into our lives: “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” That is why I love our Church so much!! I must pray to have a relationship with Our Heavenly Father. But it’s only through loving others that I can even attempt to reach holiness, not for myself but because I can give a gift to God. I want the holiness of others as much as I want it for myself. I don’t think there is anything more beautiful on earth than “going to God” together, one for the other, to help one another to become this gift Only for Him.


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