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, October 26, 2014

Mt 22:34-40 All You Need Is Love

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

A scholar of the law tested [Jesus] by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"  He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second is like it:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Love is enough.  Not too long ago, I read a book by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (today, Pope Benedict XVI) entitled:  "What it means to be a Christian."  I came across this little story:

"A story current in late Judaism, in Jesus' time, tells how one day a pagan came to Rabbi Shammai, the famous head of a school, and told him that he would be willing to join the Jewish religion if the Rabbi could tell him about its beliefs in the time someone could stand on one leg.  The Rabbi probably thought in his mind about the five books of Moses, with all the ideas in them, and everything that Jewish interpretation had added in the meantime and had declared to be equally obligatory, necessary, and essential for salvation.  As he went over all this...he had to admit that it would be impossible for him to summarize in a couple of sentences the whole of everything that made up the religion of Israel.  The strange petitioner was not a whit discouraged.  He the competition:  to the other famous head of a school, Rabbi Hillel... Hillel found the suggestion in no way impossible and answered him straight out, "Whatever is offensive to you yourself, do not do that to your neighbor.  That is the whole law.  Everything else is interpretation." 

I wish I had read this a long time ago, for a non-Christian once asked me what it meant to be a Catholic.  Instead of answering his question, I handed him a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  I thought I was being pretty smart.  I wasn't.  The poor man looked at me and said, "I don't think God ever wanted to make it this hard to get into heaven." 

He was right, at least when it came to understanding God's Law.

I find it interesting how a scholar of the Law asked Jesus what he must do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.  I find it refreshing what the Lord said:  "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depends all the law and the prophets."

What does it mean to love someone?  Cardinal Ratzinger goes on to explain: "Being a Christian means having love.  That is unbelievably difficult and, at the same time, incredibly simple."   It is difficult because most of us have not yet experienced the Copernican revolution; that is, we still think and act as if everyone revolves around me - that I am at the center of the Universe - that all things and people should be serving and loving and honoring me.  Well, it's not going to happen, and it's not going to happen because the world was not made that way. 

Face it:  the world and life revolves around the Son.  That, my dear friends, is the honest truth. 

Have you come to terms with this reality? 

Of course this does not sound very appealing (or even loving) to any of us. It's hard to admit this, but this is simply due to our fallen nature.  Sin has distorted everyone and everything.  But the irony of it all is how Christ resolves the problem. He takes a dip for us as well.  That's right!  Think about it.  When God became man He fell. When He stepped down from heaven He scratched His name off the top of the list.  When He became a simple man He left most of His Light back home.  And when He preached to simple folks He kept a safe distance from the top brass of humanity. It was only when He ate at the homes of sinners and forgive their sins that the light of darkness began to shine on Him.  "Who does this man think he is?  Who is this that forgives sinners???"  For those in power, it was at this moment that "He" became "he." 

Why did the Lord waste His time and life on simple people?  Were they people better than others?  Of course not.  Then why did He help them?  Because the Lord knows how to love.

The Lord does not love us because we are good, or because we can do something for Him, or because He can get something out of us.  The Lord loves us because He is good. 

So simple and profound.  

What does it mean to be a Christian?  "In our generation the Christian faith finds itself in a much deeper crisis than at any other time in the past... If faith is to survive this age, then it must be lived, and above all, lived in this age.  And this is possible only if a manifestation of faith is shown to have value for our present day..." - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

To be a Christian means to be another Christ.  To be a Christian means to put God in your heart, in your soul and in your mind.  It means to think like Christ, speak like Christ, move like Christ, live like Christ.  To be a Christian literally means to be another Christ.

And what exactly did Christ do that our neighbor finds so difficult to do?  Love unconditionally.  And what does it mean to love someone unconditionally?  It means to give and forgive.  

We Americans - and not necessarily just Christians - are a very giving people.  We really are.  We cherish giving to others and helping others.  We encourage it among our children and we do it ourselves.  We help our own and we even help others, especially the undocumented or illegals that come to our country.  We really try to live the words of Christ:  "For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in; naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me." 

We are good at doing good things.  But we are also extremely bad when it comes to doing tough things, like forgiving others. 

Forgive like no other.  What does it mean to be a Christian?  It means to forgive like no other - to forgive the unforgiveable.  It means to forgive like it's nobody's business.   Wow!

This is our valuable contribution to civilization.  This is what we can do better than anyone else.  We must, for world peace, global partnerships, worldwide efforts in combating the ills of our world depend on it. 

We are not doing a good job at it.

Man (man and woman) is horrible at forgiving; that is, forgiving the sins and failings and mistakes of others.  Man loves to rub dirt in people's noses.  He loves to remind people of their wrong doings.  He actually enjoys keeping a keep a record of it, and, if possible, keeping it on page one of Google searches.  

He loves to see people pay with pain for their transgressions.  This is why life has become unsustainable and almost impossible!  Where is the humanity in all of this!!!     

Of all the major religions in the world, no religion speaks more loudly or forcefully or convincingly about the need to forgive than Christianity. Forgiveness is at the top of Christ's list of things to do.  It is in His heart, mind, soul, body and blood.  It is on Christ's lips ALL THE TIME!

Forgiveness is all about giving life to the dead.  It is the most powerful and efficient tool Christians have at their disposal to cast out Satan (and others) from the center of our world and replace them with Christ and our neighbor. 

I love you, Lord, my strength!  (Ps 18:2).

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