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, November 3, 2014

Lk 14:12-14 Repayment

Monday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
He said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

I’d like to focus in on a single word: repayment.
This year in my English class, we are reading the American classics with a particular focus on what it means to live inpoverty in the United States. We each get to pick a “face of poverty” that we think we are interested in, and we write an overarching year-long research paper with a final project on our issue. It is really fascinating. In the beginning of the year, our teacher introduced the project to us by showing us a presentation by a woman who works with small businesses in Africa. She spoke about how before she started her service organization, she was simply volunteering and donating to “pay off” her own guilt. She said something along the lines of, “I always put five dollars in the collection jar for some charity and then I was free of my burden for the day.”  
This all raised the question: do we have it within us to give without the purpose of seeking a reward? Do we volunteer or give of ourselves just to free ourselves of our own burden? Is there even such a thing as selfless giving? When these questions came up in class, I wanted so badly to say that I always gavewithout seeking a reward, but I knew that the woman in the presentation was right. We all need to be reminded from time to time of what it means to be truly generous—to give without expectation of repayment.
Our brother school in Dallas is a Jesuit school. They say a prayer every day that was written by the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius of Loyola. It is an absolutely beautiful prayer, and all the boys (excuse me— men) know it by heart.
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

What an aspiration!
Teach me to serve you as you deserve…”   Did the Lord suffer as much as He did because he knew he would be repaid by all? Of course not—people spat at him while He was suffering for them. His works on earth were met with hostility and disgust. Today, many people flat out ignore Him. How painful must this be! He deserves to be repaid, and we who love Him are the ones who are called to do it. This is not a simple request, but our duty as Christians. Luke 17:10 says, “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"

“… to give and not to count the cost…” This reminds me of a time when a family friend, who is a Protestant minister, was trying to counsel me back when I used to “reject” the faith—if you don’t know that story… in a nutshell, I was really immature until I transferred to Catholic school and got a taste of reality. Anyway, she asked me to look at a picture of Mother Teresa’s feet (which are severely deformed), and then asked me what I thought about Mother Teresa’s work. Naturally, I spit out whatever I had heard from the rest of my rebellious pals—something about her being up to no good financially and looking for recognition. I then asked her why I was looking at a picture of Mother Teresa’s feet. I will never forget what she responded: “She wore the worst of the shoes that were donated to the order each year so that her sisters could have the better ones.” Wow. Talk about my arguments being entirely shut down. That’s what true generosity does—it shuts down doubt. It is a true, irrefutable reflection of God’s love.

“… to fight and not to heed the wounds…” How many times have we refused to fight for the most vulnerable because it may have damaged our reputation, or been inconvenient? If you’re like me, it would be too many to count.

“… to toil and not to seek for rest…” I’m going back to Mother Teresa because she is a rock star. She had a heart attack at the age of eighty, and asked now Saint John Paul II if she could resign from her position as head of the Missionaries of Charity. He agreed. However, the sisters of her order did not—they voted her back in immediately! To me, that seems bold, but to her, it was just an invitation from God to keep serving. She accepted the role again and worked in the slums until the day she died. Talk about all toil and no rest. How many of would be strong enough to do that?

“… to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will.” This final line of the prayer is echoed in the Gospel reading from All Souls Day. It is from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, and it reads: “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.” The will of the Father is that all should be saved. As Catholics, we believe that this task has now been entrusted to us. Today, we need the gift of generosity more than ever—we need to get out there and get to work, without minding what it may cost us, or how much time it may take. We’ve got a mission, and with the help of God, we can be selfless servants. Lord, teach me to be generous.

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