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, November 5, 2014

Lk 14:25-33 Only God, Nothing Else

Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time

By Benedict Augustine

If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, 
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.”

Whether conscious of it or not, all people have something on which to base their life. For the shallow people, they might base their life on a constant gratification of lust, or a constant consumption of food, or on constant entertainment. As for the rest of the life, all other activities and thoughts will ultimately tend to these primary goods.

Assuming that a person matures from these desires, they may choose to base their life on their job, or their family and friends, or their education. From things, which fail to please after some time, adults base their lives on people or ideas since they tend to last a little longer. Unfortunately, even these thing fade: jobs grow stale, people die and move away, and, Aristotle notwithstanding, most minds cannot contemplate life's many truths indefinitely.

Like a building built too fast on a rushed foundation, people who build their lives too fast on thoughtless ideals soon come to a quandary in meaning. They spend decades at school, or in an office, or with multiple lovers, all to find no meaning in it. Reaching middle age, or maybe not even making it that far, these good people finally have no home, no faith, no wisdom. They join the ranks of the “crooked and perverse generation,” completely unprepared for death and quite underwhelmed by life. Maslow's hierarchy determine their behavior, and they behaved like good predictable automatons submissive to all the powers of the world.

In response to such emptiness, Jesus offers another basis for life: Himself. In no uncertain terms, He demands the disciple's devotion, which entails a complete restructuring of values. As St. Augustine explains in his work De Doctrina Christiana, true Christians must enjoy God alone while everything else is only fit for use, not enjoyment. Family, career, good times with friends should all lead one closer to God; they act as temporal means to an eternal end. As such, the Christian must live all life for the sake of God: he must love others for the sake of God, love himself for the sake of God, and love God for the sake of God. Absent God, relationships decline into mutual exploitation and degradation; healthy self-esteem inflates into delusive egotism; and humble piety corrodes into the meanest hypocrisy.

Knowing full well the adversity awaiting the Christian, Jesus must challenge the faith of His disciples. They must be ready to hate their parents and siblings because their parents and siblings will not support their conversion. They have a different basis for life: the empire, the tribe, the old law, material prosperity. The devout Christian must hate the world, and that extends to the people who worship the world. If one of Jesus' disciples followed Him with the intention of continuing his life as before, he would never last in such a hostile atmosphere as Rome. If a Christian today hopes to follow his Lord, he must prepare for a similar change in lifestyle.

Such a change for anyone involves suffering. It brings pain to step off the path of safety, to step away from the comforts of family and friends, the pleasures of the body, and the strength of community. Sadly, living a life of the spirit necessarily involves the cross: the world does not like to be ignored, and will punish the person who even tries. No matter what era, or what circumstance, loving Jesus often involves hating that which lies nearest. Until the end of days, the world will remain fallen, and the cross will continue to await the Christian.

People think they lose themselves by making such a move, but Jesus assures them that they actually find themselves. Moreover, they must make the change while they still have the chance, for those former foundations of life, so solid before, will inevitably crack with time and stress. The foundation of Christ, infinitely deep, does not crack or shift with time. It withstands the weight of time and experience; it allows the building of one's life; most importantly, it endures death.


  1. Thank you, "Benedict Augustine" for helping to defend authentic Catholicism here in DFW and elsewhere, so that we don't go the way of the New York Diocese. See article below. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that if only 12% of New York Catholics attend Mass, that churches will need to close. Instead of closing churches and marching in gay parades in NYC, why doesn't Cardinal Dolan and his leadership announce sweeping reforms of Catholic catechesis, continuing education and explaining the authentic Catholic Faith in homilies. Confirmation classes in many dioceses are such a joke that no wonder kids don't appreciate the faith--they never learned it. This church decline doesn't have to happen if leadership tried to stop it!!

    Defending authentic Catholicism,
    St. Paul of Scriptures & Sword

    Heartache for New York’s Catholics as Church Closings Are Announced
    There were gasps and tears at Holy Rosary Church in East Harlem. At Sacred Heart in Mount Vernon, congregants shared mournful embraces. And at Our Lady of Peace on the East Side, parishioners pledged a fight.
    Across the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, a day of reckoning arrived on Sunday, as Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan announced how scores of parishes would be affected by the largest reorganization in the history of the archdiocese.
    From Staten Island to the Catskills, there was anguish for congregations that learned that their churches would be effectively shuttered and relief among those whose parishes were spared.
    And at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and in interviews, Cardinal Dolan, the executor of the changes, sought to explain what they would mean for the 368 parishes he oversees and the 2.8 million Catholics living in communities served by those churches.
    “I can well understand the frustration, the anger, the confusion of our people, and I apologize for it, because I am the agent of it,” he said in an interview on Sunday afternoon. “But this is about the future, this is about strength and renewal, and we will get through this.”
    In all, 112 parishes will be merged to create 55 new parishes, the archdiocese announced. In 31 of those new parishes, one of the churches will no longer be used for regular services, meaning those churches will be effectively closed by August.
    In the remaining mergers, both churches in the combined parish will remain open, a decision that was met with hopeful cheers at some of those churches on Sunday. The savings from such consolidations will come primarily through shared administrative costs.
    The Brooklyn Diocese, which includes Queens, faced similar challenges and undertook a similar process, reducing its total number of parishes to 187 today from 199 in 2009.
    The reorganization announced on Sunday has been long in coming, reflecting demographic trends that have plagued Roman Catholic dioceses across much of the nation for decades. The number of priests has fallen each year, as retirements outpace ordinations. And attendance has been declining; as of 2013, only about 12 percent of the New York archdiocese’s 2.8 million Catholics regularly attended Sunday Mass, according to the archdiocese.

    1. I've heard about the New York diocese having to make this big shift. I would agree that this reflects pretty badly on Cardinal Dolan who has overseen this dismantling and shares a large part of the blame in NY Catholics drifting away from the Church. As he cozies up with disreputable politicians, impresses absolutely no one with his bland mealymouthed responses to serious issues, and hardly lifts a finger to help the more vibrant (and traditional) branches of his dioceses, churches under his purview simply close down. He talks of "strength and renewal." It is precisely the opposite; it is weakness and utterly repetitive. We are following the declining dioceses in Europe step by step, and the USCCB simply hopes that some demographic shift (i.e. more immigrants from Central America) can fill up our pews. I think it's time to look inward and see what normal Catholics actually experience each Sunday and what we've gained by accepting so many compromises on liturgy and morality.

      It's a cultural problem with its roots in values. Nothing is articulated anymore; Catholics don't even know what it means to be Catholic (please see my last post about this problem). Blind optimism has replaced hope; well-wishing has replaced faith; and tolerance and acceptance have replaced love. A crash course in the saints or a few essays of Chesterton, let alone the actual gospel, will quickly dispel such vapidity. We've paid too much attention to bad ideas; it's time to stop listening to them.

      Fight the good fight, Paul, and keep reading. Let's hope DFW doesn't have the same fate as NY.

  2. Benedict,
    I think its up to us strong/vocal men to try to help Father Alfonse/others to help the Catholic Church. Some of the women on this site seem to want to engage in drama, because they are likely very young and idealistic and have been poorly catechized (not their fault), but I just won’t take that bait again. I trust that the women have good intentions, but I think the men need to have a somewhat different mission.

    I strongly believe the Catholic Church in the U.S. will continue to decline until the Church figures out how to attract strong men back to the Church and train them with the masculine message of “fighting the good fight,” holy mission, and strong protector of wife and family. I have learned first hand that if the man of the household is not a Faithful Catholic, then the children very likely won’t be as well, no matter how devout the Mother is. Too often, though likely unintentional, Catholic Churches have feminine messages, music that is too sappy, hand holding &dancing not appealing to men, and the “love & forgiveness” themes that it can make a man feel like throwing up! I was a “cruise control” Catholic for many years because of this, until I started listening to the bold, smart Catholic apologists online, including Michael Voris (ChurchMilitant.TV), Father Robert Barron, Scott Hahn, Steve Ray, Matthew Kelley, etc. These men speak out against porn, divorce, contraceptives, abortion, gay marriages, and all the sins of the flesh. These have awakened the male Catholic Conservative fighting spirit, similar to what the Apostles must have felt.

    On any given Sunday, all across U.S. religions, churches are likely to have more women in the pews than men. Some estimates place the so-called “gender gap” in America at 61 percent women versus 39 percent men. Men also needs to be given a “sense of urgency” of who the enemy is. When the Catholic leaders forget to talk about hell and the devil, and instead turn God into the big huggable Barney who forgives everybody for everything all the time, then a man can feel that the religion gets too hokey or is just not necessary if God’s mercy will in the end, just send everyone to Heaven. On the other hand, many Catholic men get picked off by churches like the aggressive Evangelicals who do 2 things well: (1) appeal to a man’s intellect by intense focus on reading the Bible, or (2) teach the imminent Rapture that gives a real sense of urgency that the Rapture can happen any day.

    I understand some people hurting out there and that the God’s endless mercy theme can lift them up off the ground. But there are even more “cruise control” Catholic men out there, who easily slip into driving to a football game on a Sunday instead of Mass if there’s no fire from the pulpit.
    Let’s just look at the numbers that Michael Voris talked about on his website yesterday. 25% or 80mil of Americans are Catholic, but only about 20% or about 16mil go to Mass regularly. That means there are 64mil Americans (many more men than women) not going to Mass! Why isn’t the Church trying to address this group?????
    Instead, the Churched is getting mired in the Gay Agenda and this is just froth with problems. Attracting a few gays, will just turn off multiples of more men from the Catholic Church, so this is a losing proposition. Only 2% of people are clinically Gay (there are some others who get convinced they’re gay leaning by the liberal culture). So 2% is about 6.6mil Americans. If we assume 25% of these were raised Catholic (very likely much less), then only 1.6mil Americans are gay Catholics, at most. Why would the Church be focused on 1.6mil versus the 64mil (mostly men) not coming to Mass?? Also, many gays don’t want to repent, but rather they want to get married. “Welcoming” gays into the Church is just a first step to them clamoring for gay marriage. This will always put unrepentant gays at odds with the Catholic Church. I’ll send a 2nd message about this as well.

    St. Paul of Scriptures & Sword

    1. Dear St. Paul of Scripture and Sword,

      With all due respect, I am utterly appalled by your blatantly sexist comments. While I am glad that you recognize the necessity for strong, orthodox,Catholic men (I certainly do since I married one 20 years ago), that should be no reason to summarily reduce women to "sappy", "dramatic" ninnies. Some of us have been reading Chesterton, Kreeft, Tacelli, Hahn and listening to Fr. Barron and Fr. Riccardo for years. I agree that Catholics need to know the faith but then, my friend, we need to live the faith. Faith without action is meaningless.
      As for your sentiment about throwing up on the "love and forgiveness" theme in the Church, I think someone once said "Father forgive them, they know not what they do." You may want to reconsider that opinion.

  3. I know that “strategically” Christ said we should love our enemy, but I also know that “tactically” Ronald Reagan said we “trust but verified.” I think the Catholic Church can have a “search & rescue” mission of helping those gays that truly want to repent. Otherwise, I believe strong Catholic men need to be always vigilant when having dinner with the devil when it comes to welcoming the Gay/Liberal agenda into our Churches.

    If you google “45 Communist Goals by Dr. Skousen (1958), the liberal/gay agenda is using this same playbook that is quite scary when it comes to taking over Churches:
    1. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States
    2. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks
    3. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
    4. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions
    5. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures
    6. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press
    7. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV
    8. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
    9. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch
    10. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principal of “separation of church and state.”
    11. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture–education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc
    12. Infiltrate and gain control of big business
    13. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce


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