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, February 8, 2015

Mk 1:29-39 Happiness Is...

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to [Jesus] all who were ill or possessed by demons.  The whole town was gathered at the door.  He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

He cured many.  He didn't cure them all. 

It's important for all of us to remember this.  The Lord cured dozens, maybe even hundreds of people while on earth, but He didn't cure millions.  Why not? 

Just yesterday, I read an article in the Dallas Morning News (Saturday, page 17a) about the Vatican setting up free showers and shave for the homeless.  The goal of this initiative is to help the homeless find a place to clean up, freshen up and feel human again.  Pope Francis' chief almsgiver, Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, said the project is needed since homeless people are often shunned for their appearance and smell.  Each homeless man will receive a kit including a towel, change of underwear, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, razor and shaving cream.  Even volunteer barbers will be available for a haircut on Mondays.    

I liked it, but then my pessimistic side broke through and I said to myself, "There are thousands of homeless in Rome!  This isn't going to change much at all."

But I'm wrong.  This will change everything!  This project will inspire other churches to go out and do the same exact thing. 

Why didn't Christ heal all the people?  Because He demands from every Christian Church to go out and do what He did:  heal the brokenhearted.

Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted (Ps 147:1). 

Who are the brokenhearted?  Job spoke, saying:  "Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?...  I shall not see happiness again."

This is a scary thought.  This verse is frightening.  Will I ever be happy?  Will I ever be happy again?  What stripes us of our happiness?  The Greek sage, Epictetus, once said:  "There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will." 

I get what he is saying, honestly.  But this is more like a "book" answer than a real life answer!  Epictetus sounds more like a robot than a human being.

What does it take to be happy? 

1.  Healthiness.  CVS likes to say that "health is everything."  Well, I wouldn't go that far.  It's not everything, but it is important.  Our physical, mental and emotional health are essential to happiness.  We need to take care of ourselves, especially our body and mind.  We need to feed them with healthy things.  We need to exercise.  We cannot take our bodies for granted! 

Case in point:  Job.  

In the book of Job, we read that Job was stricken with horrific sores that covered his entire body.  I find it amazing that his poor health didn't cause him to shout at God!  This is important.  Job never lost his faith, even while his health began to fail him.  He kept a good positive attitude until the unimaginable happened. 

2.  Having the essentials.  Although Job was seriously ill, I think what finally broke the man was the loss of his children:  seven boys and three girls.  This killed Job!   

We need loved ones.  We need the essentials.  We need to have a place to rest and a family to go to.  We need to have a place we can call "house" and a family we can call "home."  We need to have family and friends.  If we lose our loved ones, then we have lost everything.  Job lost everything. 

And still, he refused to curse God.

3.  Love.  Most people understand the importance of having good health and having the essentials.  But is this all we need?  Is this all it takes to be happy?  Absolutely not!

We need more.  We need the sick.  We need prisoners.  We need the hungry and the thirsty.  We need the mother-in-laws and father-in-laws of the world and rebellious children.  Why?  Because giving and forgiving are essential to human happiness. 

We need to love and be loved and to love and beloved means to forgive and give. 

To ask the question "Will I ever see happiness again?" is really to ask the question "Does anyone still love me?"  This is a scary question.  This is a frightening thought.   We all fear for our health.  We all fear for our security.  But we will collapse into deep sadness if we ever feel we are no longer lovable.

Good health is essential.  Having the essentials (like food, water and shelter) is essential.  But if I do not have love - the willingness to give and/or forgive - then I am nothing.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite readings from the book of Job. It's the time old question of human suffering. If God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent wouldn't he know about human sufferinig (omniscience), be able to cure it (omnipotence), and want it eradicated for the good of all (omnibenevolent)? Many atheist friends use the problem of human suffering to argue against case for God. When a close friend or family member is diagnosed with a terminal illness, isn't one of our first questions, "Why? How could God let this happen?"

    And why does God heal some of the sick and not others? It could be as Father Alfonse says a challenge to the rest of us to respond with compassion and love -- a call to heal the brokenhearted. That's certainly one answer.

    But it maybe that God doesn't heal all of us so he can show his solidarity with those that do suffer. Through his suffering on the cross, he uniquely unites himself with us--reminding us that we are not alone -- that the Son of God knows what we are going through. And if we strive for holiness, we can unite our suffering with his. We can suffer well as St. John Paul II did.

    And what is happiness? Aquinas writes, "For happiness is the perfect good, which lulls the appetite altogether; else it would not be the last end, if something yet remained to be desired."

    Happiness is Christ on the Cross -- Love personified.
    Happiness is sacrifice for one another--wanting and acting for the good of the other ("Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.") Happiness is forgiveness ("Father forgive them, they know not what they do.") Happiness is Jesus Crhist.


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