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!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mt 7:7-12 PRAYING: What Are You Asking For?

Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


Jesus said to his disciples: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

As we all know, the goal of Lent is to become a new person, and that person is JESUS CHRIST.  And I want it to stick for good!

Yes, I want to be as loving, as noble, as honorable, as wonderful and as brave as the Lord.  This is my lifetime goal.  Unfortunately, my sins are getting in the way of my goal.  I need to work harder at it.  I need to practice more.  Practice makes perfect. 

And what exactly is it that I - we - have to make perfect?  Our prayer life! 

We need to practice how to pray, and the best way to practice how to pray is to learn from the experts, the saints.

One of the most beautiful prayers I have ever read, studied, reflected, dissected and prayed comes from St. Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916):

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

And because He knew how to pray, St. Charles de Foucauld knew how to live...and how to die.  Not long after writing (and praying) this, he was martyred in the Sahara desert. 

"Pray as if everything depended on God!"  - this is only part of the old adage.  The rest of it..."Work as if everything depended on you" is necessary, absolutely necessary, at least for a healthy psychology and faith.  Otherwise, we could easily become like so many spoiled and lazy kids, completely dependent on our parents.  I know.  I have seen it with my own eyes.

Kid:  "Hey Mom!  Can you get me some milk?" 
Mom: "Sure, honey.  Of course, baby."

Kid:  "Hey Mom!  Can you find me my brain?"
Mom: "Sure, honey.  Where did you think you left it?"

No wonder why God prefers to go by "Father", and not so much "Mother" or even "Grandfather." 

Kid: "Hey Dad!  Can you get me some milk?"
Dad:  "You have two hands, get it yourself."

Is this any different from those who pray for an end to war and hunger? 

Kid:  "God, please put an end to terrorism."
God:  "I did! But some people refuse to believe in me and obey my commandment:  'Love your enemies.'"

Kid:  "Hey God!  When will you put an end to poverty?
God: "You have two hands, two feet, two eyes and two ears.  What are you doing about it?"   

Of course, there is no denying the obvious; that is, those things in life that are apparently out of our control, such as illness, accidents and natural disasters.  But I still believe there is more we can do than we are doing, at least in terms of minimizing the pain, suffering and damage.  No one in their right mind can deny that greed plays a big role in the lack of public safety, and that insurance costs and medical bills scare families away from proper medical care and primary care physicians. 

There is more we can do, without a doubt.  And we can argue that there is more God can do.  But what is God's goal for us, for me? 

A long life?  A happy life? 

I don't think so.  Based on the evidence taken from His Son and from His saints, I think God wants us to be HOLY.

HOLY???  Hmmm...

Look, I don't think it is possible to be truly "happy" without being holy, and I don't think it is possible to be truly "healthy" (physically, emotionally, psychologically) without being holy.

Hence, I think that holiness holds the key to unlocking and ending the pursuit of happiness and healthiness.  I also think that holiness is much better defined than happiness or healthiness!

So what are you going to be asking for this Lent?  What are you seeking?  What doors will you be knocking on?  

Maybe it should be what the psalmist asked for centuries ago:  "A clean heart create for me, O God; give me back the joy of your salvation" (Ps. 51:12a,14a).

Jesus wasn't setting his disciples up for failure and to become spoiled rotten kids when He told them, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." 

He had prepared them well.  He knew what they would be asking for before they even asked, for He had just taught them how to pray, and pray well.


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  2. Fr. Alfonse

    All your posts are AWESOME, but today's post was exceptionally great!

    I'm so grateful for your gift of writing!


  3. I have never heard St. Charles de Foucault's prayer. Absolutely amazing and just what I needed to start each day. It immediately reminded me of Christ in the garden of Gesthsemane - a complete abadonment of Christ's will to his Father. Thank you, Father Alfonse.

    "Practice makes perfect."
    The phrase uttered by every music teacher and coach around! Dr. Suzuki, founder of the Suzuki method of violin pedagogy, was really into repetition. Rather than say, "practice makes perfect," he used to say that "practice makes it easier." We may never achieve perfection in music, but through practice we make the music easier to play. The same can be said of our spiritual exerices. The more we pray the easier it is. It becomes a positive habit.


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