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, May 11, 2015

Jn 15:26-16:4a There God is my God

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
(Click here for readings)


Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning."
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus confirms what many of us already know: to be a Christian today is to face strong opposition. Professing the Christian faith throughout time has landed countless people into persecution, oppression, and humiliation. It is all too easy to turn on the news, see that ISIS has killed another ten Christians, and lose heart. How could we not? However, we must remember the flip side of today’s Gospel: God can always bring beauty out of tragedy. Just as Jesus died on the cross for the salvation of mankind, so too can our Christian brothers and sisters change hearts through their suffering.
A few months ago, an article appeared on Twitter following a round of beheadings by ISIS. Long story short, ISIS imprisoned twenty Coptic Christians in Egypt and then beheaded them on camera in an attempt to frighten their political enemies. However, ISIS made an error: one of the men was not actually a Christian, but instead had been indiscriminately rounded up with some Christians around him. The ISIS fighter came up to him and asked him to reject his faith in Jesus Christ—a task which should have been simple, given that he was not a Christian. Even so, the faith of his fellow Egyptians moved him to a final conversion. His last words were recorded as, “their God is my God.”  But, thanks be to God, these Christians are not the only ones who are changing hearts in the face of persecution.
Just yesterday, Pope Francis met with President Fidel Castro of Cuba. Pope Francis has been in the news lately for helping to negotiate a deal that would lift its long-standing trade embargo with the United States. But throughout history, Cuban leadership has been no friend of the Catholic Church—for the first thirty-three years of its existence as a communist nation, it sanctioned the persecution of Christians and all other people of faith. Marxist communism is a form of government that has proved to be hostile towards religion in all of its modern applications. However, Pope Francis was able to speak to Castro in his native Spanish, and it is reported that Castro said, “If the Pope continues to speak like this, sooner or later I will start praying again and I will return to the Catholic Church -- and I'm not saying this jokingly." Some might say that Castro is just playing politics by saying this, and they may be right to a degree. However, Castro risks ridicule and intense pressure from his party by associating himself with the Catholic Church; therefore, I find it highly unlikely that he would make such a supportive statement if he had not truly been moved by the virtue of Pope Francis.
Now, the vast majority of us are never going to face ISIS or communist leaders. We will probably never be called upon to defend our faith in such a radical way. However, we must not forget that there is a constant need to defend our faith in today’s society. That’s not to say that we should pick fights with everybody who disagrees with us in passing comments or day-to-day conversation—that would make us quite bitter. Instead, we should practice practical ways of showing the world what our faith is all about. Someone says something about the Church that you don’t like? Smile, and politely say that you believe in the Catholic faith. Someone is acting in a way that offends you? Pray for them. Someone makes you to feel inferior or unintelligent for being a Christian? Keep going about your business with joy. Practice virtue. Don’t be bitter. Smile. The witness that you will give through persevering in your faith is invaluable in changing the hearts of others.
At the heart of persecution, I believe, are the frustration, negativity, skepticism, and hatred that come from not knowing the Lord; Jesus even said, “They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.”  Most any convert from atheism will tell you that their period of denial was the unhappiest time of their life. Thus, as hard as it is to do, we must truly pray for those who persecute us. We must also give thanks that God has given us the grace to know Him, and have hope in our hearts that our response to negativity can achieve a good end.

1 comment:

  1. The story of persecuted Coptics doesn't receive nearly enough attention. Thanks for sharing that story. For far too long, so many strands of Islam have used intimidation to smother a faith born of love and hope. All too many millions of Muslims succumb to fear. Ignatius Press published a book recently about the painful journey of an Iraqi Muslim converting to Christianity and suffering every form of persecution imaginable. We should do more to protect and support these martyrs.

    Totalitarianism is no different in this regard. It subjects so many punishments on those who try to escape its influence. Despite the high flying rhetoric, it must resort to force to maintain its influence and power. Hence, converting the Castros and Cuba sounds nice until we realize the extent of oppression, murder, and corruption that they have inflicted upon their people for so many decades. They've impoverished their country in every way: materially, spiritually, and intellectually. And just at the point that West has a chance of seeing this rickety dictatorship finally die, Pope Francis revives hope in keeping it going by convincing Obama to donate billions in aid, return hostages, and completely forget that the Castros are monsters who snuff out their enemies like animals. To me, tough talk would be in order, not compromise.

    Although idealistic on the surface, Christianity is realistic at its core. The reality of fallen man must be acknowledged as we try to call upon Jesus to redeem our enemies.


Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.