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 18, 2015

2 Mc 7:1, 20-31 Nothing Is More Offensive Than Truth

Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


It is difficult to contain one’s admiration for the martyrs in Maccabees. They must endure the destruction of their religion and customs by the “culturally superior” Hellenistic Greeks. In a move of brilliant propaganda—an art form that the Greeks perfected along with many others—these occupiersinstalled gymnasiums to lure the respectable Jews away from their Hebrew way of life. These school/athletic centers replaced the temple and synagogues as the community center, and in a close-knit community like those of the Jews, this had huge implications. Instead of prayer, fasting, and reading the Torah to build up their souls, the HellenizedJews would build up their bodies and connections with influential people. 

This is the way cultural upheaval starts. Then comes the persecution.

Of course, one might wonder why a culture that has obviously won the war of ideas would resort to torturing the few kooks left behind. Shouldn’t the acceptance of every class, from rich to poor, of every major ethnic group, from Greek to Scythian, suffice as proof that the better customs, values, and religion prevailed? What does it matter that a few Jews refused to eat pork?

Consider what Antiochus did the first six brothers as punishment for not eating pork and what he offered the seventh as a reward for eating pork. This obviously bothered him deeply. And if the youngest son accepted? Would this make any difference for this King? Hardly, he would just seek other easy victims to torture and kill. But why?

Because those who without the truth are deeply insecure. They believe what they believe not because something is true, but because it is easy. This creates huge doubts about truth and meaningaltogether. Catholics take this for granted, but they shouldn’t because this problem plagues the majority of people today. The propaganda that comes from this situation might work to subdue newly conquered peoples, but it also works to reassure the occupiers that their falsehoods are true. 

Except that it isn’t true. The existence of saints willing to die for the truth only reinforces this nasty fact of life. The Maccabees enjoyed something Antiochus and countless other Greeks could never enjoy. That had a real religion based on a real God who did real things. They had a hope in something eternal and wonderful. Antiochus, for all his riches and political power, had only lies. 

Although he doesn’t intend it, the man who possesses the truth makes the person who possesses a lie extremely angry. His very life shines light on the nothingness of the other person. The true man may not even notice that he has disturbed the false man to the core of his being, and this makes things all the worse. His presence completely ruins the false man’s narrative that there is no truth and nothing worth living or dying for. The true man simply asserts that God is, and those who have turned their backs have failed miserably. 

And this insecurity, this resentment, this obsessive rage will recur again and again. It led to the Romans persecuting harmless Christians for centuries, many of whom served in important positions and paid taxes. It led King Henry VIII to kill his most trusted and competent minister Thomas More for not consenting to his wedding. It led to the French Revolutionaries killing innocent priests and religious who served the poor that they were supposedly trying to liberate. Did the Romans, King Henry, or the French have bigger enemies? Yes, much more threatening ones, yet they felt scared by the ones who lived in peace. 

It is the same with militant atheists, fanatical Muslims, and obsessive modernists today. These groups can stand anything but the truth. They can explain away every evil, and indeed brag about their tolerance, but they have nothing with which to overcome the good man or woman with faith in the true God. Sharia law can be declared, churches completely vacated and turned into tourist shops, and all the families be utterly dissolved—all this would mean little, if one little yokel in Nebraska attended a Latin Mass. Antiochus could host the greatest barbeque in the kingdom serving every pork product, feeding millions of hungry people, and making a name for himself as the best leader in the ancient world—but a family of pious Jews would ruin this by simply staying home.

The persecution will come even after the “culture wars” end, because falsehood will never make a person secure. Those still holding hope in God should continue to do so. No matter how crazy or “extreme” they may be, they have something infinitely greater than the masses, and deep in their heart of hearts, their enemies know it.

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