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!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Luke 9:18-22 What you see and don’t see…

Luke 9:18-22  What you see and don’t see…
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 
It was bound to happen.  After spending three years with His disciples, Peter finally figured it out.  Actually, the moment had arrived for him to figure it out.  The Holy Spirit had enlightened his heart and mind to know that Jesus is God. 
Now, all the Apostles know who He is.  The Word is out.  Actually, the Word has finally materialized.  What I find remarkable is how long it took them to realize it.  Moms and dads:  Isn’t it remarkable how long it takes for your son or daughter to figure out that you truly love them???  [Sorry, I had to throw that in there!]
The point I am trying to make is the following:  Although the Apostles spent days and weeks with Jesus; although they saw him and heard him constantly, it was not enough to know Him.  It still took the Heavenly Father to reveal Him.  Faith is a grace.  And no matter how often the Apostles saw the Lord’s face, it still took the Father’s grace to reveal His Son to them. 
The same holds true today.  No matter how hard a Christian tries to convert someone to the faith, it still takes God’s grace to reveal His face to them.  We convert no one.  We simply draw them closer to the Lord.  It is the Lord, and only the Lord, that can make the blind see, the deaf hear and the dumb believe.
And just when we think we know Him, He slips away from us.  The Lord will not be controlled.  Unlike us, He will not allow His friends to distort Him, confuse Him, demean Him, twist Him or change Him.  He will not be manipulated.  He will not allow Himself to be placed in a test tube and experimented on.  Peter discovers this quickly, and is reminded ferociously to let God be God.  Let the Lord do what He must do: “the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” 

Although Christ did not allow others to manipulate Him, He did allow them to define Him.  When His enemies tried to twist Him, He did not change.  When they tried to bend Him and break Him, He stood tall.  Though Judas' betrayed Him, He would not betray his people.  He accepted Peter's denial as he accepted his sorrow.  He was saddened by Thomas' doubt but never doubted His Apostles.    
What you see is what you get.  How can I understand the Lord?  Get a bigger brain!  Sorry, but it is true.  Can you fit the entire ocean into a lake?  Can you fit the entire world’s knowledge into your head?  Every day is a learning day.  Every day we are learning more and more about the world we had nothing to do with.  So how can I believe in the Lord?  Use the brain that God gave to you.  But that is not enough.  For starters, you must receive the Lord’s grace.  How does one receive grace?  By asking for it.
What you see is what you get, right?  So does that mean “What you don’t see is what you don’t get?”  For some people it is.
Yesterday I got into a debate with an atheist.  I published one of his comments and responded to it.  But then I refused to publish anymore because the atheist turned into a Ranter [A Ranter is someone who spews out his thoughts without thinking.]  In his recent comment (which I did not publish), he wrote:  "People are animals.  Read a biology book for a change."  Ahh yes, quick to judge…If he only knew how many science books I had to read in my life, especially while I was earning my Master of Science degree at RIT!  But maybe his advice to me reveals his limitations.  Maybe that’s his problem, that he never read anything other than a biology book.  And of course, if that is all you know about being human, then you might begin to believe that that’s all there is to being a man or a woman.  What you read is what you know, right?  But if he ever picked up a book of poetry, then he would begin to see some human beings as more than animals.  He would see them as poets.  And if he picked up some music and played it, then he would see some human beings as more than flesh and bones,  he would see them as musicians. And if he ever picked up the Bible and read it, then maybe he would see Christianity as different from other religions; and God as different from “god”; and Christians as evolved human beings who love their enemies and forgive them seven times seventy-times.  If he did any of these things, then he might very well begin to see humans as aliens more than as animals.  And he would be right!
What you see is what you get.  What you don’t see is what you don’t get! 
For the longest time, the Apostles only saw a man, Jesus, standing next to them.  What they couldn’t get is how He could love them so much.  Eventually they did, and were blinded by the light.


  1. Father Alfonse,

    Like to see you mention this in your homily this weekend and see what kind of reaction you get. I must admit I had a few chuckles with it. You say what you see is what you get. Maybe what's underneath what you see is better than what you get. Like a person might not look very good but maybe they have a heart of gold.

    God Bless You

  2. Well, my homilies are not at all like this blog and for a good reason. I don't want to force anyone to listen to me for so long and I prefer to speak about Christ and nothing else. :)

  3. Father Alfonse - I don't think your atheism themes would go along too well with the short-homily-requesting St. Monica parishioners. You don't want to draw people away but lure them into the church. I agree speaking about Christ and nothing else is wise. Leave the controversy to this blog. :)

    "People are animals. Read a biology book for a change." LOL! I burst out laughing when I read this. Keep in mind, Father, that as long as you continue to focus on the atheist you are inviting the ranters and flames. But I know you enjoy the debates. With all of your responsibilities and engagements, why on earth care what an atheist thinks? Why spend valuable time in heated discussion? Maybe the more we ignore them they won't have any fuel to fire things up? Of course, our lovely media throws the atheist antics in our face. It's hard to ignore.

    Like so many others, I prefer reading about Christ and the positive influence he has in our lives. In many ways I feel sorry for an atheist. All I can do is pray for his/her conversion. I suspect many of the atheists posting on the blog are young and inexperienced. Maybe maturity will allow them to finally see the Light of Christ. In the meantime, allow God to do his handy work. Leave out the atheism drama!


  4. Jennifer: Although it seems like guys like Nietzsche are irrelevant. They are not. There is a professor at Princeton University who teaches Bioethics. His name is Peter Singer, an atheist philosopher who is an advocate for infanticide (at some circumstances). Can you believe that this guy is teaching our bright minds of the future? I wish you were right...that these professors are a waste of time. But they are not. Their ideas find there way in our laws, on our streets, and in our lives.
    I have a great deal of respect for Nietzsche because he was an honest atheist. He said what most atheists would never say because they haven't thought of what it actually means to be an atheist. Most atheists stop thinking about atheism once they say they don't believe in God. He didn't. He kept on going. I give him credit for it. He had the guts to say it...and then went mad. But at least he said it before he went totally mad.

  5. Father Alfonse, I'm familiar with Peter Singer. He wrote the classic "Animal Liberation" which helped spark PETA's animal rights work. (I've read excerpts from the text. Interesting read. I always thought of "Animal Liberation" as a sort of bible for Animal Rights. ). How ironic intellectuals like him care more about the animals surviving unharmed than human beings. It's become standard practice for uber liberal profs with hidden agendas to teach our impressionable youth. Why is this? Why are parents spending thousands of dollars on education that doesn't integrate God, good morals, and a balance outlook on life? Why aren't we doing something about the problem? I'm thankful I received a solid, conservative college education. Even if I did attend one of the more liberal universities I'd figure out if what I was learning was harmful or not. I'd find it interesting to study a different perspective, but it wouldn't change my relationship with God or my opinions. (Interesting.....My mother always leaned toward me attending UC Berkley if we still lived in CA! Talk about liberal, atheistic, and progressive.)

    "Most atheists stop thinking about atheism once they say they don't believe in God." What a twist! What an irony! The one thing an atheist loathes the most (God) somehow changes them. Love it.

    Thanks for the discussion. :)


  6. It is in face quite interesting and sad how many of these well known athiest philosophers end up going mad and take their own lives. Catholic Radio ran a story about this this past Wednesday and it was quite shocking.

  7. You acknowledged Nietzsche and his honesty. That is the first virtue for every single human! Once we are honest with ourselves and others we can move forward….. with whatever. But when we dodge honesty in order to be right, we show our true colors. As long as we can discuss on this basis I will write. Once you say any condescending words, you know, poor atheist, I’m outta here! I won't go that low because I believe that we influence each other in a positive way....Universal Wisdom brought this blog to me.... my neighbor told me about you. I am an atheist... I believe in Universal Wisdom but not in a God as you do. Let me show you my inexperience. Beauty to me is a flower, a rock, nature, animals, other persons as a poem not as words but as acts and adventures, acceptance of spontaneity not as a sin but also well thought out plans; forgiveness, no revenge but a lesson to be learned somewhere, somehow. The right and wrong's that you believe in are all temporal. Universal Wisdom only lives in eternity. Time shuts out eternity. Poems connote the beauty of this life. I don’t believe that I have to live for a heaven as you do; I live here on earth in every present moment that Universal Wisdom brings me. This is where it’s at. Not in the past or future. You and I are mysteries of this earth and Universal Wisdom is trying to talk to us constantly revealing these mysteries. We have this wisdom inside of us right now – heaven and hell are within us, as well as all the gods….as magnified dreams within us…. We are standing on a whale fishing for minnows! Do we get it???? It’s magnificent! It’s total beauty! In your language, I am Jesus. I have that potential. He is not my God, but the potential that I can become. I am a co-creator with Universal Wisdom. One of the biggest challenges I have is discussions with Christians!!! They are always right and I am wrong. You say that we aren't honest, but most Christians are not open to my philosophy. They just say that I am wrong because I do not fit into their box. It's very frustrating and seems like a double standard.

    You don’t have great jokes but I think you’re trying. So here’s one: Eisenhower walked into a room full of computers. He asked the question: “Is there a God?” After all the lights and noises ceased about 5 minutes later, the computer said, “Now there is!”


    Also, why do you think Nietzsche went mad?

  8. The right and wrongs you believe in are all temporal. Exactly...for an atheist. Which is very honest of you to say. Because most won't. It's hard for them to admit this; that is, that one day, women may be considered a wrong and therefore terminated. Or that one day, men might be considered superior and fattened like calf. Or that one day, life might be considered in terms of quality rather than in terms of dignity. You are absolutely logical. And quite wrong. For to live not knowing whether or not I will loved in the future or hated; a hero or a villan; a champion of rights or a manipulator of rights can only happen if man is the one who determines what is right and what is wrong. And like we have seen in history...that is very scary.
    Why do I think Nietzsche went mad? Because he lived what he believed...and what he believed was utter madness.

  9. The rights and wrongs I believe in are all eternal, not temporal! This is exactly what I am trying to say. What are you referring to? Is beauty, nature, land, animals and people not eternal? The Universe gave them to us to be able to live in eternity right here and now. We can look at them and USE them in this temporal world or we can live with them, in them and through them to understand the mysteries we are as eternal entities. Also, I never said that man is the one who determines right and wrong!!!!! We have natural law in our DNA! The Universe is inside us guiding us to right and wrong… just as you say your God does. I just don’t believe in a personal God. A higher being, yes. Why do you put words in my mouth? See what I mean about Christians? You have to win! You do not fight fair – or logically! Why did I think you were any different?
    This is exactly why Nietzsche went mad!

  10. Ruth, you are correct in that I did not read what you wrote correctly. Unfortunately you are wrong in judging me so quickly. It's hard to manipulate what you wrote when the conversation is public and easily verified. So take it easy.
    Right now I'm having a dinner with a couple. But I will respond once I have a chance to do so and after I read your entire statement carefully. One thing that will make our conversation a little difficult is understanding what you mean by heaven and hell. Also, it is amazing that you would claim that I think that right and wrong is temporal. It is not.

  11. Wait a minute….let me get this straight. I am wrong in judging you so quickly when you were the one who responded so quickly without giving me the decency to read through my response (with haste) and respond yourself as you deem vigilant? Forgive me Father, for I know not what I do! Have you ever thought of going into politics? You are very good at dodging questions and answering with fluff the viewpoints which you want to stress…. publicly…. I’m just saying!
    OK. Thank nature for wine! Heaven and hell are ALL our choices that we make here on this earth. I have the potential to live hell or live heaven while I am alive on this earth. I can live by the laws of nature and live in bliss or I can choose to live against nature and live in hell now in this body. I will reap the consequences either way. It is not going to be in the life after, it is going to be now. Life after this life is just a continuation of this life. It is not heaven or hell…. in this sense. It is just a continuation of the life I have chosen NOW. This is what I mean by heaven and hell.
    So now it’s your turn. In order to be perfectly fair, answer only one question at a time. Don’t go off on your own tangent without answering mine. Deal?
    So, tell me more what you think about right and wrong not being temporal but eternal.

  12. "Ruth"...excuse me? Who said I did not read through your response? Who said that I read it "with haste". You...and only you did. I said "careful", which, by the way, is the only description you don't use when referring to what I said. Interesting...careful is not the same as haste[ful]. Sorry, but I will not allow you to put your perceptions inside my actions. If you don't want me to put words in your mouth, then be so kind not to put your preconceived notions inside my statements. There's a simple solution to this. JUST USE MY WORDS. And I will use yours. Enough said...I hope...otherwise, I will never be able to address each of your points, one by one, baby steps, so that we understand each other.
    First Point: "You acknowledged Nietzsche and his honesty. That is the first virtue for every single human!"
    Actually "Ruth" honesty is not the first virtue. At least that is the case for Plato, Aristotle and every great philosopher that I have ever heard of that came up with a list of virtues. And these, individual, by the way, were not Christians. Neither would I even consider honesty the "first". So I have to ask you how did you come up with it?
    I will tell you why I disagree with you. Before you can honest with another, you have to have sense of justice. Before you can be honest, you have to be courageous. After all, "Ruth", to be honest one must be courageous. It's not always easy to tell the truth. It's not always easy to admit one's mistakes. It takes courage. So for me, the foundation and root for all virtues is courage; that is, moral courage which means the willingness to act on your convictions even if it costs you something, such as convenience or social acceptance.
    Now, of course, I was not the first to come up with this. But I do agree with it. Honesty is extremely important, but there is a reason why it is not included among the four virtues: justice, wisdom, courage and moderation. How can one be honest, if one is not wise, or just or moderate or courageous? I would like to know how you determined that this is "the FIRST (my emphasis) virtue for every human." I explained to you why I disagree that this is the first. I welcome your response.

    That's the first point. Once I get your response, then of course I will examine it and respond to it. And then we can move on. :)

  13. Oh...and by the way...I can't believe I am going to defend Nietzsche from a so-called atheist "Ruth". [You see, I can actually agree with some atheists!!!]...But "Ruth", if you really believet that Nietzsche went mad because of people like me, then you basically justified every madman that has ever existed, especially Hitler. Did he go mad because of people like the Jews? Is this what you are saying? I hope not. Because of Nietzsche went mad because of Christians like me. Then are you saying that Hitler went mad because of someone's Jewish grandfather?
    Nietzsche, like Hitler (another atheist) did not go mad because of others. He went mad because they actually lived what they believed...and it was utter madness.

  14. “You are right”. “I am not an atheist”. “I thought you would gather that with my first post, definitely by the second.”
    Also, by not being honest does not make me dishonest. I wanted to debate you because a person who I tremendously respect, but who says he is an atheist was arguing these same words to me. He is one of the most spiritual people I know. There are some things that I can clearly see that are not logical in his arguments but I wanted to pose them to you - me taking his side to see your answers. I did not mean to be lacking in honesty – it was just another way of debating. I just didn’t think you would react this way. My apologies. It won’t happen again!! What else can I say? I’m sorry!
    Also “Father” I will NEVER even try to compete with you in your studies of the great religions, the great philosophers, the great thinkers, the great whatevers….. So you can let your guard down. The ONLY way that I came up with honesty as a first virtue is by being a mom. As I struggled every single day as a young mom with how to rear these children in this day and age, now teenagers, all I prayed to God was, “I don’t care if they get into drugs, sex, or rock n’roll, please let me be a part of their struggles, let me struggle with them .” Many years later, one night after prayers, I began drilling them, “Did you brush your teeth?” ….as they were already tucked into their bunk beds. “Yes Mom” resounded from both rooms. I knew for a fact that some of them didn’t. As I was walking away from their rooms I realized, “The only thing I was doing was encouraging them to lie”. That’s it!!!! That is when I realized that honesty is more important in ANY relationship than any other virtue: did it take courage, wisdom, justice or moderation for me? No. It was first a revelation, only because I wanted the truth…. first. Then, and only then did it take courage to act on that and tell them: “I really don’t care if you brush your teeth or not. I only care about your honesty, to yourselves and to me.” It has been about 4 or 5 years that I have been repeating this to myself and kids. My 14 year-old developmentally delayed son came home last Thursday and told me how he handled a particular situation with his peers and coach. I was taken aback! I asked him how he came to this conclusion, how did he choose these words to tell his coach. He said,” Mom, once I am truthful with myself, the rest is easy.”
    I only learn from experiences now, not philosophies.
    “Ruth”, if you really believe that Nietzsche went mad because of people like me, then you basically justified every madman that has ever existed, especially Hitler.
    I’m sorry. I just don’t see the connection. As “another atheist” said, Not all atheist are alike. So I add, not all madmen are alike.
    I know I’ve taken up enough of your time. I know you’ve got better things to do. You do not have to respond… I get it.


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