Me: Jesus, can we talk?
Jesus: Sure, we can talk anytime. What's up?
Me: What's up? What's up? Today's Gospel is "what's up." I can't make heads or tails of the whole thing. Just when I think I know You, everything changes!
Jesus: What? What did I say?
Me: Okay look, over and over I have been told things like Jesus is the Prince of Peace and the Devil is the author of division. Every "You" lover shouts "peace!" Heck, sorry, I've even heard You say things like, "blessed are the peace makers." Then there are the songs, "Peace is flowing like a river", "Make me a channel of your peace", and on and on...
Jesus: So what was your question?
Me: Are you the Prince of Peace or a divider?
Me: I thought you might say that. What does it mean? This whole scripture passage today is filled with contradictions - fire/baptism, peace/division, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law/mother-in-law getting along with daughter-in-law!?
Jesus: Does fire consume what it burns?
Jesus: And as it consumes it, does it not provide fuel for the fire which in turn gives light and heat? And would you rather have My fire cast upon the earth or the devil's fire? Where my fire burns and purifies giving light and heat, his destroys.
Me: Okay, I get the point. But what about Baptism?
Jesus: I desired that baptism in order that the spark of faith might strike the world and the wind of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost might fan it into flame.
Me: Cool, I never thought of it that way. But what about the peace and division thing?
Jesus: Can division often bring peace? And can peace often bring division? When one is divided or separated from sin do they not find peace? And when one finds peace can those who do not yet understand this peace often divide or separate from the one who is at peace? I did not come to bring peace to the world but peace to the soul. I did not come to divide the soul but to divide the soul from the world.
Me: Do you always answer questions with questions?
Jesus: In your mind I do.
Me: Why do you always have my voice when we talk?
Jesus: If I didn't, what do think would happen? Really?
Me: Yeah, your right. Hey, what about the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law thing? I mean really, You sure called that one right even if the division isn't because of You.
Jesus: Let's not go there...who knows who might be reading this....
Going DeeperOf course this post is a little tongue-in-cheek but I feel like I often have these "conversations" with the Lord about things. Very often they are more than conversations and turn to heated debates, I should probably talk to a priest about that.
If you are interested in deeper meditations and a real "conversation" with the Lord (not in the format above) I would highly recommend the In Conversation with God library of books published by Scepter. This set of books covers the entire liturgical year and has at least 3 meditations for the readings each day. Divided in this way, this library of books offers the reader 3 years of meditations for the readings given to us by the Church.
Many of the books may also be purchased individually.
How to get better at prayer.
- Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
- Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go. Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
- Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days. Mark off the days on your calendar. If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
- Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him. I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development. God is the same way. Spend time praying as best you can. Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation. Don't forget to listen
- Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life. It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
- Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer Primer, Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer, Time for God, The Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
(This is an affiliate link. By clicking on this link I may earn money by your purchase. I do not recommend anything I haven't read or used personally and believe is of value to you the reader. Thank you)