Back to Hosea, literally. I only inched forward by a few verses and am still finding lessons for today's in the mistakes of the past. (I suppose that is important, given the saying that those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it.) This week's special verse is 9:10:
10 “When I found Israel,Reading: Hosea 9: 10
it was like finding grapes in the desert;
when I saw your ancestors,
it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.
But when they came to Baal Peor,
they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol
and became as vile as the thing they loved.
Meditation: I think we have all seen the dark side of love when we love whom and what we should not. Alcoholism, drug addictions, theft, crimes, and the like proceed from a dark love. There are lighter forms of dark love as well. Anything that pulls us away from the sublime and into the profane is a form of dark love -- light addictions (shopping, eating, etc.), spending so much time in playing lesser human games that we forget to spend time in sublime play with God, hanging out with pals at the mall or the local bar rather than lingering in any spot with our Greater Companion.
God has given us 24 hours a day. In addition to prayer, some of that time we need to work; some of it we need to sleep; some of it we need to use to help others; some of it we need to spend in human companionship and play. All of that is fine and given to us, but none of it need to take us away from God, who can be present to us in all of it, not just in the formal prayer time.
God will, in fact, be present to us in all of it if God is Whom we love. If we do not follow in the path of the Israelis and fall in love over and over with Baal (or any modern representation of Baal, which can be anything other than God).
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for His incredible patience for all of us who stray and stray again. I will ask forgiveness for any time I have loved anything or anyone more than God, even for a fleeting moment. I will also ask God to increase my ability to love in general and the godhead in specific. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.