I did move on a little in Matthew. I made it to the end of Chapter 5, where I found the following well-known verses:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Reading: Matthew 5
Meditation: I think that one of the most difficult things I have had to accept is that God "sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Telling me to forgive my mother, who was highly abusive to me, and saying that she lives in grace was a difficult thing for me to hear. Forgiving her, tracking her down, and calling her after ten years of being out of touch took all the strength and trust of God that I could muster. But I am glad I did that six years ago.
We have all needed God's grace. Is it any more fair that God forgive me than that God forgive the person who hurt me? I don't think so, but there was a time that I thought it unfair. I have, though, come to understand that our concept of fairness (getting what one's deserve, equal treatment, and the like) is quite different from God's sense of fairness (grace for all). I am glad that my mother lives in grace because it means that I, too, live in grace, just as do all of God's creatures.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning/afternoon. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for His boundless grace. I will, of course, also ask God to help me to avoid imposing my own concept of fairness, and I will repent for each time I have failed to love all of God's creatures as God will have me love them. As always, I will thank God for loving me, even when I am the least deserving of love. 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.