I had looked forward to a retreat this weekend, but at the last minute it was cancelled. Well, I did need the time to start the preparations for Doah, visitors, BBQ after baptism, and so on. On Saturday afternoon, though, I was able to take a few hours for contemplation and just "hanging" with God -- my own, private, mini-retreat, right here on top of the hill we live on. It was a great respite and much needed. Now I am ready to face the week with renewed energy.
This week, as in the last couple of weeks, I continued to read Matthew 7. I continue to spend a lot of time on this particular chapter; it is so rich. The next set of verses are well known ones, but they continue to tell us something valuable. Here are the verses; I am sure they are equally familiar to you, too:
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.Reading: Matthew7:15-20
Meditation: The Catholic magisterium is certainly coming into my readings this month very frequently. Sure, let's beware of false prophets, but how do we know who they are? I imagine that many good people over the centuries have been led astray by those who claim to speak for God, on behalf of God, or about God -- yet are focused on something quite different (nowadays that would probably be money). While some "prophets" are clearly into money-making and not into sharing the gospel in the way God intended, in some other cases, the questioning takes a more subtle turn. Fr. Thomas Dubay warns about illuminism and thinking that we are so smart that we can come up with our own answers, particularly in those cases where the answers that have been given to us by God are uncomfortable. Here is where members of the Catholic Church have an advantage: it is a little more difficult to be led astray because the Church generally thoroughly investigates claims of "prophets."
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for sending us St. Matthew: such wonderful words of guidance. I will, of course, also ask God to help me stay aware, and I will repent for each time I have come to conclusions on my own without seeking God's help. As always, I will thank God for watching over me in all instances, false prophets and everything else.
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.