Posted in CCC, CONTEMPLATIVE Prayer, MORNING Prayers

Contemplative Prayer – Making a Start

“Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No 2715).

Contemplation is the prayer of the heart and not of the mind.   Contemplative prayer may focus on a word or a saying or one may simply be in the presence of God.   It is the prayer of the listening heart.   The goal of contemplative prayer is to enter into the presence of God where there are no words, concepts or images.  It is the prayer of being in love.

HOW:  Before the Blessed Sacrament – sit or kneel.   Gaze into the Tabernacle or look into the Monstrance.   Be still.   Focus on your breathing.   Ask Mary to help you to pray. Pray to the Holy Spirit.   Then peacefully repeat a word or a phrase:   ‘Jesus; Jesus I love you; Jesus I trust in you; Father; Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’, etc.   Don’t continue to repeat the word or the words over and over again.   Only use the word or the phrase when your mind begins to wander.   Focus your gaze on the Eucharist.   Be open to whatever Jesus is asking of you.

At home – sit or kneel.   Close your eyes.   Again, be still and focus on your breathing.   Ask Mary to help you to pray.   Pray to the Holy Spirit.   As before, repeat a word or a phrase, rooted in the scripture, the creed, a prayer or an aspect of our Christian faith.   Do not repeat the word or words over and over again.   Remember to use the word only when your mind begins to wander.   Focus your gaze on the loving presence of God within you.  If you begin to feel embraced by God, be still and be silent.   Just allow the Holy Spirit to pray within you.

Jesuit Father William Johnston who has written much about contemplative prayer said: “Properly understood, contemplation shakes the universe, topples the powers of evil, builds a great society and opens the doors that lead to eternal life”.

What are the practical steps that we can take in order to incorporate into our busy lives daily contemplative prayer?

  • First of all, we need balance in our lives.   When was the last time that we enjoyed dinner with family and friends, or turned off our cell phone and refrained from checking our email at every moment?   Excessive work and travel, excessive involvement in sports and entertainment are tearing us apart.
  • Secondly, contemplation requires the capacity to be alone.   It is difficult to be alone in our contemporary society.   Even when we are alone, the noise of our own worries and fears drown out the silence of God’s voice.   Many people are incapable of being alone and they immediately feel an obsession to talk with someone on a cell phone or check their email.
  • We all need moments of solitude.   Spending a quiet time before the Eucharist, reading the Scriptures during a peaceful moment at home, taking tranquil walks through the woods or along the beach all are necessary for our soul.   In order to be with God, we must develop the ability to be alone with ourselves.

Excerpt from Fr James Farfaglia’s Homily on Contemplative Prayer

“The only trouble is that in the spiritual life there are no tricks and no shortcuts.   Those who imagine that they can discover spiritual gimmicks and put them to work for themselves usually ignore God’s will and his grace.”

“We do not want to be beginners.   But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life!”

“Hence monastic prayer, especially meditation and contemplative prayer, is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in Him whom we have found, who loves us, who is near to us, who comes to us to draw us to Himself.”

― Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer

THOMAS MERTON ON CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER NO 1

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 18 May

Thought for the Day – 18 May

St Pope John I tried to bring peace between king and emperor but succeeded also in endangering his own life.    So it seems to be lot of peacemakers.   However, he was willing to take the risk and so should we be in trying to reconcile others.   Sometimes, we succeed but oftentimes, both sides turn against the striving peacemaker.   That is the risk we take but that is also the challenge of being a Christian. “If you find that the world hates you, know it has hated me before you” (John 15:18). St Pope John I, please pray for us that we too might have your courage in the face of adversity and persecution.

st pope john I - pray for us - MY VERSION

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 18 May

One Minute Reflection – 18 May

“You are the glory of Jerusalem!
You are the great pride of Israel!
You are the great boast of our nation!……Judith 15:9

JUDITH 15-9

REFLECTION – “Those who want to prevent their heart from being pervaded by the evils of earth, should entrust it to the Blessed Virgin, our Lady and our Mother. They will then regain it in heaven, freed from all evils.”……………St Francis de Sales

those who want to prevent their heart-st francis de sales

 

PRAYER – Lord Jesus, move me to entrust my heart and my affections to Your Holy Mother. Grant that her prayers may keep me from all evil and firmly attached to You forever. Holy Mary, Holy Mother, pray for us, amen.

holy mary holy mother - pray for us

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 18 May

Our Morning Offering – 18 May

Blessed Virgin Mary, Holy Mary
Excerpt from a prayer by St Augustine (354-430)
Doctor gratiae (Doctor of Grace)

Holy Mary, help those who are miserable,
strengthen those who are discouraged,
comfort those who are sorrowful,
pray for your people,
plead for the clergy,
intercede for all women consecrated to God.
May all who venerate you
experience your assistance and protection.
Be ready to aid us when we pray,
and bring back to us the answers to our prayers.
Make it your continual concern
to pray for the People of God,
for you were blessed by God
and were made worthy
to bear the Redeemer of the world,
who lives and reigns forever.
Amen.

blessed virgin mary, holy mary - st augustine

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 May – St Pope John I

Saint of the Day – 18 May – St Pope John I (c 470 – 526) He
was Pope from 13 August 523 to his death in 526.

He was a priest in Rome and was elected the 53rd pope in 523.   Italy’s ruler, Theodoric the Goth, was an Arian and for a while he let Catholics alone but in later life he became suspicious of everyone, imagining conspiracies and attempts to seize his throne.    He tried to involve Pope John in his political machinations.    John led a delegation to Constantinople to negotiate with Emperor Justin I;   he was the first pope to travel to Constantinople and while there crowned Justin.   The mission was successful but Theodoric thought John and Justin I had plotted against him.   While returning to Rome, John was kidnapped and imprisoned by Theodoric’s soldiers at Ravenna, where he died of neglect and ill treatment.    His body was transported to Rome and buried in the Basilica of St. Peter.   St Pope John I is depicted in art as looking through the bars of a prison or imprisoned with a deacon and a subdeacon.    He is venerated at Ravenna and in Tuscany.

 

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saints – 18 May

St Pope John I, (Optional Memorial)

Bl Burchard of Beinwil
St Dioscorus of Kynopolis
St Elgiva of Shaftesbury
St Eric of Sweden
St Felix of Cantalice
St Felix of Spoleto
St Feredarius of Iona
Bl Jan Oprzadek
St Merililaun
St Ortasio of Alexandria
St Potamon of Heraclea
St Serapione of Alexandria
Bl Stanislaw Kubski
St Venantius of Camerino
Bl William of Toulouse

Martyrs of Ancyra – 8 saints: Seven nuns martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian and the innkeeper who was executed for giving them a Christian burial: Alexandria, Claudia, Euphrasia, Julitta, Matrona, Phaina, Thecusa and Theodatus. c.304 in Ancyra, Galatia (in modern Turkey)