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Jesus Christ Prays For Us and In Us and IS the Object of Our Prayers – St Augustine

Lenten Thoughts – 10 April – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Year C

Jesus Christ Prays For Us and In Us and IS the Object of Our Prayers

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop and Great Western Father of the Church

An excerpt from his Commentary on the Psalms (Psalm 85)

God could give no greater gift to men than to make His Word, through whom He created all things, their head and to join them to Him as His members, so that the Word might be both Son of God and son of man, one God with the Father and one man with all men.  The result is that when we speak with God in prayer we do not separate the Son from Him and when the body of the Son prays, it does not separate its head from itself, it is the one Saviour of His body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who prays for us and in us and is Himself the object of our prayers.

He prays for us as our priest, He prays in us as our head, He is the object of our prayers as our God.he prays for us as our priest - st augustine 10 april 2019.jpg

Let us then recognise both our voice in His and His voice in ours.   When something is said, especially in prophecy, about the Lord Jesus Christ that seems to belong to a condition of lowliness unworthy of God, we must not hesitate to ascribe this condition to one who did not hesitate to unite Himself with us.   Every creature is His servant, for it was through Him that every creature came to be.

We contemplate His glory and divinity when we listen to these words:   In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.   He was in the beginning with God.   All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made.   Here we gaze on the divinity of the Son of God, something supremely great and surpassing all the greatness of His creatures.   Yet in other parts of Scripture we hear Him as one sighing, praying, giving praise and thanks.

We hesitate to attribute these words to Him because our minds are slow to come down to His humble level when we have just been contemplating Him in His divinity.   It is as though we were doing Him an injustice, in acknowledging in a man the words of one, with whom we spoke, when we prayed to God;  we are usually at a loss and try to change the meaning.   Yet our minds find nothing in Scripture that does not go back to Him, nothing that will allow us to stray from Him.

Our thoughts must then be awakened to keep their vigil of faith.   We must realise that the one whom we were contemplating, a short time before, in his nature as God took to Himself the nature of a servant, He was made in the likeness of men and found to be a man like others, He humbled Himself by being obedient even to accepting death, as He hung on the cross He made the psalmist’s words His own:  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

We pray to Him as God, He prays for us as a servant.   In the first case, He is the Creator, in the second a creature.   Himself unchanged, He took to Himself our created nature in order to change it and made us one man, with Himself, head and body.   We pray then to Him, through Him, in Him and we speak along with Him and He along with us.we pray then to him and in him and with him 10 april 2019 st augustine lenten thoughts.jpg

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Lenten Thoughts – 8 April – “Praying means …”

Lenten Thoughts – 8 April – Monday of the Fifth week of Lent, Year C

“Praying means giving up your false security, no longer looking for arguments that will protect you if you get pushed into a corner and no longer setting our hope on a couple of lighter moments which your life might still offer.
To pray, means to stop expecting from God, the same small-mindedness, you discover in yourself.
To pray is to walk in the full Light of God and to say simply, without holding back, “I am human and You are God!”
At that moment, conversion occurs, the restoration for the true relationship.
A human being is not someone who once in a while makes a mistake and God is not someone who now and then forgives.
No!   Human beings are sinners and God is love.
The conversion experience makes this obvious with stunning simplicity and disarming clarity.”

Fr Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)to pray is to walk simply in the full Light of God and to say I am human and you ae God henri nouwen 8 april 2019.jpg

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – 30 March – St John Climacus – On Prayer

Quote of the Day – 30 March – Saturday of the Third week of Lent, Year C, Gospel: Luke 18:9–14 and the Memorial of St John Climacus (c 525-606)

On Prayer

“The one who requests less than he deserves from God will surely obtain more than he deserves.   

This is clearly shown by the tax-collector who requested forgiveness but obtained justification.   

And the thief merely requested to be remembered in His Kingdom, but he inherited Paradise.”

St John Climacuste one who requests less - st john climacus 30march 2019.jpg

Posted in LENT 2019, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

Lenten Reflection – 30 March

Lenten Reflection – 30 March – Saturday of the Third week of Lent, Year C and the Memorial of St John Climacus (c 525-606)

The Readings
Hosea 6:1-6; Psalms 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21AB; Luke 18:9-14 

On sobriety in prayer

St John Climacus

Do not be over-sophisticated in the words you use when praying, because the simple and unadorned lisping of children has often won the heart of their heavenly Father.   Do not attempt to talk much when you pray, lest your mind be distracted in searching for words. One word of the publican propitiated God and one cry of faith saved the thief.  Loquacity in prayer often distracts the mind and leads to fantasy, whereas brevity- makes for concentration.   If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell on it, for then our guardian angel is praying with us.

Ask with tears, seek with obedience, knock with patience.   For thus the one who asks, receives and the one who seeks, finds and to anyone who knocks it will be opened.

Those who keep constant hold of the staff of prayer will not stumble.   And even if they do, their fall will not be fatal.   For prayer is a devout coercion of God.ask with tears knock with - st john climacus.jpg

Daily Meditation:
Fill our hearts with Your love.

Our lesson today reminds us again of God’s love and Jesus’ desire
that we love one another as we are loved.
On this journey, we are learning why this is a challenge for us.
We are experiencing our human weaknesses and practising ways to be freer,
to open our hearts more fully to God’s love
and to give ourselves in fidelity, every day.

You ask us to express our thanks by self-denial.
“Come, let us return to the Lord,
for he has torn, that he may heal us,
he has stricken and he will bind us up.”
Hosea 6:1

Closing Prayer:
God of infinite love,
You shower me with limitless gifts in my life.
In my every thought and action today
guide me to the bright and loving light of Your kingdom.
Help me to be aware of
the many ways You allow me
to share in Your life so intimately today.
Thank You for the gifts You have placed in my life.
Let me be grateful every moment of this day..

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.Sat of the thirs week lent 30 march 2019.jpg

Posted in LENT 2019, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 30 March –

One Minute Reflection – 30 March – Saturday of the Third week of Lent, Year C, Gospel: Luke 18:9–14

“…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled but he who humbles himself, will be exalted.”...Luke 18:14luke-18-14-everuone who exalts himself shall be humbled.jpg

REFLECTION – “We must only pray by placing ourselves before God just as we are.   Not like the pharisee who prays with arrogance and hypocrisy.   We are all taken up by the frenetic pace of daily life, often at the mercy of feelings, dazed and confused.   It is necessary to learn how to rediscover the path to our heart, to recover the value of intimacy and silence, because the God who encounters us and speaks to us, is there.  Only by beginning there can we, in our turn, encounter others and speak with them.”…Pope Francis – General Audience, 1 June 2016it is necessary to learn how to pope francis 30 march 2019.jpg

PRAYER – We turn to You our God and Father and seek Your comfort and assurance. Jesus, our Lord, Your Son, taught us how to pray and all we need to be and do, to reach You.   Be patient good Father, as we grow by Your grace.   May such a master of prayer, St John Climacus, be heard together with the Mother of Christ and of Prayer, as they pray on our behalf.   Through Jesus our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.luke 2 19 but mary kept all these things mary mother of prayer pray for us 30 march 2019.jpg

st john climacus pray for us 30 march 2019.jpg

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Lenten Thoughts – 26 March – Prayer knocks, fasting obtains, mercy receives – St Peter Chrysologus

Lenten Thoughts – 26 March – Tuesday of the Third week of Lent, Year C – Gospel: Matthew 18:21–35

St Peter Chrysologus (400-450)
Bishop of Ravenna, Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Sermon 43

Prayer knocks, fasting obtains, mercy receives

There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant and virtue endures.   They are prayer, fasting and mercy.   Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives.   Prayer, mercy and fasting: – these three are one and they give life to each other.

Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting.   Let no one try to separate them, they cannot be separated.   If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing.   So if you pray, fast;  if you fast, show mercy;  if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others.   If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself.fasting is the soul of prayer - st peter chryasologus 26 march 2019 tues3rdweeklent

When you fast, see the fasting of others.   If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry.   If you hope for mercy, show mercy.   If you look for kindness, show kindness.   If you want to receive, give.   If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery.if you want to receive give - st peter chrysologus 26 march 2019 tues3rdweeklent.jpg

Let this be the pattern for all men when they practice mercy – show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you.

Therefore, let prayer, mercy and fasting be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defence, a threefold united prayer in our favour.

Let us use fasting to make up for what we have lost by despising others.   Let us offer our souls in sacrifice by means of fasting.   There is nothing more pleasing that we can offer to God, as the psalmist said in prophecy – A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit, God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart.

Offer your soul to God, make Him an oblation of your fasting, so that your soul may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim, remaining your own and at the same time made over to God.   Whoever fails to give this to God will not be excused, for if you are to give Him yourself, you are never without the means of giving.

To make these acceptable, mercy must be added.   Fasting bears no fruit unless it is watered by mercy.   Fasting dries up when mercy dries up.   Mercy is to fasting as rain is to the earth.   However much you may cultivate your heart, clear the soil of your nature, root out vices, sow virtues, if you do not release the springs of mercy, your fasting will bear no fruit.

When you fast, if your mercy is thin your harvest will be thin, when you fast, what you pour out in mercy overflows into your barn.   Therefore, do not lose by saving but gather in by scattering.   Give to the poor and you give to yourself.   You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever.
Amen

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Lenten Thoughts – 21 March – The Primacy of the Spiritual:  Saint Nicholas of Flue

Lenten Thoughts – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C and the Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

The Primacy of the Spiritual:  Saint Nicholas of Flue (Excerpt)
By Christopher O Blum

Born to a pious, upstanding peasant family, young Nicholas stood out for his goodness, simplicity and mortification.   While still a young man, labouring in the fields and meadows of the valleys south of Lucerne, he fasted four times per week, explaining himself, when pressed, by saying, “Such is the will of God.”   Until his fiftieth year, his life was that of an exemplary Swiss free man.   Like many of his fellow countrymen, he served his canton both under arms and by holding civic office.   And this pillar of the community raised up five sons and five daughters with the help of his exemplary wife Dorothy.   Yet God persisted in calling him to a life beyond that of the domestic holiness he had already embraced and sent visions to him in his late-night prayer vigils and his moments of afternoon solitude in the fields, visions that beckoned him to leave all.st nicholas of flue pray for us 21 march 2019 no 2.jpg

As the eminent Swiss theologian Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) explained in his biography of the hermit-saint, “it no longer sufficed for him to walk along the roads of the world with God in his heart, he had to take the path set aside for him, that he might be taken by the hand and led to where he knew not.”   What praise of Dorothy of Flue could be lovelier, Journet asked, than to admire her magnanimity in being able to “comprehend the drama of this great soul”?   They parted friends, just thirteen weeks after the birth of their youngest child and remained so.   Several years later, a pilgrim visitor to Nicholas’ hermitage saw the saint, with joyous mien, lean out of the window of his tiny cell after the morning Mass to greet his family with a blessing:  “May God give you a blessed day, dear friends and good people!”

Nicholas had initially thought to join a monastery, perhaps one in nearby Alsace known for its austerity.   But a chance conversation with a peasant helped him to understand another of his mystical visions – this one of the nearby town of Liestal wrapped in flames. His good works were needed in his own neighbourhood.   And so, he built himself a hermitage one valley over from his home and spent the next twenty years there, clad only in a tunic, with bare feet and a bare head, to do penance for his beloved people.   His piety was simple, for he was illiterate.   A neighbouring priest had taught him the practice of meditating on Christ’s Passion in stages to match the seven canonical hours of the Church’s daily prayer.   This method bore good results.   He soon became known for the wisdom and holiness of his counsel and pilgrims flocked to his hidden valley to listen to his simple, direct words:  “O man, when the world hates you and is faithless toward you, think of your God, how he was struck and spat upon.   You should not accuse your neighbour of guilt but pray to God, that he be merciful to you both.”

Writing during the Second World War, Cardinal Journet saw in Nicholas of Flue the “supreme incarnation of the genius of Switzerland.”   By this he did not mean that the hermit was a pacifist.   He was something higher and more important.   His greatness “was to have affirmed the primacy of the spiritual life.”   “For the saints”, the Cardinal explained, “are sent to us by God as so many sermons.   We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.”   Those were years of exceptional trial for the Swiss but they were also years in which men and women of good will prepared the ground for spiritual renewal and rebuilding.the saints are sent to us by god - card charles journet 21 march 2019.jpg

What lesson might Nicholas of Flue hold out for our generation?   Were he alive today this simple Swiss peasant would doubtless be startled by our wealth.   The recession of recent years seems to have done little to dull the edge of our consumption.   The adjective “worldly” is now being used as a term of approbation, to signify the savoir-faire of the person who knows the latest fashions and ways of thinking.   It is a telling linguistic development.   Nicholas of Flue spent the last twenty years of his life in a tiny room with two windows.   Through one of them, he could see something of the beauty of his native land, a beauty that nourished his reflection and piety:  “O man, think of the sun so high in the sky and consider its splendour – but your soul has received the splendour of the eternal God.”   Through the other, he saw the altar, whence came the very food of his soul.   “We should carry the Passion of God in our hearts, for this is the greatest consolation to a man at the hour of his death.”   The one thing needful indeed.we should carry the passion of god - 21 march 2019 st nicholas of flue.jpg

My Lord and my God
St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

My Lord and my God,
take from me everything
that distances me from You.
My Lord and my God,
give me everything
that brings me closer to You.
My Lord and my God,
detach me from myself
to give my all to You.
Amen

The above prayer of St Nicholas, is cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph #226.
CCC 226 – It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to Him and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from Him.

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