Monday, January 30, 2012

In order to pray, it is said that the disciple must close the door of his cell, place himself in a state of quiet, sit down, rest his chin against his chest, look towards the middle of his stomach, restrain his breathing and make a mental effort to find the "place of the heart," while repeating all the time the epiclesis of Jesus Christ. At the beginning he experiences only difficulty and obscurity, but soon he notices a kind of light. From this point onwards, as soon as an evil thought arises and even before it comes to completion and takes form, it is expelled and destroyed. "Through the invocation of the Lord Jesus, the winds of the passions dissolve and vanish like wax." However, this result is not obtained in a single day. One must go through, the successive stages of domination over the passions, of the sweetness of psalmnody, and then of the substitution of the Jesus Prayer, for psalmody, so finally one attains theoria, contemplation that is firmly established and undeviating. In this way, the spiritual house is built into which Christ will come. All this is not beyond our reach. "The rest you will learn with the help of God by keeping watch over your intellect with the help of God by keeping watch over your intellect and by holding Jesus in your heart; as the saying goes, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you all things." ~ from The Jesus Prayer by Archimandrite Lev Gillet

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Solitude, nothingness, and silence are ways of being: being alone, being nothing, being silent. They capture elements of existence, not activity; of being, not doing, and point to ways of becoming more human, more whole. It is a great paradox. What seems to limit our self-expression brings us to a deeper expression of self. What appears to confine prepares us for new freedom. What appears like death births life. It is also our great hope: that in our aloneness we meet the Alone, that in our humanity we meet the one who humbled himself even unto death, that in our silence we meet the one who speaks without words as the Word. By surrendering to this solitary encounter, we are taken to the center of ourselves, the world, and the universe where matter and spirit, flesh and soul, I and neighbor beat as "all one" in the heart of the One who lives in us. ~Excerpted from The Power of Solitude, by Annemarie S. Kidder

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"One of the obstacles to evangelization is, in fact, the crisis of faith, not only in the Western world but among a large part of humankind, which nonetheless hungers and thirsts for God, and which must be invited and led to the bread of life and the living water. ... We must renew our enthusiasm to communicate the faith, so as to promote new evangelization in communities and countries of ancient Christian tradition, which are losing their reference to God, and help them rediscover the joy of believing. Concern for evangelization must never remain at the margins of Christians' ecclesial activity or individual lives, it must characterize them strongly in their awareness of being both beneficiaries and missionaries of the Gospel The central point of our announcement always remains the same: ... the 'kerygma' of God's absolute and total love for each man and woman, which culminated in His sending the eternal and only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, Who did not disdain to take on the poverty of our human nature, loving it and saving it from sin and death by the offer of Himself upon the cross".

"Faith is a gift that was given to us to be shared. ... It is the most important gift of our lives and we cannot keep it to ourselves". ~Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If God speaks to us even in silence, we in turn discover in silence the possibility of speaking with God and about God. “We need that silence which becomes contemplation, which introduces us into God’s silence and brings us to the point where the Word, the redeeming Word, is born” (Homily, Eucharistic Celebration with Members of the International Theological Commission, 6 October 2006). In speaking of God’s grandeur, our language will always prove inadequate and must make space for silent contemplation. Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its inner power, the urgent sense of mission, the compelling obligation “to communicate that which we have seen and heard” so that all may be in communion with God (1 Jn 1:3). Silent contemplation immerses us in the source of that Love who directs us towards our neighbors so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, his message of life and his saving gift of the fullness of love. ~Pope Benedict XVI, 24 January 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI on the need for social engagement by Catholic laity:

“Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society. The preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.”

Monday, January 23, 2012

Prayer for the Unborn

Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.

Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you.

Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.

Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.

Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.

Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children.

Console the married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.

Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,
the consolation of your divine Heart.

Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Savior,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.

                ~Pope Benedict XVI

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation's founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature's God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such." ~ Pope Benedict XVI to American Bishops, Jan 19, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”  ~Samuel Chadwick

Friday, January 20, 2012

People who change their way of life and begin to think about spiritual progress also begin to suffer from the tongues of detractors. Whoever has not yet suffered this trial has not yet made progress, and whoever is not ready to suffer it does not even endeavor to progress. ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Justice is not a mere human convention. When, in the name of supposed justice, the criteria of utility, profit and material possession come to dominate, the value and dignity of human beings can be trampled underfoot. Justice is a virtue which guides the human will, prompting us to give others what is due to them by reason of their existence and their actions. Likewise, peace is not the mere absence of war, or the result of man's actions to avoid conflict; it is, above all, a gift of God which must be implored with faith, and which has the way to its fulfillment in Jesus. True peace must be constructed day after day with compassion, solidarity, fraternity and collaboration on everyone's part." ~ Pope Benedict XVI, January 13, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stop telling God how big your storm is and start telling your storm how big your God is.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"In participating in the Eucharist we experience in an extraordinary way the prayer that Jesus offered, and continually offers, for each one of us in order that evil -- which we all encounter in life -- may not have the power to overcome us, and so that the transforming power of Christ's death and resurrection may act in us." ~Pope Benedict XVI, January 11, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I have never heard anything about the resolutions of the apostles, but a great deal about their acts. ~ Horace Mann

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Love's secret is always to be doing things for God, and not to mind because they are such little ones. ~ Fredrick W. Faber