Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Prayer

Books and the Lenten Journey

ash-wednesday-scripture-5Happy Ash Wednesday! Last evening my family celebrated Shrove Tuesday by having breakfast for dinner.  I must say that Hannah’s King’s Cake stole the show again this year.

As usual, there are always questions about fasting and abstinence once we enter Lent. Here is an abstinence explanation, “What’s Up with the Whole Friday Abstinence Thing?” for the studious out there. Fasting has also been part of our blessed Tradition. Here is a quick explanation on the why of fasting, “Vivifying our Spiritual Senses.”

I have also received a number of requests concerning some of my favorites books for Lent. So, I thought that I would list out a few books that have been helpful during my Lenten meditation and retreat:

  1. The Sadness of Christ – St. Thomas More
  2. Lukewarmness: The Devil in Disguise – Francis Fernandez Carvajal
  3. The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell – Fr. Martin von Cochem
  4. Unseen Warfare – Lorenzo Scupoli, Theophan the Recluse and Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
  5. In Silence with God – Fr. Benedict Baur
  6. A Doctor at Calvary: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ As Described by a Surgeon – Pierre Barbet
  7. Life of Christ – Venerable Fulton Sheen
  8. The Ladder of Divine Ascent – St. John Climacus
  9. Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence – Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure
  10. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule & The Little Way – Fr. Dwight Longenecker

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Encourage & Teach: The Christmas Countdown – Catholic Style!

This time of year every kid, and dare I say a good number of adults, are eagerly counting down the days to Christmas. As a child, my family had one of those great window Advent calendars where you opened a window daily to reveal a thought or picture inside. It helped us to track where we were in the Advent season. The Church does the same thing through the liturgy and it starts tomorrow on December 17.

The church’s countdown system is called the “O Antiphons.” (Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: Led to Victory by Mary and the Holy Rosary

OurLadyRosaryMy paternal grandmother converted from Buddhism to Catholicism at the young age of 13. As the story is told, she was passing by St. Theresa’s Church in Honolulu one day and heard the music from within the Church. She walked in, talked to the priest, and was received into the Church after a short period of catechesis. As I think back on my childhood, I have no memory of her ever going to bed without the Sacred Scripture in one hand and a Rosary in the other. She was fiercely loyal to Our Lady and devoured Scripture. Happily, she passed on the fervor of both to me. (Read more…)

Stepping into His Marvelous Light

stepintolightThe Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord (Lamentations 3:25-26).

Doesn’t this Scripture seem simple enough? I have been meditating on this Scripture for about a week now and have discovered so many different areas of restlessness in my heart. The Holy Spirit has been more than generous to bring into the light the areas of my life when I am impatient and need salvation.

Do you have an area in your life that wants to keep you from moving forward because it is screaming to be nursed or healed?

If you just answered, “Yes!” like I did, you understand that it feels like we are in a rut sometimes – unable to get our footing and maybe even terrified to move forward. It is like we are stuck in a cave blinded by the darkness and afraid to step into the light.«Continue Reading»

Encourage & Teach: St. Martha’s Lessons in Prayer and Work

ST MarthaToday is my daughter’s seventeenth birthday. Not sure how this happened so quickly but here we are. It is also the memorial of St. Martha who, as many of us know, is one of Lazarus’ two sisters. Hannah reminds me of St. Martha because of her love for quiet and creative service so I thought I would reflect upon that today.

Now, if you still are wondering who this St. Martha is, she is also remembered as the poor soul who was famously chided in Luke 10:38-42. (Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: Finding Mary In Your Garden

sunflowerThe best memories my grandmother formed with me all revolved around working with her in her gardens. In fact, the majority of her backyard was a garden. It is probably for this reason why I love working in gardens (even though I have little time to do so lately) and have developed a great appreciation for so many different flowers – all of which my wife appreciates every two weeks. I also do not find it a coincidence that I was given a lifelong penance during my sophomore year of college to meditate on John 15 (Vine and the branches) every time I work in my yard or garden. (Read more…)

Lenten Lessons: Aspirations

stnikodemusoftheholymountainikon“Those, on the other hand, who dwell in the wilderness and lead the quiet life, despise all the pleasures which others long for, as harmful to the soul and separating it from God. They withdraw their mind from every distraction and contemplation of the world, and gather it into their heart; and there they pray unceasingly, meditating on the dearest and sweetest name of Jesus, saying lovingly: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me.” Through this unceasing prayer and frequent meditation on the name of Jesus they kindle in their heart the aspiration and eros for God, and turn their mind to the contemplation of the Divine beauty. Being thus enraptured by that surpassing beauty, and becoming ecstatic, they forget food, drink, and clothes. – St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (The New Ladder, pp. 37-38. Quoted in Cavarnos, pp. 136-137)

Lenten Lessons: Prayer of the Heart

theophanetherecluseWhy is it, you ask, that one can pray for so many years with a prayer book, and still not have prayer in his heart? I think the reason is that people only spend a little time lifting themselves up to God when they complete their prayer rule, and in other times, they do not remember God. For example, they finish their morning prayers, and think that their relation to God is fulfilled by them; then the whole day passes in work, and such a person does not attend to God. Then in the evening, the thought returns to him that he must quickly stand at prayer and complete his evening rule. In this case, it happens that even if the Lord grants a person spiritual feelings at the time of the morning prayer, the bustle and business of the day drowns them out. As a result, it happens that one does not often feel like praying, and cannot get control of himself even to soften his heart a little bit. In such an «Continue Reading»

Easter Beyond the Candy Cross

candy crossBe gentle with your clergy this week. Many of us are moving a tad bit slower as we attempt to recover from the liturgical marathon otherwise known as the Triduum. While many are enjoying the joyous delicacies of Easter (read pounds of candy and chocolate) the Church continues meditating on the mystery of the cross in light of the Resurrection. Why? Because the eternal act of redemption by sacrifice is not complete without the Resurrection and Ascension…

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Praying in the Spirit of St. Patrick

loricaThose who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s remember on the Feast of St. Patrick each year, we sang the folksy “Christ before me, Christ after me …”during our liturgies. Granted, a cute tribute to St. Patrick which made the Irish happy (I am 50 percent Irish) but wholly devoid of the magnificent theology in the full prayer known as the “Breastplate of St. Patrick.”

The theology contained in this ancient prayer is simply profound.  Some believe it is built upon a druidic incantation but anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I fail anyone who hands me a reference from Wikipedia per se.

The core of the prayer is built upon the doctrine which expresses that when God the Father reflected upon Himself in a finite way, the multitudinous array of creation came forth which, when all gather together, express the infinite perfections of His nature.
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