Archive for category Prayer

A Renewed Reverence For The Holy Name of Jesus

You are waiting for a bus, and another person waiting complains about waiting and uses the Lord’s name in vain.  Or you are at a sports game and the home team blows a play prompting another fan near you joins along with his expressed frustration the taking of the Lord’s name in vain.  You might be at work and deadlines and pressures lead a co-worker to let off some steam that includes some profane words directed at the Lord.  It’s so common to hear that it may have a diminished shock value to many of us.

 

The name of the Lord is so hallowed that respect for the name is the Second Commandment of the Ten God gave Moses on Mount Sinai.  Christians, bearing the name of Christ, are called to give honor to the name they bear in all that they do.  Catholic Teaching proclaims that there is power in the name of Jesus.  This power includes the power to gather angels to protect and defend.  There is also power in the name of Jesus over the demons who will flee at the utterance of His name.  His name brings hope and fortitude to the despairing and weak.

 

Catholics have a tradition of nodding in reverence to the name of Jesus and even to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s name.  It is a means to give honor and glory to our God that can be joined with an expression vocally or silently of, “Praise the Lord.”

 

There are times that publicly, and there are even instances where  privately, any effort to correct another who profanes the name of the Lord will fail.  Correction and amendment to do better is the goal we seek and if one approach may embarrass the one who profanes from correction, then you may have to simply lift it to God with your own praise.  One can actually use the prompting of another’s profanation of the Lord’s name as a cue to reverence the Lord with a simple nod accompanying an expression of, “Praise the Lord.”

 

It is fascinating that if you use this approach in a circumstance where you don’t have other recourse, know that it can work in the changing of hearts.  In time,  you will notice the diminishment and abandonment of such abuse of the name of Jesus.  It may take some time, but it is compelling when you see that the abuse diminishes and in turn your reverential praising also diminishes because there are fewer promptings to offer that reparation.  You may even have the feeling of emptiness that can only be filled with your praises prompted out of a deeper love for the power and care of Jesus through His Holy Name.

An Awakening to God’s Presence In My Life Through The Mass

While with others on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje,  I was surprised when we were going to our third Mass in three days.  It was a weekday Mass no less.  I remember going over it in my mind accepting that it wasn’t such a  dreadful thing to be doing.  I admitted that in fact there was little else to do there but to focus on God and my relationship to Him.  It was my first retreat, so such thoughts are understandable.

 

I continued to go to Mass each day that week, and I followed the encouragements of the priests and other leaders to participate in Mass more actively than I was accustomed.  For each Mass, I did bring a particular matter to the altar in prayer and listened intently through the readings, prayers and moments of silence.  I began to hear God’s voice and see His hand active in my life and addressing matters I brought up.  God also brought up matters of His concern for me.

 

By the end of the week I began to realize that the Sunday Mass obligation was not too much Mass for me, it instead was too little Mass for me.  I would say that I committed myself to attending Mass every day but that I wanted to go to Mass…I thirst to be present with our Lord Liturgically and Sacramentally always.

 

Weekday Mass is simply a different experience of Liturgy than is offered Sunday and all are encouraged to try it for a week.

Breaching the Abyss

For all of the challenges that sidewalk counselors outside an abortion clinic who provide outreach confronts, it is no wonder that they can suffer at times a creeping sense of futility.   Sidewalk Counselors all have an understanding that their presence has a much greater positive impact than is apparent on the surface.   The truth of the living person in the womb is acknowledged and shared with the parent(s) and the community.   Prayer for the immediate concern is offered along with any and all assistance that the mother and child perceive they need is made known and available to the parents.  Among many other accomplishments is the powerful effect of holding back untold evil.  Abortion is a sign of a lawlessness in a crumbling society.  The sidewalk counselor is helping to hold back evil through the good accomplished and by reminding society that there is such a battle of good and evil.  Staking one’s actions to the goodness of preserving life keeps the cause and hope of good alive.  We have no idea what evil hasn’t transpired because there is someone with some grip on the reigns of evil impeding its march to some degree.

 

Pray for the sidewalk counselors in their mission and for their success.  And pray their ranks be blessed with growing numbers of people’s prayerful, bodily presence outside these abortion centers.

There Is Always A Prayer Offered For You

In talking with a middle-aged Catholic the other day, I was sharing with him some brochures that I collected while visiting Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.   He saw a picture of a sister kneeling before an altar that I explained was where the Eucharist was exposed.  I continued to explain that at all times there is at least one Sister is before the Eucharist interceding for us.  There is never moment that anyone of us is without prayer.

There, adjacent to Viterbo University are the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration who have a convent that includes a chapel that is open to the public.  The chapel that is situated behind the main  Church altar is  Eucharistic Procession that has been on-going, continuous, and without interruption for over 135 years.  The Sisters knew of a 24/7/365 presence well before select McDonald’s or other fast food restaurants decided to operate the 24 hour drive-up window.  These Sisters hold the nation’s record for the nations longest continuous prayer.  Such can only be done in the context of a community and every member’s dedication to the cause.  Like the Preborn Christ who intercedes from the womb of His mother, Mary; the Franciscans of Perpetual Adoration offer their adoration and intercession to the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist within their convent.

This young man was surprised at such dedication and slowly came to admit the need for such continuous prayer.  He’s not alone in being slow to understand the value of, or rather need for such a prayerful presence.  It seems so difficult for so many of us to understand that our health and prosperity are provided by God’s bounty and not of our hard work, though it is by our hard work that we can harvest God’s bounty.

The greatest threat to the future of this Perpetual Adoration is the decline in vocations and the decline in support for the religious by the lay people.  A life-long vocation of prayer is simply not encouraged by most parents because such a life is so often misunderstood.  This lack of understanding is growing about all of the religious.  The mission of these Sisters and so many monasteries and convents around the world seem to escape so many in the secular world.  These religious communities are not merely praying for themselves but are actually joining with Jesus in His ministry of intercession for all mankind before God the Father.  In prayer, they offer praise, reparation for sin, intercession for the good of all  and thanksgiving on behalf of all men, women and children for His Divine Providence.

Imagine a world lacking such religious intercession before God on our behalf.  What would such a  world be like?  Hopeless and in despair.  Looking at the world we live in, is it any surprise that there are less religious engaging in adoration than in the past and more who are choosing to cohabitate than in the past?  Cohabitation is only one of the alternative life styles that are competing with a religious life, but it is one with consequences that will certainly become inter-generational.    Not to mention the rise in violence, illicit sexual relations, and decline of general morality.  These religious are dealing in an economy that many are not even aware exists, that is the economy of salvation.  In the economy of salvation it is grace that serves as currency, if you will.  It is those who pray who are the equivalent to the capitalist producer in our market economy.  It is those who pray who help with begging for God’s grace and they also help to direct that needed grace.

As religious practice and faith in our society decline, are we prepared to take up the slack in prayer that is bound to occur with the decline of the praying religious?  What can we do to do better?  What can we do to encourage such a vocation of life-long prayer?  Please offer the religious who pray for us a prayer in return.  Consider sponsoring them financially.  Encourage young adults and children to consider such a  vocation.

Healing While You Sleep

Having a strong and faithful relationship with and in Jesus Christ is what this life is all about for us.  It is our loving and trusting relationship in Jesus Christ with a  contrite heart for any and all sins we have committed that is what matters when we face death.

 

Relationships through life can be good, but even the best relationships can have unhealthy aspects that can limit our trust in others, particularly in Jesus Christ.  He wants us to be wise in our relationships, but also to be healed of the unhealthy harm we suffer.  All such hurts and relationships need to be brought to prayer along with our own examination of conscience.  A truly contrite heart will recognize our own short-comings and may prompt us to make amends to do better.  Yet, the injuries we suffer can often only be healed by Jesus Christ, whereas time may dull the pain the injury that remains.

 

One prayer for healing, the author is unknown to this writer, that can be offered at night before bed is the following:

 

Healing Prayer At Bedtime

 

Lord Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, go back into my memory as I sleep.

Every hurt that has ever been done to me, heal that hurt.

Every hurt that I have ever caused another person, heal that hurt.

All the relationships that have been damaged in my whole life that I am not aware of, heal those relationships.

But, Lord, if there is anything that I need to do;

If I need to go to a person because he or she is still suffering from my hand,

Bring to my awareness that person, I choose to forgive and I ask to be forgiven.

Remove whatever bitterness may be in my heart, Lord, and fill the empty spaces with your love.

Amen.

Author Unknown

 

In Christ, Nothing is Futile

The American Culture in 2013 is a terribly confusing period with many distractions and even more unhealthy, and even evil temptations abound.  It is not difficult to be overwhelmed with the expectations and demands of such a technologically advanced and socially digressing culture.  All too often a relationship with Jesus, or God, is lost in the shuffle of life.  Even worse, there are those who have abandoned God with the claim that either the Church is in the way or that God has abandoned them.  Unfortunately, what replaces a trust in Divine Providence, God’s goodness to us always within a divine plan for our salvation, is replaced with a sense of futility of life and a creeping despair  and hopelessness.

It is not only okay to feel confused and overwhelmed with disordered passions.  These conditions are especially understandable when you consider that these are among the consequences of sin since Original Sin.  The point to not lose sight of is that you don’t act on those passions.  Even our confusion and disordered tugs serve God’s purpose if but recognized and accepted without a sinful response.  It may be more important for such a  one to offer a simple prayer of waiting on the Lord.  In His time He will make clear the next move He wants made.

St. Paul addressed these exact concerns when writing his letter to the Romans.  “…for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, Jesus Christ, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Romans 8:20-21

In short, we were created through Jesus Christ for Jesus Christ.  We have the purpose to know, love and serve God in this world and share His happiness in eternal life.  Living such a life is not futile, but gives us the freedom to be happy.

 

A Parent’s God-given Priorities

“May the Lord bless us, protect us and lead us into eternal life.”

 

It is with such a prayer that the Liturgy of the Hours, the Prayer of the Church, is closed daily at both morning and evening prayer.  It is an appeal to God that each of us makes for His care at all times of each of our lives.  God is our Creator and cares for us as the perfect Guardian, or rather as the perfect, eternal parent.  God’s love for us means that God always does what is best for us.  A parent seeking to do the best for their child can do no better than  introduce their child to God.

 

In imitation of God and by charge from God, all responsible parents express their love for their child by affirming their child’s dignity, protecting the child, from harm and teaching their child of eternal life and how to attain eternal life with and through God.  A parent who accomplishes these three goals for their child in preparation of a child’s grown adulthood has been a successful parent.  These priorities are the pearl of great value.

 

If the innocence of a child were words, this prayer would be the words heard by the parent.

 

“May the Lord bless us, protect us and lead us into eternal life.”

Magnificat: A Common Prayer

Mary is the Mother of God and any reference to our being a mother to Christ cannot be equated.  Mary  carried the fullness of God’s grace before the Incarnation of Jesus Christ within her womb.  It was through a grace particular to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she is the Immaculate Conception, conceived without sin.  No other human person was so conceived, and no other human person has lived without sin.  Mary was the Bearer of Christ throughout her entire life.  Her heart has always been in total uniformity with the Father’s Will for her.

 

The Blessed Virgin Mary understood and was deeply grateful for this blessing singular to her.  In response to her cousin,  Elizabeth’s declared recognition of this blessing Mary expressed with joyful humility her gratitude in words that we now know as the Magnificat.

 

It is through the Blessed Virgin Mary, our common spiritual mother, that we encounter Jesus and find union with Jesus who then dwells in us

 

It is through the Blessed Virgin Mary, our common spiritual mother, that we encounter Jesus.  Within her we conceive of Jesus with Him dwelling within us.  It is within the Motherhood of Mary that we are able to share in the mothering of the Preborn Christ.  It is Mary who can teach us to bear her Son as the Master whom we obey.  Her joy of being Mother to God can be shared with each of us bearing Christ if we but do the Will of the Father.  Her words in the Magnificat are words that certainly honor Mary’s particular grace and role, but they ought to give us also a glimpse into the proper attitude we ought to seek for ourselves in bearing Christ within.

 

In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Common Prayer of the Church, the Magnificat is offered every evening.  The Church and Mary invite you to offer this prayer fo the Magnificat for her singular glory, but also to give expression to your own gratitude for God’s calling for you to bear Christ within the womb and care of Mary.

 

Magnificat from the Liturgy of the Hours

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.  Amen.

The Good God We Seek

It is unfortunate that so few people can comprehend not only the benevolence of the one true God, but so few seek and find that personal relationship with God.  In the end, it is this relationship with God that is all that is going to count.  So many fail to recognize the action of God in their lives, but then so few are willing to yield to God His greatness in goodness toward His creatures.  Do we always know what, or rather Who we are seeking?  And yet He is not entirely beyond our reach.  St. Francis of Assisi has provided us with the following prayer of His that not only gives God praise for Who He is, but also helps those who share his prayer with a better understanding of the God we call upon in our prayers and search.

 

All-powerful, most holy,

most high, and supreme God:

all good, supreme good,

totally good,

You Who alone are good;

may we give You

all praise, all glory,

all thanks, all honor,

all blessing,

and all good things.

So be it.

So be it.

Amen.

Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order, St. Anthony Messenger, 1985, page 100.

 

This is a prayer worth offering often for ourselves to help us recognize God’s footprints in our lives by now having a better idea of just Who He is.

What is the latest, most important concern?

A priest from Iowa once said during a talk in Medjugorje, “It is a historical fact that Christ died two thousand years ago.  But if you think He is off that cross and no longer suffering, it is you who is ignoring the blood from the aborted babies that runs through the streets of America.”

 

There may be many crisis, threats on our freedom and lives, and even realized attacks on our freedom and lives, but none of these concerns change the fact that tomorrow the bodies of persons in the womb will be destroyed by abortion and many others will suffer these losses for a lifetime.  Jesus has not let any of these persons die alone.  Jesus entered the womb Himself, and it is true when He says, “Whatever you do to the least, you do to me.”  Love is not loved in the abortion centers.

When a spirit that will destroy the most innocent of us and harm so many women and men is unleashed on a country and protected by that country’s government, what can be considered safe from spoilage, harm of destruction?  Nothing.

 

We are each called to enflesh the Spirit of Christ with our bodies.  Many of us are called to bring Christ’s presence to the sidewalk outside abortion centers where we offer prayers and help to these persons of the womb, their parents, and the abortion providers.  .  The invitation is a standing invitation.  Come and meet the suffering Jesus.