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Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

Eastern Orthodox icon of the Praises      of the Theotokos

Before ending this month of May devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a remembrance of the Holy Mother as the day ends seems to be a good thing to recall for those of us devoted to the Virgin.

As Seculars we are exhorted to “try to recite Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer of the Hours in union with the Church spread throughout the world. When it is possible they will also recite Night Prayer.” (Constitutions III, 24)

Night Prayer, also known as Compline, is said as the last prayer of the day. It is at this time that a brief examen of the day is also to take place. At the end of this prayer there is a hymn to the Blessed Mother. The breviary lists several popular Marian hymns to choose from.

During the Easter season the Regina Coeli is appropriate and can be sung throughout Eastertide and through Pentecost. During Ordinary time the Salve Regina or Hail Holy Queen is an appropriate night time hymn. The Advent season is a good time for focusing on the Alma Redemprois Mater which beautifully connects the Incarnation theme of that part of the liturgical year and can be recited until February 2nd (Candlemas). Then from Candlemas to the end of Lent, the Ave Regina Coelorum is most fitting. For more on the singing of these seasonal Marian hymns go here. To hear these check out the chants here.

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Silence is the longest precept in the Rule of St. Albert written for the Carmelites. We are instructed to keep silence and to work in silence because “silence is the way to foster holiness.” For Carmelites this precept of silence is seen as a means for recollection, not as penance. It is a privative, though a happy one because it is what makes possible our union with God. This is also the most difficult precept of the Rule. There is noise everywhere! A constant montage of noise fills every moment. And if by chance one can escape the exterior noise and find some solitude, then there is the barrage of interior noise that goes on within one’s own self!

What happens in silence is an amazing thing. Robert Cardinal Sarah has a new book titled The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.  In it he stated that, “What is extraordinary is always silent.” This phrase really stuck a cord and moved me to contemplate this thought more.

He goes on to explain that, “The greatest mysteries of the world are born and unfold in silence.” For example a “tree grows in silence.” “Springs of water flow at first in the silence of the ground.” “The sun that rises over the earth in its splendor and grandeur warms us in silence.” (Sarah, p. 34) Other extraordinary things also came to mind as I read this: The dew appears on the grass in silence, and clouds form and grow gathering in the sky, all in silence. A new human life grows in its mother’s womb in silence. Snowflakes fall to the earth in great silence.

At prayer an extraordinary thing also happens. The soul encounters God and unites with Him in heart, mind and will. Therefore the need to move away from the noise, to find secluded places to be alone with God Alone.

In The Twelve Degrees of Silence by Marie-Aimee de Jesus OCD, she expresses this beautifully. “Just as a flower unfolds in silence and its scent worships its Creator in silence, the interior soul must do likewise.” (Marie-Aimee de Jesus, p. 54)

To pray in silence. Silence in the presence of God. This is love in action for a contemplative for “The silence of love is love in silence.” (Marie-Aimee de Jesus, p. 50)

Continue to contemplate these thoughts as I end with one more image from Marie-Aimee de Jesus. “A silent heart is a pure heart; a melody singing in the heart of God. Like a sacristy lamp flickering noiselessly at the tabernacle, and like incense silently rising at the Savior’s throne, such is love’s silence.” (Marie-Aimee de Jesus, p. 51)

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Mary Magdala goes to the tomb early in the morning while it is still dark. Preoccupied with Jesus, nothing keeps her from seeking him. When she gets to the tomb she sees that the stone has been rolled away, and the tomb is empty. She runs to tell the others.

“We, too, (like Mary) have a keen desire to find the Lord: perhaps we have been seeking Him for many long years. Further, this desire may have been accompanied by serious preoccupation with the question of how we might rid ourselves of the obstacles and roll away from our souls the stone which has prevented us thus far from finding the Lord, from given ourselves entirely to Him, and from letting Him triumph in us. Precisely because we want to find the Lord, we have already overcome many obstacles, sustained by His grace; divine Providence has helped us roll away many stones, overcome many difficulties. Nevertheless, the search for God is progressive, and must be maintained during our whole life. For this reason, following the example of the holy women, we must always have a holy preoccupation about finding the Lord, a preoccupation which will make us industrious and diligent in seeking Him, and at the same time confident of the divine aid, since the Lord will certainly take care that we arrive where our owns strength could never bring us, because He will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.” (Divine Intimacy,  p. 420, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.)

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How can one remain in the presence of God? For St. Teresa the Lord can and is to be seen, one just needs to attend to his presence. She would see him “with the eyes of the soul” (Life, Chap 7: 6) So should we since he really is present to us and sees everything and he “never takes his eyes off” of us. He truly is with us. Here is more of what St. Teresa has to say:

“I’m not asking you now that you think about Him, or that you draw out a lot of concepts or make long and subtle reflections with your intellect. I’m not asking you to do anything more than to look at Him. For who can keep you from turning the eyes of your soul toward this Lord, even if you do so just for a moment if you can’t do more? You can look at very ugly things; won’t you be able to look at the most beautiful thing imaginable? Well now, daughters, Your Spouse never takes His eyes off you. He has suffered your committing a thousand ugly offensives and abominations against Him, and this suffering wasn’t enough for Him to cease looking at you. Is it too much to ask you to turn your eyes from these exterior things in order to look at Him sometimes? Behold, He is not waiting for anything else, as He says to the bride, than that we look at Him. In the measure you desire Him, you will find Him. He so esteems our turning to look at Him that no diligence will be lacking on His part’” (Way of Perfection 26: 3)

During any time of prayer we often let that time pass or be lost instead of recollecting them on God, so ask Him to not abandon you during your time of prayer.

Additionally even while occupied physically with others and other occupations one can make brief pauses and interiorly keep recollected with the heart centered and attentive on God. When employed with things like our daily duties, not all our faculties and senses have to be taken up with the task at hand, so let the others be occupied with God. (The Sayings of Light and Love, #117) We can do our daily duties and tasks in such a way that we keep loving attentiveness towards God and His presence. For St. John of the Cross counsels us to “endeavor to remain always in the presence of God, either real, imaginative, or unitive insofar as is permitted by your works.” (Degrees of Perfection)

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A Sacred Space

In today’s new video, Dan Burke demonstrates how to set up a sacred space for prayer, in order to help facilitate meditation. The post How to Set Up a Sacred Space (Video) appeared first on SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction.

via How to Set Up a Sacred Space (Video) — SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

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Though the path is plain and smooth for people of goodwill, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. (Sayings of Light and Love, 3)

A plain and smooth path still needs the effort, “fired with love’s urgent longings” and the determination to never give up but to stay on the course until reaching one’s purpose which, in the spiritual life, is holiness. This path to holiness requires some self denial and conquering of the appetites. St. John of the Cross guides us in conquering the appetites by pointing out that an intense love of God in needed which will give the courage and constancy to practice self denial.

The saint tells us that whenever some joy in some vain pleasure takes hold of the heart, one will need to have “good feet” and try to remove it at the very beginning and to take courage! With courageous effort uproot the attachment while it is small and at the beginning for it will be much harder to do later when it has become deeply rooted. (Ascent Bk III, 20:1)  When one loses courage, St. John says, “ they return to their search for worldly consolations”. (Dark Night Bk 1, 14.5) However St. Paul says we are to be “rooted and grounded in love” so that we may have the  “strength to comprehend” and “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” and  “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:18-19) Courage and strength go together, and strength is found in spiritual reading and in prayer.

However, when courage is “fired with love’s urgent longings” it will not prevent the soul from seeking Him. These urgent longings of love are strong and vehement, so strong that this courage makes “everything seem possible” (Dark Night Bk 2, 13.7) when seeking Him. This courage and strength can move one to suffer for His sake, but only if “vainglory, presumption and the practice of condemning others” (Dark Night Bk 2, 19.3&4) is removed.

In order to seek Him, the soul needs to be courageous and also persevere against the world, the devil and the flesh – all of which prevent one from staying on the path to God. Tenacity of spirit is fueled by a “living hope in God” which gives the courage to elevate one to eternal things. (Dark Night Bk 2, 21.6)

psalm-119-10

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St. Teresa is venerated most highly as the Saint of Spain. Her virtues of faith, love and humility have influenced many throughout the centuries and in the time in which she lived. She still watches over her children, those devoted to her, influencing them with her faith and love of solitude amidst all the dangers and temptations of the present times.

Like the times in which St. Teresa lived, our present age is blemished with the tendency to be overindulgent in material goods and lazy about the spiritual life. The world seeks after scientific wisdom while ignoring or even denying the supernatural. Love is for the pursuit and acquisition of the material and all sorts of pleasures to tantalize the senses. All this captivates the heart and removes all love of God from it.

I’d like to propose this beautiful novena in honor of St. Teresa composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori.

St. Teresa offers a valuable remedy in her writings, teachings and in her devotion to God. Her heroic virtues, mirrored those virtues of Christ and reflected in her beautiful life, are represented in this novena.  Each day highlights one of her virtues for us to meditate on and espouse.

Day 1

O Most amiable Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa: we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy faithful spouse, Teresa, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy Whole Self to us.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

IMG_3539
Day 2

O merciful Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of hope which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa: we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy holy spouse, Teresa, to give us a great confidence in Thy goodness, by reason of Thy precious blood, which Thou hast shed to its last drop for our salvation.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

jesus-precious-blood

Day 3

O most loving Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of love which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most loving spouse, Teresa, to give us the great the crowning gift of Thy perfect love.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

Bringing the Joy of His Presence to All

 Day 4

O most sweet Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the gift of great desire and resolution which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa, that she might love Thee perfectly; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy most generous spouse, Teresa, to give us a true desire, and a true resolution of pleasing Thee to the utmost of our power.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

Day 5

O most kind Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of humility which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most humble spouse, Teresa, to grant us the grace of a true humility, which may make us ever find our joy in humiliations, and prefer contempt before every honor.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

Day 6

O most bountiful Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the gift of devotion towards Thy sweet mother, Mary, and her holy spouse, Joseph, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most dear spouse, Teresa, to give us the grace of a special and tender devotion toward Thy most holy mother, Mary, and toward Thy beloved foster-father, Joseph.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.murillo holy family

Day 7

O most loving Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the wonderful gift of the wound in the heart which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most seraphic spouse, Teresa, to grant us also a like wound of love, that, henceforth, we may love Thee, and give our mind to the love of nothing but Thee.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

Josefa_st.teresa-transv

Day 8

O most beloved Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the eminent gift of the desire for death which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most constant spouse, Teresa, to grant us the grace of desiring death, in order to go and possess Thee eternally in the country of the blessed.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

sickness

Day 9

Lastly, O dearest Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the gift of the precious death which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa, making her sweetly to die of love; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most affectionate spouse, Teresa, to grant us a good death; and if we do not die of love, yet that we may, at least, die burning with love for Thee, that so dying, we may be able to go and love Thee for evermore with a more perfect love in heaven.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

St. Teresa, pray for us!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God, our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the holy virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirt, God for ever and ever. Amen.

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