Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

7/26/2010 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sunday's readings remind us that prayer is a gift

So, what is contemplative prayer?  "Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 2715).  It is the prayer of being in love.  How then do we actually do contemplative prayer?  Your contemplative prayer time is going to be a personal journey guided by the Holy Spirit.  However, here are some suggestions that may help you. My dear friends, a serious life of contemplative prayer is very important for the times in which we live. 

Remember the words of St. Theresa of Avila: 'Let nothing trouble you.  Let nothing frighten you.  Everything passes.  God never changes.  Patience obtains all.  Whoever has God, wants for nothing.  God alone is enough' (Poesías 30).

Remember the words of St. Theresa of Avila: "Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough" (Poesías 30).

Article Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/26/2010 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Last week we reflected upon the gospel narrative about Jesus' visit to the home of Martha and Mary.  Martha was upset that her sister would not help her with the details of serving Jesus.  Surprisingly, Jesus corrects Martha. "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her" (Luke 10: 41-42). 

As you may recall, I used last Sunday's gospel passage to speak to you about the gift of contemplative prayer.  I want to continue talking to you about contemplative prayer because it is such an awesome gift.  You do not have to live in a monastery to be a contemplative.  Everyone can be a contemplative.  No matter what your profession may be, everyone has the possibility of having a deep relationship with God. 

So, what is contemplative prayer?  "Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2715).  Contemplation is the prayer of the heart and not of the mind.  Contemplative prayer may focus on a word or a saying or one may simply be in the presence of God.   It is the prayer of the listening heart.  The goal of contemplative prayer is to enter into the presence of God where there are no words, concepts or images.  It is the prayer of being in love. 

How then do we actually do contemplative prayer?  Your contemplative prayer time is going to be a personal journey guided by the Holy Spirit.  However, here are some suggestions that may help you.

Before the Blessed Sacrament - sit or kneel.  Gaze into the Tabernacle or look into the Monstrance.  Be still.  Focus on your breathing.   Ask Mary to help you to pray.  Pray to the Holy Spirit.  Then peacefully repeat a word or a phrase:  Jesus; Jesus I love you; Jesus I trust in you; Father; Father, into your hands I commend my spirit, etc.  Don't continue to repeat the word or the words over and over again.  Only use the word or the phrase when your mind begins to wander.  Focus your gaze on the Eucharist.  Be open to whatever Jesus is asking of you.  

At home - sit or kneel.  Close your eyes.  Again, be still and focus on your breathing. Ask Mary to help you to pray.  Pray to the Holy Spirit.  As before, repeat a word or a phrase, rooted in the scripture, the creed, a prayer or an aspect of our Christian faith.  Do not repeat the word or words over and over again.  Remember to use the word only when your mind begins to wander.  Focus your gaze on the loving presence of God within you.   If you begin to feel embraced by God, be still and be silent.  Just allow the Holy Spirit to pray within you. 

My dear friends, a serious life of contemplative prayer is very important for the times in which we live.  As I mentioned to you last week, the traditional structures of support such as family life, parishes and religious organizations that have made our lives comfortable and easy, are presently engulfed in confusion and meltdowns.  Moreover, we have to live counter-cultural lives in a culture that is more and more out of control.Our being anchored in God is the path to recovery.

God is moving us away from wrongly clinging to things, people and institutions, other than our Life in Him, lived in His Church. He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, into the night of naked faith.  He is calling us to cling only to him. This journey is difficult, frightening at times and even risky.   Remember the words of St. Theresa of Avila: "Let nothing trouble you.  Let nothing frighten you.  Everything passes.  God never changes.  Patience obtains all.  Whoever has God, wants for nothing.  God alone is enough" (Poesas 30).

We have to go through this time of intense purification without falling apart or running off to some island.  Through perseverance, we will become the living witnesses of the God of love that will transform the present culture of death into the culture of life. 

Jesuit Father William Johnston who has written much about contemplative prayer said:  "Properly understood, contemplation shakes the universe, topples the powers of evil, builds a great society, and opens the doors that lead to eternal life".

What are the practical steps that we can take in order to incorporate into our busy lives daily contemplative prayer?

First of all, we need balance in our lives. When was the last time that we enjoyed dinner with family and friends, or turned off our cell phone and refrained from checking our email at every moment? Excessive work and travel, excessive involvement in sports and entertainment are tearing us apart. 

Secondly, contemplation requires the capacity to be alone.  It is difficult to be alone in our contemporary society.  Even when we are alone, the noise of our own worries and fears drown out the silence of God's voice.  Many people are incapable of being alone and they immediately feel an obsession to talk with someone on a cell phone or check their email. 

We all need moments of solitude.  Spending a quiet time before the Eucharist, reading the Scriptures during a peaceful moment at home, taking tranquil walks through the woods or along the beach all are necessary for our soul.  In order to be with God, we must develop the ability to be alone with ourselves. 

Thirdly, we need order in our lives. Working out daily schedules for the entire family by setting   realistic priorities and minimizing extra-curricular activities for the children are steps that we can take.  Early to bed and early to rise is a wise principle which is still valid today.

My dear friends, this Sunday's readings remind us that prayer is a gift. In the first reading Abraham is able to pray persistently to God on behalf of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because he has placed his trust in God.  "When I called you answered me; you built up strength within me" (Psalm 138: 3). 

Saint Paul's Letter to the Colossians reminds us that it is through the Sacrament of Baptism that we have received the gift of faith. "You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead" (Colossians 2: 12).  Faith allows us to pray.  Faith allows us to put all our trust in God. 

Finally, the gospel passage for this Sunday reminds us that prayer is indeed an awesome gift.  "And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?  Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?  If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" (Luke 11: 9-13).

-----

Father James Farfaglia, the Happy Priest, is the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Father has a hard hitting blog called Illegitimi non carborundum.  He has also published a book called Man to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life.  You can contact Father at fjficthus@gmail.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Living Faith

John's Paul II's Doctor: I don't know how he survived the shooting Watch

Image of Pope John Paul II miraculously recovered from assassination attempt. After his recovery, he forgave his would-be killer, visiting him in prison.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The doctor to Bl. Pope John Paul II has explained that he doesn't know how the assassin's bullet intended to kill him did not do so. He also talked about the Holy Father in his last days, as he worked amid failing health. "I don't know how he survived the shooting," ... continue reading


Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action' to end global hunger Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis helped launch a worldwide movement to end hunger through prayer and action. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Catholic Online with Your Catholic Voice Foundation is participating, along vwith Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA and the ... continue reading


Coptic priest added as Pope Francis' second personal secretary Watch

Image of Some say that the appointment of a Coptic Catholic priest is a sign of  Pope Francis' commitment to dialogue with the Arab and Muslim world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Coptic Catholic priest Yoannis Lahzi Gaid has been personally chosen by Pope Francis as his second personal secretary. Lahzi Gaid is currently working in the first section of the Vatican Secretariat of State and is also one of the "translators" who reads the ... continue reading


From an Ancient Easter Homily: Jesus Christ, the Source of Resurrection and Life Watch

Image of

By An Ancient Anonymous Preacher

Thus the passion of our Savior is the salvation of mankind. The reason why he desired to die for us was that he wanted us who believe in him to live for ever. In the fullness of time it was his will to become what we are, so that we might inherit the eternity he ... continue reading


TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: Pope Francis delivers powerful Easter message Watch

Image of Pope Francis enters with his candle symbolizing the light of Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis urged Catholics to share their faith "to the ends of the Earth" during a baptism ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica. The solemn ceremony reminds us that we are called to serve amid the joy of the resurrection. The most enduring call of Christ is for us to ... continue reading


Rome already crushed with pilgrims for historic canonization of Pope John Paul II and John XXIII Watch

Image of Hundreds of thousands packed into Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. This time, the numbers will be far greater.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rome is well-packed with throngs of pilgrims who have begun a week's long vigil awaiting the most historic canonization in world history. Next Sunday, Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized by Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis. ROME, ITALY (Catholic ... continue reading


BREAKING THE RULES or IS HE? Pope Francis washes women's feet and those of undetermined religion Watch

Image of This year, Francis arrived at a center for the disabled and elderly in Rome. Francis kneeled down, washed, dried and kissed the feet of a dozen people, some in wheelchairs, other with grossly swollen and disfigured feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has shown little regard for rules in regards to his papacy. The latest controversy now surrounds his washing the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people, some of who were women and non-Catholics. The pre-Easter ritual, Pope Francis is designed to show ... continue reading


'Priestly joy is a priceless treasure,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of The pope, presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If a priest wants to overcome moments of sadness, exhaustion and boredom, in addition to discovering his true identity, he must head for the exit sign, going outside himself to be with God and his people, Pope Francis said during the Chrism Mass at St. Peter's ... continue reading


Who's ready for the most historic canonization in modern history?

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Are you ready for the canonization of Pope John Paul II? Vatican officials are busy preparing for the historic canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. As they prepare, it's time for use to get ready as well. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - on April 27, a ... continue reading


Pope Francis encourages people to kiss crucifix and recite simple prayer Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is encouraging people this holy week to pick up a crucifix, kiss it and recite the simple prayer: "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord." He wishes to remind others that Christ's passion "isn't the happy ending of a beautiful fairytale, it isn't the ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter