Pray Without Ceasing
Posted 07 May 2012 - 07:29 PM
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.ning you all
As a result I've had a few ways that have helped me to try to live my life as a prayer as it might be said. I have a cousin who is graduating high school this month (my only Catholic cousin) and I have been gathering my essay and such to share with him as a gift as he prepares for going on to culinary school. I hope that my thoughts and mistakes may help strengthen him to not make the same ones, and to know if he does fall a couple of time their is hope in getting back up and trying again. I've posted a bit of my introduction to my thoughts...
...In today’s world we are bombarded with images and words of a culture which does not reflect the truth of God in all ways. We are taught by our culture to be promiscuous, make lots of money, that love is a fleeting feeling and that when that feeling has gone to just throw the relationship away. The world tells us that he who dies with the most toys wins, and that our individual reason is the highest order of correctness. We live in a world that not just cultural relativism, but religious relativism are the most sacred of all things. To stand firm in one’s own belief is difficult.
How do we Catholics then stand a chance? How do we accept and love those around us and not accept their sins? How do we grow spiritually when everything around us wants to draw us away? The answer to all of these questions is God’s Grace, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for us, and Mary the Mother of God who is ready to take us into her loving arms and show us the way to her son.
It is only through prayer that we can grow in understanding of God and love of Jesus. We all must learn to pray with our lives. Most people think of prayer as saying a collection of words, sometimes written down sometimes spontaneous to God. Asking for something or thanking for something. There is however a much deeper level of prayer. Prayer can and should be constant conversation with God by living our very lives for him, appreciating what he gives us, and turning our thoughts towards him always. For myself two key things have helped me to grow in praying constantly. First a true appreciation of the creation and gift of food by God, and second the theology of the body.
So my question to all of you is...what have you found in your lives that helps you to pray without ceasing?
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Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:09 PM
A heightened love for the world and for creation. Gazing in awe at elements of nature, marvelling at the splendour of creation, recognising the greatness of God in the world and in others. Reading Scripture and applying it to the world.
Spending time in Adoration. Something happens to me when I do that. I don't quite understand it...it's like I move out of my body somehow. And when I spend time with the Lord and in the hours afterwards, I am filled with peace. God becomes incredibly close, and my heart reaches an unparalleled level of wholeness. Maybe that sounds incredibly bizarre, but it's an amazing feeling for me.
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Posted 20 May 2012 - 01:00 AM
Another small thing I have is a Rosary ring and another ring with a Crucifix. The one with the Crucifix is on the same hand that I wear my watch on. So whenever I check my watch I also see that ring which reminds me of Jesus. Having a visible reminder can be a big help.
Posted 20 May 2012 - 06:13 AM
For me, the “anchor moments” TheresaThomas refers to during the day are prime. I think it is probably near on impossible to raise our hearts and minds above the aspirations and concepts of this world without prayer and daily regular prayer - prayer that will fit in around the duties and obligations of our state in life, whatever these might be. Such a regular prayer life, will recall at other times during the day that we are indeed always in the Presence of The Lord. I must admit that I don’t find it at all difficult to stay firm in Faith in the midst of the world and its so called ‘attractions’. At 66 years of age (the mature years often see the more difficult struggle and distracted years in past tense - very thankfully and in Hope on my part!) Most often the aspirations of this world I do not find attractive at all. Those that hold attraction for me are usually ’legit and valuable’ relaxing moments for which I am grateful to God with thanksgiving - with TV or a book, or some social occasion especially with family and friends. The visiting of friends and neighbours. Shopping expeditions, which I can thoroughly enjoy, though usually just for necessary groceries. I also enjoy walking and have come to enjoy bus travel having sold my car years ago. It is amazing the stories one can hear chatting with someone on a bus. - sad stories, happy stories and inspirational and enlightening ones. You just neverknow who you will be sitting by on a bus! I have a saying for myself “celebrate also in human ways, to thank in quite human ways He who became human for my sake”.
There is the Mass and The Sacraments and other ‘space opportunities’ that crop up here and there to raise the heart and mind to focus on Him and worship and adore. There is the reading of sound spiritual/theological works and what is put out by The Holy Father in various ways, including the Documents and Apostolic Exhortations of The Church.
There is good music. Music can move the spirit.
Prayer is simply the raising of the heart and mind to God and God is present in absolutely all the situations and circumstances in the most worldly of environments. Nothing in the whole universe exists nor can exist without Him. It is learning to listen to life and for God’s Presence and His Voice in life and His Invitations and Calls. He may be inviting to prayer for repentance for ourselves or others, to speak on the subject of spirituality, Faith or Catholicism, to thank Him for some gift, to endure for love of Him through some suffering - and etc. etc. He may be asking one to offer words of encouragement, empathy etc. to another. Through nature or the goodness we view in another, He may be inviting us to praise Him and thank Him for His Goodness reflected in His world and in others, His children - and etc. etc. He is always present - and calling, offering His Graces- in every single situation of our lives nothing exempted, even in the midst of a very often distracted and fast paced, spiritually ignorant, world. He is absolutely everywhere in all things and never absent anywhere. And whenever I am conscious of this my heart and mind raises to Him. I have rather often been absolutely inspired in what I would have thought to be the most unlikely of situations and by what I thought to be the most unlikely of people. The Holy Spirit is present everywhere, everywhere - and can totally surprise!
I heard years ago about a statue in London of Jesus that during the blitz was almost totally destroyed. After the war, it was repaired; however, the hands were never found nor was there any attempt to replace them. The statue of Jesus remains today without hands. Under the statue is an inscription “He has no hands but yours”.
The motto of St Benedict and Benedictines is "Orare et Labore" (something like that! my lousy Latin again!) meaning "Prayer and Work" and it has application to the lay life too. We are called into the world - and for the world - on the mission of Jesus "go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature" - hence our work is involvement with the world with all the difficulties and problems, headaches and heartaches, it can present.
Edited by BarbaraTherese, 20 May 2012 - 06:29 AM.
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Posted 20 May 2012 - 11:08 PM
“celebrate also in human ways, to thank in quite human ways He who became human for my sake”.
I see many jewels of thought in your post BarbaraTherese this one struck me powerfully. Thanks.
Posted 21 May 2012 - 04:06 AM
Oh for the gift of conciseness!
Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:57 AM
I was wondering if some of you old-timers here in Transmundane Lane would like to write a guest post for this series.
You always have such thoughtful and insightful ideas to offer (to be honest, they have scared my infant self away from posting here on a number of occasions...) and I think it would be simply wonderful if I could get your perspectives in the series.
Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:36 PM
I don't know if I qualify as "old timer" or not, but I think I would be able to write something and let you decide if you would like to use it.
Thank you, Padre! I would like it very much if you did I'll message you....
Posted 17 June 2012 - 10:13 AM
Prayer is simply the raising of the heart and mind to God
This says it all, for me. There is so much in that one simple phrase.
My favourite little prayer phrase ( we used to call these 'ejaculations' when I was in the convent but I have not seen or heard this term in a very long time!)
'All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well'.
Bl Julian of Norwich.
Edited by maximillion, 17 June 2012 - 10:18 AM.
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Posted 20 June 2012 - 12:58 AM
The quotation about prayer as the raising of the mind and heart to God is drawn from St Therese of Lisieux, although I do not think it she was the first to say it. If memory serves, it has a history going back to St Teresa of Avila and probably even earlier. But it was in reading St Therese and her autobiography that it clicked into place for me personally.
I recall from primary school encouragement to make little ejaculations often during the day and the nuns shared many with us. One of those "Hands up who remembered to..............yesterday" type of things from schooldays. We dont hear about ejaculations any more to my recollection either and a sad loss to spirituality. So much that was truly worthy and valuable is now seemingly silent - and yet will not loose anything of worth and value one iota as time marches on - so much has been lost in the march of time, but some still remember. Thank you, maximillion, for the reminder!
"All for Thee, Sacred Heart of Jesus, oh My Saviour all for Thee"
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul."
"St Joseph, patron of a happy death, pray for us"
"Jesus, Son of David, have Mercy on us"
"Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us"
And of course, one can make up one's own ejactulations to simply raise one's heart and mind to God during the day and given time, it can become a habit to do so - and a good habit.