Skip to content

The Happy Priest: Lent and Developing a Serious Life of Prayer

By Fr. James Farfaglia
3/7/2012 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Prayer is the Path to Freedom and Human Flourishing

Have no fear of allowing Jesus to enter into your life.  Do not fear the most exciting, most joyful and the most powerful relationship known to the human person. We are made by God to live forever.  We have been given the gift of an immortal soul.  Jesus does not want us to live a life of sadness.  He does not want us to wallow in doubt, frustration and uncertainty.  He wants us to live.

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/7/2012 (4 years ago)

Published in Lent / Easter

Keywords: Lent, Catholic spirituality, prayer, Fr. James Farfaglia, Get Serious


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Happiness and success in this life are only possible with a serious relationship with God.  The duties of family life, work and school take up most of the hours of each day.  Therefore, a well-organized and realistic schedule of your time is necessary in order to have the quiet moments that you need in order to develop a serious spiritual life.

Remember, Jesus wants us to have life.  He wants us to be happy.  He wants us to have the best possible life here on earth.  He wants to fill us with his divine life, sanctifying grace, so that we may enter into his joy.  He wants us to experience his peace.  He wants us to be with him in eternal life in heaven.  He only wants the best for us.  This is why he wants us to open our hearts to him and let him enter in.

Have no fear of allowing Jesus to enter into your life.  Do not fear the most exciting, most joyful and the most powerful relationship known to the human person. 

We are made by God to live forever.  We have been given the gift of an immortal soul.  Jesus does not want us to live a life of sadness.  He does not want us to wallow in doubt, frustration and uncertainty.  He wants us to live. By embracing God's will and by carrying our cross with patience, joy and love, we can find deep happiness even in the midst of profound suffering. 

Nevertheless, it is true that prayer is not an easy enterprise.  The spiritual life will always be a battle.  There always will be obstacles that are necessary to overcome if we wish to live a life of prayer.

My book Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics offers a practical guide as to how your prayer life should look like and how it can develop to different levels of spirituality.  My book also contains all of the basic Catholic prayers and an instructional guide on how to get into meditation and contemplative prayer. 

First of all, many people struggle with distractions when they pray.  I have always encouraged people to be patient when they are distracted. However, it is true that distractions are rather normal, especially for all those who are beginning to develop a prayer life. 

Personal discipline, choosing a suitable place, using a good text when necessary and selecting a proper time for prayer are all important aspects when determined to overcome distractions in prayer.

Secondly, aridity is another major obstacle that people struggle to overcome.  However, it must be understood that spiritual dryness is a normal road of purification that the Lord uses in order to bring us to greater heights of the spiritual life. 

The quality of prayer must not be measured by personal feelings.  Feelings come and go.  Our personal experience of God through prayer will fill us with peace and provide renewal and strength, but it is important that we leave consolations to the will of God. 

Thirdly, many people become impatient with God because they want instant answers.  God is not a computer.  Our God is a loving Father who knows all of our needs. 

Finally, probably the biggest obstacle is that most people are just too busy.  Too many people are like Martha, "anxious and worried about many things" (Luke 10: 41). Too many people have fallen into the terrible trap of what I call the idolatry of work, thus making their work a complete obsession to the detriment of their families and personal health.  Most Americans live in order to work rather than work in order to live.  Man was not made for work; work was made for man.

Prayer is a struggle.  The struggle is intertwined with blessings, moments of profound peace and the obvious presence of God. Trust and perseverance: two lessons that we are reminded of as we read over the gospels. 

In order that we may experience God in our daily lives we need to pray every day.  Mother Theresa once said: "We need to find God and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees and flowers and grass--grow in silence. See the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life."

But, in order to pray, we need to obtain the ability to be alone with ourselves.  It is difficult to be alone in 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 fool around with 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, are necessary activities for our soul.  In order to be with God, we must develop the ability to be alone with ourselves. 

Silence will deepen any relationship.  Silence allows us to listen and to gaze.  Let us take the time to be silent so that we can grow in our relationship with the One who always seeks us and calls us to himself. 

Prayer is not always easy.  There will be moments when you simply do not feel like praying.  You will battle with distractions and moments of dryness.  Do not worry.  Welcome to the human race.  Stick to your prayer schedule.  Persevere and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit. 

I honestly do not know what it takes for people to really want to pray.  Perhaps spiritual thirst is a gift.  However, we need to remember the words of Sacred Scripture: "The nearer you go to God, the nearer he will come to you"

-----

Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX.  Check out Father's updated website to learn more about his books, homilies and audio podcasts.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2017
Comfort for the Afflicted.
That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.


Comments



More Lent & Easter


'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead'

Luke 24:46

Lent Event

Importance

Ash Wednesday

March 1, 2017

Image of Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting... continue reading

Palm Sunday

April 9, 2017

Image of Palm Sunday Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels... continue reading

Holy Week

April 9 - 15, 2017

Image of Holy Week On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by... continue reading

Holy Thursday

April 13, 2017

Image of Holy Thursday Holy Thursday is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover... continue reading

Good Friday

April 14, 2017

Image of Good Friday On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week... continue reading

Easter Sunday

April 16, 2017

Image of Easter Sunday Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I calls it the greatest feast, and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter... continue reading

Stations of the Cross

Every Friday

Image of Stations of the Cross Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion... continue reading

Fasting and Abstinence

Every Friday

Image of Fasting and Abstinence For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the... continue reading

Image of What did you give up for Lent? From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year... continue reading

Ascension of Our Lord

Thursday May 25, 2017

Image of Ascension of Our Lord The Ascension of Our Lord, a Holy Day of Obligation, celebrates the day that Christ, in the presence of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven. The Ascension occurred on the 40th day of Easter, a Thursday... continue reading

Pentecost

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Image of Pentecost Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16) and Corinthians (16:8)... continue reading

Image of Lent FAQ's Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple... continue reading

Mardi Gras

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Image of Mardi Gras In France, the people feasted on foods that would be given up during the forty days of Lent. Meats, eggs, and milk were finished off in one day, giving the holiday its French title of 'Mardi Gras' which means Fat Tuesday... continue reading

Image of Transformed by Easter The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community... continue reading

Image of Appearances He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. - Matthew 28:6. Learn more about the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Christ... continue reading

Image of Easter Gifts CatholicShopping.com offers a variety of Easter gifts & Easter treats for all ages! Choose a gift for someone special and celebrate the joy of Easter... continue reading

Easter / Lent News

Pope Francis delivers special Lenten message (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of Pope Francis warns us against ignoring God's word.

Pope Francis released a beautiful Lenten message titled "The Word." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lent begins Wednesday, March 1 and ... continue reading


Did you know the Catholic Church has a birthday? Watch

Image of Pentecost is widely considered the birthday of the Catholic Church.

Happy birthday to the Catholic Church! Happy birthday to you, who are the body of the Church! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - We're all ... continue reading


8 thought-provoking Easter quotes to inspire Watch

Image of Easter is more than eggs and bunnies.

We all love to celebrate Easter with brightly colored hard boiled eggs, candy, cute pictures of bunnies and chicks and we all love to ... continue reading


The surprising origins of the Easter Bunny -- it's not what you think! Watch

Image of Rejoice! The beloved Easter Bunny has very Christian origins.

The Easter Bunny is a symbol of Easter that is popular in western culture, especially with children. According to folklore, the Easter ... continue reading


'The Easter message of the risen Christ': Listen to Pope Francis' Easter Mass Watch

Image of Pope Francis celebrated the Easter Mass and focused on Christ and refugees (Reuters).

On Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, Pope Francis stood before pilgrims gathered at St. Peter's Square for the traditional Urbi et Orbi ... continue reading


The Lent and Easter Season... by CatholicShopping.com

Never Miss any Updates!

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

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.