Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

7/18/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Silence is the first step that is necessary in order to embark upon the journey of contemplative prayer

A serious life of contemplative prayer is very important for the times in which we live. The traditional structures of support that have made our lives comfortable and easy are presently engulfed in confusion, but transformation is slowly taking place. God is moving us away from clinging to things, people, and institutions.  He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, into the night of naked faith.  He is calling us to cling only to him.

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.

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.

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/18/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in Living Faith


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Excessive anxiety, worry and fear rob many people of their inner peace.  The stresses caused by the demands of modern life are having serious consequences on people's mental health, which in turn are having serious effects on people's physical health. 

Those who suffer from a lack of inner peace due to anxiety, worry and fear quickly turn to medications to relieve their pervasive symptoms.  The amount of Americans taking sleeping pills and the amount of children and teenagers taking some kind of medication for anxiety are astounding. 

This Sunday's Gospel narrative provides the solution for the epidemic loss of inner peace.  Martha's sister Mary, rather than being anxious and worried, sat beside Jesus and listened to him.  Her actions are those of a woman of prayer.

We experience God through our life of prayer.  Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is a continual being in love because God is real and personal.   No matter what might be going on in our lives, we must always pray, and pray daily.  Prayer is the air that we breathe. 

When I speak to you about a life of prayer, I am not referring to the mere saying of prayers.  I am talking about something much deeper.  There are different types of prayer.  One form of prayer is vocal prayer and another form of prayer is mental prayer.  There are two types of mental prayer.  One form of mental prayer is meditation and the other form of mental prayer is contemplation. 

Meditation and contemplation are quite different.  The person who meditates usually uses the Scriptures or some other spiritual book.  Contemplation does not employ any books at all.  Contemplation is the prayer of the heart and not of the mind.  Contemplative prayer may focus on a word or a phrase from the scripture, or one may simply be in the presence of God. 

Martha's sister Mary knew how to go deeper.  She was a contemplative.  She sat in the presence of Jesus and simply listened.   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 Jesus. 

One of the greatest challenges that we encounter is our inability to listen to God.  We are caught up in the distractions of daily life that prevent us from really encountering God.
Our busy lives require refreshing times of prayer throughout the day.  If we fail to incorporate prayer into our schedules, we will live our lives as if God does not even exist. 

Silence is the first step that is necessary in order to embark upon the journey of contemplative prayer.  We can only be with God if we can calm down our mind and be silent.  During the day it is important that we take time to turn off the TV, the radio and the computer.  It is necessary that we turn off the anxieties and worries flowing through our minds. 

A serious life of contemplative prayer is very important for the times in which we live. The traditional structures of support that have made our lives comfortable and easy are presently engulfed in confusion, but transformation is slowly taking place. God is moving us away from clinging to things, people, and institutions.  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. 

However, without the silence and solitude of daily contemplative prayer, anxiety and fear may overwhelm us. If we are a people who live truly spiritual lives, we will be filled with peace and joy no matter what may be going on around us.

St. Teresa of Avila, the famous Spanish mystic, once wrote: "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).

It is true that we are experiencing profound challenges.

This may sound a bit extreme, but I have reached the conclusion that the only way that we will be able to handle the challenges of our times and the difficulties that are to unfold is through the exercise of daily contemplative prayer. This is true because contemplative prayer allows us to experience the peace that only God can give us. 

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. We might ask ourselves when was the last time that we stopped to watch the sunrise or the sunset?  Can we recall walking on the beach, enjoying the fragrance of a beautiful flower, cherishing the innocent smile of a child or gazing at the moon and the night sky filled with stars?

Again we might ask ourselves 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?

Ours is an anxious and chaotic world.  Isn't time that we got back into balance? Excessive work and travel, excessive involvement in sports and entertainment are tearing us apart.  The experience of God through contemplative prayer will restore balance and peace into our busy lives. 
 
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.

However, many people will say that all of this sounds wonderful, but who has the time for contemplative prayer?  Too many people are like Martha, "anxious and worried about many things". Too many people have fallen into the terrible of 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.  Man was not made for work; work was made for man.

This Sunday's gospel passage allows us to reevaluate our lives.  We need to set proper priorities so that deep contemplative prayer can be a daily part of our experience with God.  Try it.  You will be amazed at the results. 

"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).

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

Priest to lead pilgrims on 104 mile walk to see Pope Francis in Philly - Here's how you too can make a pilgrimage Watch

Image of Pilgrims in Scotland make a Good Friday trek burdened with crosses. Many Catholics around the world still make pilgrimages, even if they are the work of just a day.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An intrepid group of about 20 pilgrims will be making the 104 mile walk from Baltimore to Philadelphia to attend Mass with Pope Francis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Remember, our Lord walked to all of his appointments," Fr. John J. Lombardi told Catholic ... continue reading


Atheists force portrait of Jesus out of Kansas public school Watch

Image of The portrait of Jesus that has been on display at the school since the 1950s.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Local residents in Chanute, Kansas expressed anger after the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully filed a petition for the removal of a portrait of Jesus Christ, which had been hanging for over 60 years in a Kansas public school.   ... continue reading


Pilgrimage with Pope Francis - SECOND STATION - St. Francis patron saint of animals and ecology

Image of Welcome to the virtual shrine to St. Francis.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Welcome to the second station on our virtual pilgrimage to Philadelphia with Pope Francis ahead of the World Meeting of Families. Let us pray! About St. FrancisSaint Francis was born to a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, Italy. Raised in a wealthy home, the young ... continue reading


Philadelphia prison inmates design chair for Pope Francis, and hope he will pray with them - Victims want their voices heard too Watch

Image of An inmate proudly shares the seal made for Pope Francis' seat.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will meet with prison inmates during his visit to Philadelphia. In anticipation of this arrival, inmates have built him a special chair to use. His visit will bring hope to inmates and their families as he shares the restorative message of Christ with ... continue reading


Pope Francis declares parents tasked with teaching their children how to pray Watch

Image of

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

On Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his weekly catechesis on the family, saying that parents have the responsibility to teach their children to pray. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Delivering his address to pilgrims and visitors, gathered under the hot sun for ... continue reading


Before TWO MILLION pilgrims arrive, Philly vendors plan to cash in with kistch Watch

Image of Enterprising vendors are hoping to earn some toasty profits when Pope Francis arrives in Philadelphia.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The arrival of Pope Francis and some two million pilgrims in Philadelphia next month is expected to bring a windfall to most of the businesses in the city which can remain open during the visit. Businesses will have a single weekend to entice pilgrims to visit their ... continue reading


No school days for working children

Image of

By Tony Magliano

It's that time again when adults take off to celebrate Labor Day, and kids head back to the adventures a new school year. But for millions of children worldwide the adventures of a new school year remain but a dream. Sadly, these children will never learn to read or ... continue reading


PRIDE is the sin the devil likes the most Watch

Image of It has been nine years since Fr. Gallego was appointed as exorcist. In an interview conducted by the Spanish daily El Mundo, the priest said that in his experience, pride is the sin the devil likes the most.

By CNA/EWTN News

Is an exorcist afraid? What is the devil's favorite sin? These and other questions were tackled in a recent interview with the Dominican priest, Father Juan Jose Gallego, an exorcist from the Archdiocese of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. (CAN/EWTN) - It has ... continue reading


Former President Jimmy Carter stays close to God during difficult times Watch

Image of Jimmy Carter holds on to his faith as he battles cancer.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former president Jimmy Carter holds on to his faith while undergoing radiation treatment for the spread of brain cancer. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - In a recent appearance at Maranatha Baptist Church, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter shared the ... continue reading


Do We Really Believe in the Resurrection of the Body and the Life of the World to Come? Watch

Image of Seated at the right hand of the Father, he works unceasingly in the world, to draw men into the Church and through it to join them more closely to himself.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. His salvation is offered extended to all men and women. That salvation is not only about our souls, but about the whole human person. It will only be complete when we are raised from the dead and dwell in the kingdom to come. He ... 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, First Thessalonians 4:1-8
1 Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 97:1, 2, 5-6, 10, 11-12
1 Yahweh is king! Let earth rejoice, the many isles ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:1-13
1 'Then the kingdom of Heaven will be like this: Ten ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 28th, 2015 Image

St. Augustine of Hippo
August 28: St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his ... 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