Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

7/26/2010 (5 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).

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/26/2010 (5 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" (Poesías 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'


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

'Nothing can separate me from the love of God': The first American Ebola patient shares his profound realization on deathbed Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

He was the first American who contracted the deadly Ebola virus - fearful and sick, Dr. Kent Brantly came to realize something important for Christians and their relationship with God. Amid the pain and moments of uncertainty, from being diagnosed positive with ... continue reading


J. Matt Barber: The Meaning of Life

Image of Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law.

By J. Matt Barber

So this was rock bottom. The day, which yet again wore into night with fast food and old Bonanza reruns, would end like all the rest. Where were my car keys? As I searched in preparation for another trip to the liquor store, I made my way to my bedroom and opened ... continue reading


'There is no hope, no life, no hope for an end': 'Donor fatigue' setting in among those helping Christians in Middle East fleeing ISIS Watch

Image of Refugees now realize that they will be unable to return to their homes in Iraq or Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With no end in sight, "donor fatigue" is setting in for those trying to help Middle Eastern Christians fleeing ISIS. There appears to be no solutions, only increasing refugees and more need. The refugees' situation is only getting worse. Refugees now realize ... continue reading


Giant cross at veteran memorial to stay standing with game-changing agreement made Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legal battle over the issue of a giant cross standing over a veterans' memorial has been a long and tedious fight, but an agreement may now put it all to rest, keeping the monument on the land. Atheists and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed legal ... continue reading


A MIRACLE? Virgin Mary painting caught on tape moving lips along with the Lord's Prayer (VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The lips on a painted image of the Virgin Mary, on display at the St. Charbels Church in New South Wales, Australia, were reportedly witnessed moving along with the reading of the Lord's Prayer. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The video featuring the Virgin ... continue reading


Many accuse Pope Francis of socialist, even communist leanings - is he? Watch

Image of The gift of a

By CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis' recent trip to Latin America has rekindled questions about whether he endorses socialism, or even communism. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The gift of a "communist crucifix" from Bolivia's president Evo Morales and uncertainty over the Pope's response ... continue reading


Schedule released for Pope Francis' Jubilee of Mercy Watch

Image of Twelve prominent events, each with the participation of Pope Francis, have been scheduled in Rome for the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy.

By CNA/EWTN News

Twelve prominent events, each with the participation of Pope Francis, have been scheduled in Rome for the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, and CNA was able to glance at details of their programs. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The twelve big events of the Jubilee of ... continue reading


Bible verse discovered on ancient Hebrew scroll unearthed near the Dead Sea Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A burned scroll, speculated to have existed for 1,500 years, was unearthed in 1970 near the Dead Sea, but scientists only now have deciphered the content of the delicate ancient parchment. They were shocked to find the most ancient Hebrew scroll contained a part of the ... continue reading


Why does Pope Francis mention the devil so often? Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Throughout 2013, during Pope Francis' pontificate, he frequently spoke about the Devil. The Argentine bishop of Rome reminded the cardinals who elected him during his first major address; "Let us never yield to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil offers us ... continue reading


Online stalwart Father Robert Barron named auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles Watch

Image of Known for his online videos, which tackle everything from the saints, to the

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

Known for his online videos, which tackle everything from the saints, to the "new atheism," to the latest blockbuster film, Fr. Robert Barron will have a new responsibility: auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, one of the cultural capitals of the world. Los ... 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, Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28
7 Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13
6 Yahweh acts with uprightness, with justice to all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:35-43
35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2015 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... 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