Catholicism

…If there be any virtue,if any praise of discipline, think on these things

Posted on March 22, 2009. Filed under: Benedict of Nursia, Catholicism, Christianity, Epistle to the Philippians, Religion and Spirituality, United Kingdom |

Douay-Rheims Bible Philippians 4:8
For the rest, brethren,
whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever modest,
whatsoever just,
whatsoever holy,
whatsoever lovely,
whatsoever of good fame,
if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.
+++

Happy Feast of St. Benedict to the
Congregation of Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of Monmarte
Tyburn Convent UK

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In What Way, and For What Reason, the Will of God Permits This and That

Posted on February 18, 2009. Filed under: Catholicism, Christianity, Divine Providence |

HELIOTROPIUM :Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine

By FATHER JEREMIAS DREXELIUS
excerpt from Book One:Chapter Two:
In What Way, and For What Reason, the Will of God Permits This and That
2. Never certainly would such infinite Goodness permit so great wickedness in the world, unless it could thence produce greater good, and turn to salvation things which were devised for destruction. God permitted the jealousy of his brethren to exercise its malice against innocent Joseph; but with how great good was this Permission, not merely to his parents and brethren, but to the whole land of Egypt! God permitted guiltless David to be harassed with the most cruel injuries by wicked Saul, but it was to the greatest advantage of David himself and the entire kingdom of Israel. God permitted Daniel, most unjustly accused, to be cast into the den of lions, but it was to his own great good and that of many others. But why do I mention such as these? God permitted His Own Son to be crucified by murderers, but His Permission was for the ineffable good of the whole human race. And so from every Divine Permission there flow the greatest increase to the Divine Glory, and the richest blessings to the human race. Hence the Goodness of God and His Mercy, hence His Bounty and Power, hence His Providence, hence his Wisdom and Justice shine forth in a way which is altogether wonderful. Hence it is that the courage of many grows, the contest thickens, rewards are multiplied, and crowns of victory are increased.
And how worthy of wonder does Divine Providence show itself in these daily Permissions! For what great thing is it if you have produced good from good? But it is great indeed if you produce good from evil. Anyone can be a pilot in a calm sea, as the saying is. It requires no great skill, when the wind is favorable, the ship stout, the sea calm, the stars shining brightly, and the rowers well-used to their work, to reach the harbor already in sight; but when the winds are raging, the ship dismantled, the sky thundering, pirates lurking around, the rowers unskilled in their work, and the stars hidden from sight, still to reach the wished-for harbor, this in truth is a feat to be admired in a pilot. And such is God in His Permissions. By means of seeming contraries He conducts to a happy end. By means of so many sins of men he advances His Own Glory. In such an accumulation of wickedness He causes His Own dear ones to shine the more conspicuously. Under God’s guidance, acts of fraud turn to the advantage of the person who has been deceived; vexations and injuries add strength to the vexed; the wickedness of so many abandoned men strengthens the piety of others, and preserves them from perishing; and where many are thought to be utterly swallowed up they emerge again. The dungeon and chains opened for Joseph the way to an exalted throne of dignity; the envy of his brethren was of more service to him than the kindness of all the world besides. The treachery of Saul conferred on David a kingly crown. The den of lions raised Daniel higher than any courtiers or kings could have done. From the Cross Christ passed to Paradise; from Olivet He ascended to the Throne with the Father. But if God did not permit sins, and did not ordain what He permitted, and did not by His Ordinance turn them into good, we should have difficulty in recognizing the avenging Justice of God. But in this way we are taught lessons of deeper wisdom, and are constrained to confess a most wonderful order and connection of causes, by which so many blessings emerge at length from evils of such magnitude. There are, therefore, manifold causes for the Divine Permission. And this was the second point.
****

HELIOTROPIUM: CONFORMITY TO THE DIVINE WILL, Fr. Jeremias Drexelius

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Prayers for His Holiness: pass the word… 7 Penitential Psalms & Litany of the Saints

Posted on February 14, 2009. Filed under: Catholicism, Christianity, Pope, Pope Benedict, Pope Benedict XVI, Prayer and Spirituality, Religion and Spirituality |

First Friday Prayers for His Holiness: pass the word…

“The Holy Father asks to be joined by the prayers of all the faithful, so that the Lord may enlighten the path of the Church. May the effort of the Pastors and of all the faithful increase in support of the delicate and burdensome mission of the Successor of Apostle Peter as «custodian of the unity» in the Church”.

*****

7 Penitential Psalms Latin & English

http://www.fisheaters.com/7penitentialpsalms.html

The Seven Penitential Psalms: Psalms 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129 and 142

To download these Psalms in Microsoft Word format (10 pages),

in both English and Latin, with Antiphons and Glorias, click here

Litany of the Saints

Litany of the Saints (3 pages): English Latin

To download an mp3 of this litany prayed in Latin, right click here

Novena of Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI

*****

Sources:

Fisheaters, http://www.fisheaters.com/downloads.html

Hermenuetic of Continuity http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2009/02/novena-of-prayer-for-pope-benedict.html

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Reading – Weekend of 13 February 2009 – 16 February 2009

Posted on February 14, 2009. Filed under: Catholicism, Christianity, Divine grace, Divine Will, Eternal Word Television Network, love, Pope Benedict XVI. Prayer, St. Gaspar |

*The Black Biretta: EWTN is in and with the REAL Church

*HELIOTROPIUM: CONFORMITY TO THE DIVINE WILL, Fr. Jeremias Drexelius

Prayer for Conformity To The Will Of God

O Lord Almighty, Who permittest evil in order to draw good therefrom, hear our humble prayers, and grant that we remain faithful to Thee unto death. Grant us also, through the intercession of Most Holy Mary, the strength ever to conform ourselves to Thy Most Holy Will.

On Devotion to the Precious Blood
***Image:

Pluscarden Abbey, Scotlandhttp://www.pluscardenabbey.org/monasticism.asp

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St Catherine de Ricci, OP

Posted on February 13, 2009. Filed under: Catholicism, Christianity, Dominican Order, Religion and Spirituality |

St Catherine de Ricci, Virgin, Order of Preachers

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Reading Today

Posted on February 12, 2009. Filed under: Catholicism, Christianity, English language, Johansen, Liturgy, Our Lady of Lourdes, Religion and Spirituality, Sacred Music, Vigneron |

Victim souls: a perspective from Lourdes bloggingLOURDES
Père Georges David Byers, Chapelain des Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes
The Immaculate Conception is the victim soul par excellence. She had no dark nights of the senses or soul to go through, for she never had any effects of original sin or personal sin. However, by her very purity, her clarity of vision, her perfect love of God, of her Divine Son, and of the many, she witnessed the infinite gulf between God’s charity and our need. This occasioned in her the knowledge of the way she would be if she were without grace. To know this, she only had to look at her Son on the Cross. Although sinless, immaculate from the first moment of her conception, she knew that that grace only came about because of what Christ was doing on the Cross. Her sorrow was perfect. Her heart was pierced by a sword of sorrow. She saw all the sins of all men of all time in looking upon her Son of the Cross, but she also knew what she would be like. Because of this, she also knew how to thank God perfectly, how to intercede for us perfectly, as our coredemptrix. She’s not our Redeemer, but her intercession matches the grace of redemption perfectly. In this way, ever so simple, so full of love, she is our Mediatrix of all graces as she stood under the grace.

Pledge prayers by poll for the intentions of the Holy Father (closes LATE 11 February 2009)

Ideas for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Vigneron on LiturgyFr.Rob Johansen – Thrown Down “The single greatest problem is the tendency to turn the Liturgy into a focus on the self, rather than on God. Archbishop Vigneron believes these tendencies are misguided, because they “obscure the Christological and Trinitarian focus inherent in liturgy.”

“Liturgy”, he says, “is not entertainment, it is not self-validated. Liturgy is the experience of heaven, not something that happens to me in some sort of emotional-personal state.”
***
Suffering from chronic lack of hope – Fr. Bill Bellrose, CPM – Seminarians for Life
Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, warned (this week) that European society “has made science almighty, it has made progress a substitute for salvation and suffers a chronic lack of hope, where the culture of death gains ground everyday on the culture of life.”

On Sickness and God’s Healing Love “We Are Made for Life”– Zenit

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The Our Father by Fr. Reginald Martin, O.P.

Posted on February 11, 2009. Filed under: Catholicism, Christianity, Dominican, Father, Lourdes, Our Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Prayer, Rosary |

Vol 62 No 1 – Jan – Feb ’09
The Our Father, Part V
Vol 61 No 6 – Nov.-Dec. ’08
The Our Father, Part IV
Vol 61 No 5 – Sep.-Oct. ’08
The our Father, Part III

Vol 61 No 4 – July- Aug. ’08
The Our Father, Part II
Vol 61 No 3 – May-June ’08

The OUR FATHER PART I

The OUR FATHERBy Father Reginald Martin, O.P.
The Perfect Prayer
In his account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, St. Matthew records the fifty-four words that we call either “The Our Father” or “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matt 6:9-13). Composed as it is of the Savior’s own words, this prayer demands our attention, and sets the example for all other prayer.
St. Thomas Aquinas writes at some length on prayer in the Summa Theologica. When he considers the Lord’s Prayer, he quotes St. Augustine, who remarks, “if we pray rightly and fittingly, we can say nothing else but what is contained in this prayer of Our Lord” (II-II, 83.9). St. Thomas teaches that our prayer can only express a desire for something good, and since the Our Father consists of Jesus’ own words, we have Our Savior’s own guarantee that we are seeking everything we may properly desire when we offer this prayer.
But St. Thomas says we should also look at the way the Our Father is structured. The order of the petitions gives us the order in which we ought to desire the good things that God offers us. The Lord’s Prayer, thus, not only teaches us what to pray for, but teaches us the way we ought to ask for the things we desire. Before we consider the words of The Our Father in some depth, let us first consider some general observations on prayer.
The Ends and Means of Prayer
When we pray we do not ask God to bend His will so that it corresponds to ours. Rather, we ask for a clearer understanding of His love, which gives us the confidence to approach Him in prayer, and which reveals His will for us. The first thing we must desire is God, so the Our Father begins by praising God’s glory, and then asks that we may share it. As the prayer continues, we ask God to give us what we need to help us come to His everlasting life, and we ask Him to remove the obstacles that prevent us from devoting ourselves whole-heartedly to His will.
The Five Conditions of Prayer: Confidence
Scripture is filled with admonitions that encourage us to approach God with trust. “Let us go with confidence to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16), “let him ask in faith, with no doubting” (James 1:6), and when we say the words of the Our Father during the Mass, the celebrant invites us to “pray with confidence.”
The words of the Our Father are Jesus’ own words, and we pray them because they are the words Jesus commanded us to use. Simply knowing that we are following Jesus’ instructions should provide assurance that God will hear us. But the privilege of using Jesus’ own words is an additional sign of His friendship. One of the Church’s early theologians, St. Cyprian, remarked, “to plead with the Lord in His own words betokens the prayer of an intimate and devoted friend.”
Rectitude and Order
St. John Damascene, another of the Church’s early theologians, taught, “to pray is to ask fitting things of God.” This may seem obvious, but we need only consider some of our requests to realize that praying rightly is a more challenging task than it appears. St. Paul noted the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s assistance in our prayers, “for we do not know how to pray as we ought” (Rom 8:26), and St. James reminds us that we often pray for what we want, not necessarily what we need. “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:2, 3).
To use Our Savior’s words is to pray with the confidence that we are asking God for the gifts proper to His children. And because the Lord’s Prayer asks first for God’s will to be done, and only then for what will satisfy our physical needs, we have the additional confidence that we are praying in the manner Jesus desires when he commands, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
Devotion
The dictionary defines devotion as “religious ardor or zeal; ardent attachment or affection.” This definition reminds us that our prayer should be characterized by depth rather than length. Jesus introduces the Lord’s Prayer by warning His disciples not to “heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words” (Matt. 6:7). St. Augustine repeats this admonition, “Beware of praying with many words: it is fervent attention that secures a hearing.”
St. John Chrysostom makes a similar point. He notes that Scripture commands us to “be constant in prayer” (Rom 12:13), and makes a helpful distinction between the length of our prayer and the devotion with which we should pray.
He seems to me to command… that neither should we make our prayers long; long, I mean, not in time, but in the number and length of the things mentioned…perseverance…in the same requests is our duty.
St. Thomas asserts that devotion arises from charity, which is our friendship for God. God’s love enables us to love Him in return, and then to love creation as God loves it. In the Lord’s Prayer we express our love for God by calling Him “Father;” at the same time, we express our love for God’s creation by asking Him to “forgive our trespasses,” i.e., the offenses we have committed against others by not loving them as we should.
Humility
Jesus contrasted the example of the Pharisee’s prayer to that of a sinner, and concluded his parable with the words, “every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14). The sinner in this story won Jesus’ praise for the simplicity of his prayer, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” In the Lord’s Prayer we likewise express our utter dependence on God’s mercy, and we do so in the simplest possible terms.
The Benefits of Prayer: Remedy for Evil
The Scripture contains many examples of prayer’s ability to cleanse sinners from the punishment due their sinful actions. Perhaps the most compelling of these examples is that of the so-called “good” thief, who begs Jesus for mercy, and whom Jesus assures that he will share His life in heaven. But prayer is also a protection against falling into sin, as St. James counsels, when he writes, “Is any one of you in trouble, let him pray” (James 5:13).
The Object we Desire
The gospel is filled with assurances that our prayers will be answered. Jesus tells his disciples, “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and you will” (Mark 11:24). Experience, however, teaches that God does not always give us what we ask for. The reason, St. Thomas suggests, is that we do not ask for what is useful to our salvation, and St. Augustine reminds us that God may not grant a request “so as to bestow something preferable.”
Friendship with God
The virtue of justice is the habit of giving each person what he deserves. Because God is infinitely greater than we are, we may not think of justice in our dealings with God. However, our acts of worship are nothing more than God deserves. Prayer is an expression of our willingness to offer God an acceptable gift; at the same time, prayer expresses our confidence, trust, and love. Therefore, prayer enables us to grow in the affection we show God, and equips us better to receive God’s love in return.
Our Father
To call God “Father,” as we do in the Lord’s Prayer, expresses a relation between God and us. St. Augustine wrote, “…by that appellation…love is stirred up – for what ought to be dearer to sons than a father?”
Moreover, we call God Father because He created us – and created us in a special way: in His image and likeness. This is a privilege not granted the rest of creation, and it admits us to an intimacy with God that He did not give His other creatures. We also call God “Father” because – like a human parent – He guides our actions. The rest of creation follows God’s will without choice or thought; God allows us to choose to serve Him, in freedom.
Finally, we call God “Father” because He has made us His children. This may seem no more than common sense, but we must consider what it means to be God’s child. A child is not simply a small person; as a legal entity, a child enjoys certain rights, including the right of inheritance. To call God “Father” acknowledges the greatness of God’s love for us, and expresses the confidence that we are legitimate heirs to His kingdom, a privilege not granted to slaves, clients, or hired hands.
Our Father
Every word of our prayer is important, and St. John Chrysostom reminds us that “by saying not ‘my Father’, which art in heaven, but ‘our Father’,” the Lord’s Prayer creates a bond among God’s children, in which an individual “nowhere [looks] to his own, but everywhere to his neighbor’s good.” This point must not be underestimated: to offer the Lord’s Prayer worthily we implicitly acknowledge both an equality among all people, and a willingness to be reconciled to our neighbor – even our enemies. Chrysostom writes,
…by this He at once takes away hatred, and quells pride, and casts out envy, and brings in the mother of all good things, even charity, and exterminates the inequality of human things, and show how far the equality reaches between the king and the poor man…in those things which are greatest and most indispensable we are all of us fellows…For to all hath He given one nobility, having vouchsafed to be called the Father of all alike.
We do not know how the words of the Lord’s Prayer struck those who heard Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount, but we may imagine how startling the saints’ reflections on Our Lord’s words must have sounded to their contemporaries. St. Augustine warns,
Here… is an admonition to the rich and those of noble birth…when they have become Christians they should not comport themselves proudly towards the poor…since together with them they call God “Our Father,” – an expression which they cannot truly and piously use, unless they recognize that they themselves are brethren.
Our world no longer admits the rigid class distinctions that characterized life in Augustine’s or Chrysostom’s day, but we do not have to look far to discern ethnic tensions in our society, or very real signs of inequality and hostility among groups of individuals. St. Augustine reminds us that each of us stands equally poor and unworthy before God whom we call Our Father – “a relationship which can be brought about by no expenditure of ours, but solely by God’s goodwill.” Our radical equality before God challenges us to look beyond the differences that divide us, and to embrace one another in the common poverty of spirit that unites us before the immensity of God.
Our Rights and Obligations
God gives us the privilege of addressing Him as “Father,” a title that expresses His concern, compassion, and love for us. We may profitably inquire what God asks in return from the individuals He has thus blessed.
A Fourfold Debt: Honor
We are commanded to honor our human parents, and we must show our Father in heaven the same honor. This means giving God the praise due Him, and by living as beings created in His likeness. Our growth in virtue, our practice of the works of mercy, our growing closer to God in prayer are the common means by which we pay Our Father this honor He deserves.
Imitation and Obedience
As children we were all taught, “beauty is as beauty does.” If we are created in God’s image, we not only look like God, we ought to act as He does. St. Paul urges the Ephesians, “be ye imitators of God as most dear children and walk in love” (Eph 5: 1).
Here we must remember that imitating God is an active process. Mercy is not simply sorrow for another, but sorrow coupled with some action to relieve another’s distress. God showed us the greatest mercy by taking on our human nature; we must employ this same human nature to establish – to whatever extent we can – God’s kingdom on earth. We achieve this goal as Jesus did, by being made, as Jesus was, “obedient to the Father unto death” (Phil. 2:8).
Patience
“My son, reject not the correction of the Lord…for whom the Lord loves, He chastens” (Prov. 3:11). God’s plans are often obscure, and we frequently chafe under the delay that accompanies God’s answer to our prayers. The final way we manifest the intimacy of our relation with God is to abandon our own notion of what we need and when we should expect it. To wait is never easy; to wait in hope is to experience complete trust in God’s Providential love.
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The Our Father by Fr. Reginald Martin, O.P.

Posted on February 11, 2009. Filed under: Catholicism, Christianity, Dominican, Father, Lourdes, Our Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Prayer, Rosary |

Vol 62 No 1 – Jan – Feb ’09
The Our Father, Part V
Vol 61 No 6 – Nov.-Dec. ’08
The Our Father, Part IV
Vol 61 No 5 – Sep.-Oct. ’08
The our Father, Part III

Vol 61 No 4 – July- Aug. ’08
The Our Father, Part II
Vol 61 No 3 – May-June ’08

The OUR FATHER PART I

The OUR FATHERBy Father Reginald Martin, O.P.
The Perfect Prayer
In his account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, St. Matthew records the fifty-four words that we call either “The Our Father” or “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matt 6:9-13). Composed as it is of the Savior’s own words, this prayer demands our attention, and sets the example for all other prayer.
St. Thomas Aquinas writes at some length on prayer in the Summa Theologica. When he considers the Lord’s Prayer, he quotes St. Augustine, who remarks, “if we pray rightly and fittingly, we can say nothing else but what is contained in this prayer of Our Lord” (II-II, 83.9). St. Thomas teaches that our prayer can only express a desire for something good, and since the Our Father consists of Jesus’ own words, we have Our Savior’s own guarantee that we are seeking everything we may properly desire when we offer this prayer.
But St. Thomas says we should also look at the way the Our Father is structured. The order of the petitions gives us the order in which we ought to desire the good things that God offers us. The Lord’s Prayer, thus, not only teaches us what to pray for, but teaches us the way we ought to ask for the things we desire. Before we consider the words of The Our Father in some depth, let us first consider some general observations on prayer.
The Ends and Means of Prayer
When we pray we do not ask God to bend His will so that it corresponds to ours. Rather, we ask for a clearer understanding of His love, which gives us the confidence to approach Him in prayer, and which reveals His will for us. The first thing we must desire is God, so the Our Father begins by praising God’s glory, and then asks that we may share it. As the prayer continues, we ask God to give us what we need to help us come to His everlasting life, and we ask Him to remove the obstacles that prevent us from devoting ourselves whole-heartedly to His will.
The Five Conditions of Prayer: Confidence
Scripture is filled with admonitions that encourage us to approach God with trust. “Let us go with confidence to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16), “let him ask in faith, with no doubting” (James 1:6), and when we say the words of the Our Father during the Mass, the celebrant invites us to “pray with confidence.”
The words of the Our Father are Jesus’ own words, and we pray them because they are the words Jesus commanded us to use. Simply knowing that we are following Jesus’ instructions should provide assurance that God will hear us. But the privilege of using Jesus’ own words is an additional sign of His friendship. One of the Church’s early theologians, St. Cyprian, remarked, “to plead with the Lord in His own words betokens the prayer of an intimate and devoted friend.”
Rectitude and Order
St. John Damascene, another of the Church’s early theologians, taught, “to pray is to ask fitting things of God.” This may seem obvious, but we need only consider some of our requests to realize that praying rightly is a more challenging task than it appears. St. Paul noted the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s assistance in our prayers, “for we do not know how to pray as we ought” (Rom 8:26), and St. James reminds us that we often pray for what we want, not necessarily what we need. “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:2, 3).
To use Our Savior’s words is to pray with the confidence that we are asking God for the gifts proper to His children. And because the Lord’s Prayer asks first for God’s will to be done, and only then for what will satisfy our physical needs, we have the additional confidence that we are praying in the manner Jesus desires when he commands, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
Devotion
The dictionary defines devotion as “religious ardor or zeal; ardent attachment or affection.” This definition reminds us that our prayer should be characterized by depth rather than length. Jesus introduces the Lord’s Prayer by warning His disciples not to “heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words” (Matt. 6:7). St. Augustine repeats this admonition, “Beware of praying with many words: it is fervent attention that secures a hearing.”
St. John Chrysostom makes a similar point. He notes that Scripture commands us to “be constant in prayer” (Rom 12:13), and makes a helpful distinction between the length of our prayer and the devotion with which we should pray.
He seems to me to command… that neither should we make our prayers long; long, I mean, not in time, but in the number and length of the things mentioned…perseverance…in the same requests is our duty.
St. Thomas asserts that devotion arises from charity, which is our friendship for God. God’s love enables us to love Him in return, and then to love creation as God loves it. In the Lord’s Prayer we express our love for God by calling Him “Father;” at the same time, we express our love for God’s creation by asking Him to “forgive our trespasses,” i.e., the offenses we have committed against others by not loving them as we should.
Humility
Jesus contrasted the example of the Pharisee’s prayer to that of a sinner, and concluded his parable with the words, “every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14). The sinner in this story won Jesus’ praise for the simplicity of his prayer, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” In the Lord’s Prayer we likewise express our utter dependence on God’s mercy, and we do so in the simplest possible terms.
The Benefits of Prayer: Remedy for Evil
The Scripture contains many examples of prayer’s ability to cleanse sinners from the punishment due their sinful actions. Perhaps the most compelling of these examples is that of the so-called “good” thief, who begs Jesus for mercy, and whom Jesus assures that he will share His life in heaven. But prayer is also a protection against falling into sin, as St. James counsels, when he writes, “Is any one of you in trouble, let him pray” (James 5:13).
The Object we Desire
The gospel is filled with assurances that our prayers will be answered. Jesus tells his disciples, “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and you will” (Mark 11:24). Experience, however, teaches that God does not always give us what we ask for. The reason, St. Thomas suggests, is that we do not ask for what is useful to our salvation, and St. Augustine reminds us that God may not grant a request “so as to bestow something preferable.”
Friendship with God
The virtue of justice is the habit of giving each person what he deserves. Because God is infinitely greater than we are, we may not think of justice in our dealings with God. However, our acts of worship are nothing more than God deserves. Prayer is an expression of our willingness to offer God an acceptable gift; at the same time, prayer expresses our confidence, trust, and love. Therefore, prayer enables us to grow in the affection we show God, and equips us better to receive God’s love in return.
Our Father
To call God “Father,” as we do in the Lord’s Prayer, expresses a relation between God and us. St. Augustine wrote, “…by that appellation…love is stirred up – for what ought to be dearer to sons than a father?”
Moreover, we call God Father because He created us – and created us in a special way: in His image and likeness. This is a privilege not granted the rest of creation, and it admits us to an intimacy with God that He did not give His other creatures. We also call God “Father” because – like a human parent – He guides our actions. The rest of creation follows God’s will without choice or thought; God allows us to choose to serve Him, in freedom.
Finally, we call God “Father” because He has made us His children. This may seem no more than common sense, but we must consider what it means to be God’s child. A child is not simply a small person; as a legal entity, a child enjoys certain rights, including the right of inheritance. To call God “Father” acknowledges the greatness of God’s love for us, and expresses the confidence that we are legitimate heirs to His kingdom, a privilege not granted to slaves, clients, or hired hands.
Our Father
Every word of our prayer is important, and St. John Chrysostom reminds us that “by saying not ‘my Father’, which art in heaven, but ‘our Father’,” the Lord’s Prayer creates a bond among God’s children, in which an individual “nowhere [looks] to his own, but everywhere to his neighbor’s good.” This point must not be underestimated: to offer the Lord’s Prayer worthily we implicitly acknowledge both an equality among all people, and a willingness to be reconciled to our neighbor – even our enemies. Chrysostom writes,
…by this He at once takes away hatred, and quells pride, and casts out envy, and brings in the mother of all good things, even charity, and exterminates the inequality of human things, and show how far the equality reaches between the king and the poor man…in those things which are greatest and most indispensable we are all of us fellows…For to all hath He given one nobility, having vouchsafed to be called the Father of all alike.
We do not know how the words of the Lord’s Prayer struck those who heard Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount, but we may imagine how startling the saints’ reflections on Our Lord’s words must have sounded to their contemporaries. St. Augustine warns,
Here… is an admonition to the rich and those of noble birth…when they have become Christians they should not comport themselves proudly towards the poor…since together with them they call God “Our Father,” – an expression which they cannot truly and piously use, unless they recognize that they themselves are brethren.
Our world no longer admits the rigid class distinctions that characterized life in Augustine’s or Chrysostom’s day, but we do not have to look far to discern ethnic tensions in our society, or very real signs of inequality and hostility among groups of individuals. St. Augustine reminds us that each of us stands equally poor and unworthy before God whom we call Our Father – “a relationship which can be brought about by no expenditure of ours, but solely by God’s goodwill.” Our radical equality before God challenges us to look beyond the differences that divide us, and to embrace one another in the common poverty of spirit that unites us before the immensity of God.
Our Rights and Obligations
God gives us the privilege of addressing Him as “Father,” a title that expresses His concern, compassion, and love for us. We may profitably inquire what God asks in return from the individuals He has thus blessed.
A Fourfold Debt: Honor
We are commanded to honor our human parents, and we must show our Father in heaven the same honor. This means giving God the praise due Him, and by living as beings created in His likeness. Our growth in virtue, our practice of the works of mercy, our growing closer to God in prayer are the common means by which we pay Our Father this honor He deserves.
Imitation and Obedience
As children we were all taught, “beauty is as beauty does.” If we are created in God’s image, we not only look like God, we ought to act as He does. St. Paul urges the Ephesians, “be ye imitators of God as most dear children and walk in love” (Eph 5: 1).
Here we must remember that imitating God is an active process. Mercy is not simply sorrow for another, but sorrow coupled with some action to relieve another’s distress. God showed us the greatest mercy by taking on our human nature; we must employ this same human nature to establish – to whatever extent we can – God’s kingdom on earth. We achieve this goal as Jesus did, by being made, as Jesus was, “obedient to the Father unto death” (Phil. 2:8).
Patience
“My son, reject not the correction of the Lord…for whom the Lord loves, He chastens” (Prov. 3:11). God’s plans are often obscure, and we frequently chafe under the delay that accompanies God’s answer to our prayers. The final way we manifest the intimacy of our relation with God is to abandon our own notion of what we need and when we should expect it. To wait is never easy; to wait in hope is to experience complete trust in God’s Providential love.
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Reading today

Posted on February 10, 2009. Filed under: Catholicism, Latin Mass, Lourdes, Pope Benedict XVI. Prayer, Rosary, Sacred Heart |

UK – alarming! Fr Z.

According to the testimony of Bernadette Soubi...Image via Wikipedia

Creative Minority Report: This Says It All

Capturing the Imagination?

Pledge prayers by poll for the intentions of the Holy Father (closes 11 February 2009)

Ideas for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Guide for Victim Souls of the Sacred Heart
An electronic reproduction of the Guide for Victim Souls of the Sacred Heart of Jesus compiled from various sources by the Very Rev. Joseph Kreuter, OSB. Nihil Obstat: Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D., Censor Librorum. Imprimatur + Stephen J. Donahue, S.T.D., Administrator of New York; 1939. According to the United States Copyright Office the copyright has expired on this book. May the Sacred Heart draw many souls here to read, contemplate and be enkindled. Soli+Deo!

Come and See – February 20-22, 2009 Domincan Vocations for Men

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Fasting

Posted on February 9, 2009. Filed under: Catholicism, Christianity, fasting, Keyes, Kirby, Lent, Roman Catholic Church, Vultus |

We fast in order that we might listen to God – Fr. Jeffrey Keyes ,C.PP.S.

The Holy Father’s Message for Lent 2009 – Vultus Christi

Fasting & Abstinence Q & A
http://www.ewtn.com/library/Liturgy/zlitur121.htm

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