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Friday, March 15, 2013

Pope Francis - A Humble Begining

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"Now I would like to give my blessing. But first, I will ask a favor. Before the bishop blesses his people, he asks that you pray to the Lord to bless me, the prayer of the people for the blessing of their bishop. Let's pray for me in silence."

When I first heard this request for prayer I had trouble understanding it.  The pope is supposed to bless us and then get on with all of his popely duties.

He asked us to pray for HIM? WOW!!!

It all began to make sense as I soaked in the event. I was watching the events unfold at work - in my boss' office.  I am pretty sure this was not the scene in every business office in Western North Carolina, but I work in a Catholic parish. Not you typical Catholic parish, but a Catholic parish run by Jesuits.  Jesuits are a special breed and in the presence of two of these men, Pope Francis' request began to seem very typical.  The Jesuits are very spiritual men. This request was very Jesuit - or rather very Ignatian. The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) was founded by St Ignatius of Loyola.

Keep an eye on this blog for much more about Francis and Ignatian Spirituality.


Friday, February 15, 2013

The Five Ps of Prayer

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I suppose there is no absolute wrong way to pray, but if you want to be sure to hit all of the key areas of prayer...

I present the five Ps of prayer as defined by Father Michael Denk.

Prepare: Know ahead of time what you are going to pray with. Look at it early in the morning, meditate upon it throughout the day.
Posture: We are human beings and we pray with our bodies. Find a posture that you can be relaxed and comfortable so your body is not a distraction during prayer.
Presence: Take a moment before prayer to realize that you are in the Presence of God. Invite the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and teach you how to pray.
Passage: Go to the Word, Icon, or nature. Become familiar with it and rest with whatever word, image, phrase, sense God speaks to you. Be still.
Place: Find a place that is good for prayer. A place of silence where you will not be disturbed. Make a place significant for praying – i.e. candle, crucifix, bible.

Spur of the moment prayer is still effective, but we truly have a personal relationship with God. Sure, you can have a quick conversation with a friend or write a quick note/text, but if you have something very important to say you will at least think about what you need to say before you say it or write it. If you are writing a love letter (are they still written?) there will likely be a couple of versions. If you are writing a grant for funding of an important project, there will be many revisions.

Make time for God and the benefits will shine forth.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Back at it

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Has it really been three years since my last post? Wow!
The prolonged absence has not been an indication of my prayer life. In fact, far from it. My prayer life has blossomed, and I will try to share with you my experiences you. I am confident that the sharing of the past few years will be a benefit to me and I hope you can find the right inspiration for an increase in the amount and quality of your own prayer life.

I stumbled upon this blog again because I was searching for an online prayer journal. I still have not found what I am looking for but finding this blog again has given me inspiration to get back into sharing my journey with others. It turns out that over the past few years I have traveled quite far on my prayer journey.

A year ago I completed the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola. Before I started I thought I had a decent spirituality (whatever that means) and knew how to pray. Boy, I was wrong. I was directed through the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life. This is a once a week direction through the exercises as opposed to the intended 30 day retreat. The Exercises were fruitful and I have since begun training to become a Spiritual Director. I feel I have a lot to share as a result of the past couple of years and what lies ahead.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Against All Odds

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Young David beat that Philistine. He was told it could not be done. He knew better. He used the skills God had already given him. He stood up to his foe and proclaimed his Lord as his deliverer. The simple sling and stone brought down the enemy. Simple items - and a lot of faith.

How often do we face insurmountable odds and just give in?

Prayer For Courage

Dear God, give me courage,
for perhaps I lack it more than anything else.

I need courage before men against their threats
and against their seductions.

I need courage to bear unkindness,
mockery, contradiction.

I need courage to fight against the devil,
against terrors and troubles, temptations,
attractions, darkness and false lights,
against tears, depression, and above all fear.

I need Your help, dear God.

Strengthen me with Your love and Your grace.

Console me with Your blessed Presence
and grant me the courage to persevere
until I am with You forever in heaven.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Comfort Zone

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Comfort Zone

How often do we go out of our comfort zone or out of our way for God?

The Psalmist started both Psalms 96 and 98 with this idea:

Sing a new song to the LORD, who has done marvelous deeds, Whose right hand and holy arm have won the victory.

Were you ever in a choir or a band? I was. In 5th grade I was in the children's choir. I cannot remember if I wanted to be in it, was asked to be in it or was told to be in it. Either way, I was in it. I did not hate it. I do not think I was aware of the importance of it (leading the congregation in song) or the love behind it (praising God), but I did it.

It seems like we had a new song to learn every week. New songs were not easy. They were not fun. Sister Grace made us go over them - over and over again. She was happy when we finally got it.

God is a lot like Sister Grace - though I do not picture him as an elderly, 250 lb plus nun in full habit. God is happy when we "sing" the old standards - or serve/praise him as we usually do. He gets really excited when "learn a new song" - or find a new way to love Him.

Do something extra today to love and serve our Lord!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This Little Light

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In my last post, I mentioned my son's recent hospitalizations. Two weeks ago he underwent his 20th surgery in his eight years. The surgery itself went well and did what it was supposed to do. His recovery, on the other hand, is not going as smoothly. This is the first time he has suffered any post-operative complications. At first we were crushed or shocked or scared, but everything is turning out alright.

My son was born handicapped. We were told before he was born that he would be disabled. We cried a little. Very little. We poured ourselves into learning about his birth defect and we prayed. Over the past 8 1/2 years a lot of prayers have been said. Not just by us but also by family members, friends, church parishioners and by complete strangers. Over the past 90 days God has heard lots of prayers of petition for him as well as many recent prayers of thanksgiving. He has become and remained the wonderful little but that he is due to many prayers and growing up a Christian.

The Good Book tells us my son and anyone else that has any sort of affliction is here to show the love of God. To be a light.

As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, "Go wash 3 in the Pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see. His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?" Some said, "It is," but others said, "No, he just looks like him." He said, "I am."

Chapter 2 from John's Gospel
God loves to hear from us. He loves even more for us to show off his love for us. Learn not to see disabilities as a curse. Learn to use them to show-off God.

The Light of God before me.
The Light of God behind me.
The Light of God above me.
The Light of God beside me.
The Light of God within me.

From the Prayer of St. Patrick


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summer Vacation

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It has been three months since I have posted to the Prayer Warrior Blog. It has not been so much due to my lack of interest but more to how summer vacation changes my daily grind. I am the Assistant Director of Religious Education at our local Catholic Church. Throughout the school year, I have a schedule that allows me many liberties and offers great flexibility. Every weekday morning I am able to see the kids off to school and three of the afternoons I am home when the kids get off the bus. I am at work for 10 hours on Sunday, but it is at church and very few of those hours are spent behind a desk. Working on Sunday and the two other days we offer faith formation programming is very close to pure joy. I consider myself very lucky.

Summertime, on the other hand, causes work to seem more like work. Other than a week of VBS and two one-week intensive Summer Faith Formation sessions we are occupied with administrative and organizational tasks. Also, many days I have to 'drag' one or both of my kids to work. My son is handicapped and has a nurse's assistant to watch over and care for him while I am at work. Sometimes she cannot make it in. My daughter is now old enough to stay home, but usually wanted to come to work with me just to get out of the house.

Our summer did have some of the typical and atypical breaks in the routine, though none of them brought with them a push to return to my blogging. Once school got out, we went to Florida for a glorious week-long family reunion with my family. It was awesome. In July my son became ill and spent a week in the hospital. I stayed with him each night. The illness postponed a surgery he was to have in July to August. A week and a half ago he had this surgery and it went well. The Dr. was pleased. The recovery has been another issue. He is OK, but he far from being the little boy we brought to the hospital. The prognosis is for a full recovery, but we have no idea how long it will take of if it will be a total recovery. We do have our faith and prayer - many prayers.

So, with all that said I am eager to get back to my regular routine and the Prayer Warrior Blog.

Lord of heaven and earth; maker of all things including today. Father, I pray for this, the first day of school. Would your mighty hand rest securly upon the administration of our schools as they seek to guide our children through this school year. May you influence and guide their decisions and actions. Mighty God, would you settle upon the teachers that have direct contact and influence on our children; allow them to teach well and boldly. Lord Jesus, protect and guide our children as they ride the buses, walk the halls and interact together. Lord of all, I pray that when we look back on this, another school year, we see your finger prints covering it. Thank you Lord for today and tomorrow and this entire year of learning, loving and life. Amen.