Monday, March 30, 2009

A Kindly Act


I have been chronicling how a Prayer Warrior can take it's ques to living a Christian life by following the Samurai's Bushido.  Check my earlier post for the full list.  Today's tenet is Benevolence ( jin).  The Free Dictionary defines benevolence as 
be·nev·o·lence  (b-nv-lns)
1. An inclination to perform kind, charitable acts.
a. A kindly act.
b. A gift given out of generosity.
3. A compulsory tax or payment exacted by some English sovereigns without the consent of Parliament.

Benevolence is a slam-dunk for any Christian.  Acting kindly?  No problem!  Even the worst Christian can act kindly once in a while.  Lets raise the stakes a little bit.  Can we, as Christians, pray with benevolence?  It is so easy to pray for our selves.  "God, please help me past this test - that I did not study for." "God, help me get a job that will make me happy."  We do it all the time.

How often do you pray for someone else?  Do you ever just pray for some random person?  Instead of praying for yourself, ask someone to pray for you.  

Here is a site that explains benevolence much better that I can.

Eternal Father,
we praise you for sending your Son
to be one of us and to save us.
Look upon your people with mercy,
for we are divided in so many ways,
and give us the Spirit of Jesus to make us one in love.

We ask this gift, loving Father,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Be Not Afraid


Progressing through the seven tenets of the Samurai Bushido (code of honor) brings the Prayer Warrior to the virtue of courage ( yuu).  Courage was a daily part of the early Christian Church.  The Apostles and other disciples of Jesus obviously had more than their fair share of challenges and dangers.  Sure, the Apostles had Jesus come back to them after the Resurrection and He bestowed the Holy Spirit upon them, but it still had to be hard for them to go off and fulfill their calling.  The early Christians had to face the likes of Saul (not yet Paul) who saw the Christians' beliefs as a perversion of the Jewish faith.  

Pope John Paul II was the modern day spokesman for courage when 30 years ago at his very first address to the faithful he said, 
"Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development…. Be not afraid!"
 Years later he addressed millions of youth at 
World Youth Day VII with this plea, 
"Dear young people, proclaiming the Word of God is not the responsibility of priests or religious alone, but it is yours too. You must have the courage to speak about Christ in your families and in places where you study, work or recreate... There are places and circumstances where you alone can bring the seed of God's Word."

Christ needs us as much as we need him.  We are Christians.  We are Christ-like.  We have to go out and proclaim the Word, live the Word and do all we can to turn this world back to God.  Too much of our world is a culture of death and empty promises.

Today, do something that promotes God.

Prayer for Courage in the Time of Battle

O Prince of peace, we humbly ask your protection
for all our men and women in military service.
Give them unflinching courage to defend 
with honor, dignity and devotion, 
the rights of all who are imperiled
by injustice and evil.
Be their rock, their shield, and their stronghold
and let them draw their strength from you.
For you are God, for ever and ever.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rectitude of Intention


As any good Christian, I try to live my life in a way that would make God happy.  You really never want to get God angry.  We don't want to bring back any of that Old Testament wrath.

About the time I really started taking my faith seriously, I began studying Samurai warriors.  I guess the little kid in us never dies.

Samurais were thought to “live by the sword and die by the sword”. But as I did more research into them, I began to see that Japanese warriors shared many of the same qualities as the Medieval European knights!   Despite what Hollywood would rather show, their lives were not just about shear bloodshed. There is honor and pride, a love of people that most certainly masks “brute power”.

Bushido is the code of the samurais.  It is the "Way of the Warrior".  The Bushido code is typified by seven virtues:
  • Rectitude ( gi)
  • Courage ( yuu)
  • Benevolence ( jin)
  • Respect ( rei)
  • Honesty ( makoto or 信 shin)
  • Honor ( yo)
  • Loyalty ( chuu)

Over the next few Prayer Warrior blogs I want to discuss these seven tenets. 

Gi: this refers to rectitude, or justice. <Rightness of principle or practice; exact conformity to truth, or to the rules prescribed for moral conduct, either by divine or human laws; uprightness of mind; uprightness; integrity; honesty; justice.> For the Samurai , it is the power of deciding upon a certain course of conduct in accordance with reason, and without wavering; that is to die when it is right to die, to strike when it is right to strike. This principle also held the warriors responsible for choosing at all times, the correct decision from the heart rather than from the mind.

Let's relate this to Christian life and prayer.  ‘Rectitude of Intention’ means having the correct intention in all that we do – in our daily work, our recreation, our civic obligations, and our religious duties – however, not for our glory but all for the glory of God.  Rectitude of Intention is the antithesis of ‘political correctness.’  It helps us do what we ought to do, not what society or culture want us to do.

"Don't ever lose the supernatural point of view.  Correct your intention as the course of a ship is corrected on the high seas: by looking at the star, by looking at Mary.  Then you will always be sure of reaching harbour," wrote St. Josemaría Escrivá.

When we pray we need to be praying for God's will to be done - my favorite line of the Lord's Prayer.  We are Christians - we are Christ-like.  We need to pray as Christ would pray.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be 
Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, 
on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our 
daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we 
forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us 
not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prayer Warrior Podcast #1 (click here)

Very first Prayer Warrior Podcast.

  • Who I am
  • New media ministry
  • Purpose of this podcast
  • Prayer