Posted in CONTEMPLATIVE Prayer, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more

The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

by Margaret Silf

Probably most of us, if we think of contemplative prayer at all, regard it as something that is beyond us and practiced only by a few contemplative monks and nuns whose whole lives are devoted to prayer.   Yet I have heard respected and experienced spiritual guides say that contemplation is often given to those you would least expect—to harassed mothers and people who think they can’t pray, to children, to the sick and dying, to people with no academic learning about prayer or Scripture or theology.   God sometimes seems to speak, heart to heart, in this mysterious way, to the untaught and unpracticed. None of us should imagine that the ways of contemplative prayer are closed to us because God is always infinitely larger than our expectations.

I suggest that creation itself gives us a gateway.   In every moment of our lives, a silent, invisible miracle of exchange is taking place.   We breathe out the air that our bodies no longer need, which is mainly carbon dioxide, a waste product for us but the very thing that the green leaves on the trees and plants need to produce their own energy.   So they receive our carbon dioxide and, through the process of photosynthesis, produce not only their own life energy, but also oxygen—a waste product for them but the very thing we need to live.   Whenever I stop my busyness for a few moments to look around me, I am amazed at this arrangement and it makes me think of prayer.

So perhaps a good way to open our hearts up to the gift of contemplation is simply to become still, and, quite literally, to breathe out our waste—all that clogs us and deadens us—and to breathe in God’s renewing life, as we breathe in the fresh oxygen that the plants have made for us.   This simple, deliberate breathing exercise can become something like what the French peasant was doing as he looked at God and God looked at him.   We are becoming aware of the mysterious exchange of life between ourselves and God.   And there is no reason that any period of quiet might not become prayer of this kind.

There may be other creatures who can help you cross the threshold of contemplation. If there is a baby in the family, try simply holding her in your arms as she sleeps and letting God hold both of you in his.   Nothing more.   No deep thoughts.   No search for meaning.   Just be there.

A cat (if you are not allergic to them!) can also be a great aid to prayer.   My own cat loves to sleep round my neck.   At first I found this disturbing but when he has settled into a particular hollow (perhaps where he can feel my pulse), he will lie there, quite still, just purring deeply, until he falls asleep and the purring ceases.   When he does this, I let myself find a hollow close to God’s pulse and let my own prayer become just a sleepy purr and then the silence of content.   Or you might discover prayer on a park bench.   The other day I was in Hyde Park and I spent a few minutes listening to the deep-throated cooing of the pigeons. I wanted to join them because, in their way, they were engaged in contemplative prayer, simply expressing, in this peaceful murmur, the song of their beings.

In your own home, prayer awaits you in the opening of a flower, the rising of your bread dough, or the steady, imperceptible development of a child.   Spend time in silence, aware of the wonder that is being unfolded in your cakes and your children, your houseplants or your garden.   For this is the essence of contemplative prayer—simple awareness, allowing God to be God, without trying to put the limitations of shape or meaning around him.

Contemplation, like all prayer, is pure gift and not anything we can achieve.   It happens when prayer becomes, wholly and utterly, the flow of God’s grace, transforming the land it flows through, like Ezekiel’s stream.   Or it happens when we lose consciousness of our own part in it and become simply receptors and carriers of grace.   It happens when we realise that our transformation depends on nothing but God’s grace and love, and, like the chrysalis, let go of all activity to try to achieve our own redemption.

When we try to describe it, we fail, for it lies beyond the world of words.   We can open our hearts to it by the practice of awareness but we cannot bring it about, any more than we can force a flower to open or an egg to hatch.   And in our silent, trustful waiting, we are acknowledging that God is God, the source and the destination, the means and the end of all our prayer, whatever form it may take.

from Close to the Heart: A Practical Approach to Personal Prayer

Make my Heart Still

“Lord take my poor heart.   It is often so far from You, lost in a thousand things and in the trifles that fill up my everyday life.   Lord, only You can collect the thoughts of my heart and have it concentrate on You, You who are the centre of all hearts, the Lord of all souls.   Only You can bestow the spirit of prayer, only Your grace is able to allow me to find You amidst this multitude of things, amidst the distractions of everyday life, YOU, the one necessity, the one person with whom my heart can become still.”

“When man comes to God in awe and love, then he is praying.”

Karl Rayner SJ – The Mystical Way in Everyday Lifewhen-man-comes-to-god-in-awe-and-love-karl-rayner-sj-11 july 2017

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Thought for the Day – 8 October: The Eucharist — The Mystery Of Our Christ, by Karl Rahner (extract)

Thought for the Day – 8 October:
The Eucharist — The Mystery Of Our Christ, by Karl Rahner (extract)

What happens when we celebrate the Eucharist?  The simple answer is: the Lord’s Supper which He celebrated at the beginning of His passion becomes present among us and for us.   If we are to understand this central element of our faith we must reflect on what happened at the Lord’s Supper and we must ponder what it means when it is said that this meal becomes present among us and for us.

………..And thus He says:  “Take this body which is given for you, drink this blood poured out for you.”   And through the power of His creative word which changes the subsoils of reality, He makes Himself exist in the form of bread and wine, the everyday sign of loving unity with His disciples, so that all of this – His sacrificed reality for their salvation – becomes manifest and manifestly operative; it truly belongs to them and enters into the centre of their being.

“Take, eat; this is my body. Drink. . . for this is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for all.”   They take and they are taken.   Taken by the redeeming power of obedience and of love of the Lord, taken by His death which gives birth to life out of its dreadful void, encircled by the grace of God which, with the incomprehensible and consuming holiness of God, unites.   They are embraced by love which joins them to each other, not destructively but –redemptively, enveloped by a love which unites them in an experience where otherwise each would die painfully in himself alone in his ultimate solitude.   And by eating the dish of God’s mercy, they anticipate the eternal meal when God, no longer in Earthly symbols but in the accomplishment of His revealed glory, makes Himself into the eternal meal of the redeemed.   And while they eat thus, they look for the day when the Lord will be entirely with them, the day on which He “will come again” (as they say).  And the new and eternal covenant which has been bequeathed to them is celebrated as is their free acceptance of it.   These are given in the power of this bread which unites them with the Lord who is the covenant and joins them one to another in the beginning of eternal life.

The Lord’s Supper becomes His presence among us and for us in the church’s celebration of the Eucharist.   The church fulfills the fundamental order of the Lord: “Do this (what He Himself had done on the night He was betrayed) in remembrance of me.”   The church does what the Lord had done, with the words which He Himself spoke when He gave His body and His blood in the form of bread and wine to His disciples as a pledge of eternal life.   The church celebrates the Anamnesis, the “remembrance” of the meal that instituted the new covenant.  The church recalls what once happened but does not bring about a repetition of the actual event which happened once and for all on Calvary. Rather, what happened then enters into our place and our time and acquires presence and redemptive power within our own being.

This is possible (if we may so try to understand the miracle of God) because the Lord’s Supper is not an event of the past.   The free decision of absolute obedience and unconditional, unreserved love constitutes one of those moments of history in which a temporality becomes the definitive, the enduring and the eternal, not just a moment in which something evaporates into the void of the past.   The elements of freedom and spirit always signify the birth of the eternal; in this context, what is temporal passes into time but also attains eternal validity by virtue of the pure essence of the decision itself by a spiritual person.   This applies in an utterly unique way to the event of the Last Supper. What happened there as event once and for all is.   It is.  It is taken up in the eternity of God, it has passed over into the state of perfection in which is becomes permanence in the midst of time.   For the Lord in this meal has wrought something that endures forever since His voluntary deeds come from the infinite primal grounds of the eternal Word of God itself and are a spiritual-human reality, like the creative words of Genesis.

He has wrought the “new” and thus the final covenant, as He Himself says.matthew 26-28 - 8 oct 2017

Posted in DEVOTIO, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SACRED and IMMACULATE HEARTS

Quote/s of the Day – 9 October

Quote/s of the Day – 9 October

“Jesus, I am committing myself to accepting the things in life
I cannot change and I ask for the grace of serenity.
I am committing myself to changing the things in life
I can change and I ask for the grace of courage.
I am committing myself to knowing the difference
and I ask for the grace of wisdom.”jesus, take away - karl rahner - 8 oct 2917

“Jesus, take away the arrogance in my ego
and give me Your heart in its place.
Take away my ego-centredness
and make Your heart and its purposes.
the centre of myself.
I willingly enter the fire of Your heart
and let Your heart burn away my ego
and enflame me with enthusiasm
for the conversion of the world to the desires of Your heart.”
I feel the passionate longing of Your heart for all humanity and I ask to be an apostle of Your love.”

Karl Rahner SJjesus i am committing myself - karl rahner - 8 oct 2017