Being contemplative

When life gets busy there’s a way that we can doubt the integrity of our work and prayer — how they work together seamlessly. We can feel fragmented and doubt life’s essential unity, tempted to retreat from its challenge in favor of some sort of disincarnate contemplative ideal. But such an ideal seems foreign to the witness of Jesus, the Wisdom of God, who is the contemplative par excellence, and who teaches us that contemplative wisdom is neither detached from everyday life nor artificial. Being contemplative is being consciously connected to reality, all the while being mindful of the sacred presence that pervades each of our activities. From such a gospel perspective “action” and “contemplation” are not rivals, but facets of one reality. (NS)

Familiarity with Sacred Scripture–God’s Word

Are you familiar (at the deepest possible level as able) with sacred Scripture? Daily, it is recommended, to spend time doing lectio divina.

While John Paul is addressing members in consecrated life, the teaching is fitting and prudent for the laity, too.

“As the church’s spiritual tradition teaches, meditation on God’s word, and on the mysteries of Christ in particular, gives rise to fervor in contemplation and the ardor of apostolic activity. Both in contemplative and active religious life, it has always been men and women of prayer, those who truly interpret and put into practice the will of God, who do great works.

“From familiarity with God’s word they draw the light needed for that individual and communal discernment which helps them to seek the ways of the Lord in the signs of the times. In this way they acquire a kind of supernatural intuition which allows them to avoid being conformed to the mentality of this world, but rather to be renewed in their own mind, in order to discern God’s will about what is good, perfect, and pleasing to him (see Romans 12:2).

Saint John Paul II, The Consecrated Life

Children United in Prayer

The Stamford Eparchy is hosting an event for children on September 29, “Children United in Prayer.”

This program is being hosted at St Basil’s Seminary, Stamford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering 9/11 Before the Lord of Life

O Lord, God-Hero, Father forever, Prince of peace, in many times and places you have shown us that the true way to Life and the glory of your presence is through mercy, compassion, love and peace. Yet, in these days our human society is marked by injustice and prejudice, by brutal and subtle oppression and inequalities, by fiery hatred and unspeakable acts of terror.

Grant repose, O Lord, to those whose lives have been ended tragically and quickly by inhuman violence and indiscriminate attacks. Comfort those injured in any way, either physically or spiritually, by these infamous assaults done to strike terror into our hearts.

Grant us and the nations of the world repentance for the injustices that have been perpetrated through human greed and ambition, and give us the wisdom and the strength to work for the fullness of your kingdom of righteousness and holiness.

Grant that all peoples may at least find that your way of peace, humility and love for each other is the only true path to a reasonable society established on respect for one another, justice for all and the infinite value of every human life, for you are the Creator and Lover of all.

Therefore, we beg of you this day as we remember the terror of September 11, that all wars and acts of violence be brought to an end and that all peoples begin to work together for a peaceful and just world. Give us the gift of your Spirit to accomplish this.

For you are the God of peace and mercy and compassion, and we give glory to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever.

(thanks to Archpriest David Petras)

Prayer intention for March

The prayer intention for Pope Francis, March 2018

That the Church may appreciate the urgency of formation in spiritual discernment, both on the personal and communitarian levels.

Let us keep this intention in our morning offering, and our other daily prayers before the Lord.

Monday of the Second Week

Prayer and meditation
Matins:
Wondrous indeed is the weapon of prayer and fasting. To Moses it revealed the Law, and as a sacrifice it inflamed the zeal of Elijah. By keeping it we faithfully cry out to the Savior: Against you alone have we sinned, have mercy on us.
 
Vespers:
Let us keep a spiritual fast: let us break every hypocrisy; let us flee the traps of sin; let us forgive the offenses of other, so that our sins might also be forgiven. Thus we shall all be able to sing: May our prayer rise like incense before you, O Lord.
 
Reflection:
At every Vespers we sing, “Let my prayer rise like incense.” Why do we want our prayers to rise – so that God may accept them and grant us forgiveness. This is the vertical dimension, but it is not effective without the horizontal dimension, we must forgive one another. The true meaning of a spiritual fast is an insisting on this theme during the Great Fast.
 
Meditation by David Petras

The Jesus Prayer

Today is a great day to learn more about The Jesus Prayer (“Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”), THE prayer for good Christians. Orthodox Metropolitan Kallistos Ware gives a fine presentation.

Listen to the presentation by clicking here.

What better way to spend some time on the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee than to learn about this prayer!!!

Prayer for New Year

Remember us, O God; from age to age be our comforter. You have given us the wonder of time, blessings in days and nights, seasons and years. Bless your children at the turning of the year and fill the months ahead with the bright hope that is ours in the coming of Christ. You are our God, living and reigning, forever and ever. Amen.
 
(At the conclusion of the 9 a.m. Divine Liturgy today this prayer was prayed. In the coming week, pray it again and again.)
Image by J. Rego

True prayer expands the heart

“Prayer is the lifting up of the mind and heart to God. From this it is evident that it is quite impossible for anyone to pray whose mind and heart are attached to anything carnal –for instance, to money or to honors –or who has in his heart passions such as hatred or envy for others, because passions usually contract the heart, in the same way as God expands it and gives it true freedom.”

Saint John of Kronstadt