Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Saint Peter’s prayer is accompanied by immense joy

Peter in Prison Rembrandt.jpg

In our catechesis on Christian prayer, we now consider Saint Peter’s miraculous liberation from imprisonment on the eve of his trial in Jerusalem. Saint Luke tells us that as “the Church prayed fervently to God for him” (Acts 12:5), Peter was led forth from the prison by an Angel of light. The account of Peter’s rescue recalls both Israel’s hasty exodus from bondage in Egypt and the glory of Christ’s resurrection. Peter was sleeping, a sign of his surrender to the Lord and his trust in the prayers of the Christian community. The fulfillment of this prayer is accompanied by immense joy, as Peter rejoins the community and bears witness to the Risen Lord’s saving power. Peter’s liberation reminds us that, especially at moments of trial, our perseverance in prayer, and the prayerful solidarity of all our brothers and sisters in Christ, sustains us in faith. As Peter’s Successor, I thank all of you for the support of your prayers and I pray that, united in constant prayer, we will all draw ever closer to the Lord and to one another.

Pope Benedict XVI

10 May 2012

Do we have perseverance in prayer? 
Are we in prayerful solidarity with others?

What really sustains our prayer?

The obligation to love

“We have an obligation not only to love each
other, but also to make ourselves as lovable as possible so that it is easy for
others to love us.” 



William of St. Thierry
(1075-1148)

Yearning for the riches of the Lord’s glory

The incredulity of Christ.jpgThe Incredulity of Thomas is likely one of the most identifiable images for Christians to meditate on. It is for me. Few artists can trigger my Catholic imagination as Caravaggio can. As I run through my day, I keep as a constant refrain in my mind the sentence from St Mark’s gospel: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief. Today, following from Divine Mercy Sunday, meditating on John 20:26-29 is a needed mercy.
The medieval abbot, theologian and mystic William of St. Thierry (1085-1148) has the following to say about the topic of mercy:

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Can God still surprise me?

Emmaus detail Caravaggio.jpgEarlier this evening at the School of Community we were talking about our problem recognizing Christ in daily living. In what ways am I moved by Christ? A (vigorous) prayer life keeps us focussed on the meaning of our life in Christ.

Taking some clues from Father Julián Carrón may be helpful to those who want to make sense of the spiritual life.  Father Carrón encourages a few things:
1. to understand that we need an awareness of ourself;
2. to be mindful that we never fully possess Christ in this life because Christ is a Mystery; that to possess we’d be alone and that is not what the Holy Trinity has promised;
3. yes, it is easy to complain about not being “connected” to Christ in a meaningful manner but we need to consider that to really engage in the Fact and Event of the Incarnation of the Word Made Flesh is to accept that Christ is not reducible to an idea or an opinion;
4. to recall that to have real confidence that God loves me unconditionally; that is not say that God doesn’t care about the sinful things we do, He does and he desires true Charity and justice, but His Mercy for our being is stronger than anything we could imagine.

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Happiness and fullness of being in communion, not suffering, did God make us


God did not create us for suffering and renunciation,
but for happiness, for life; not for an ephemeral happiness during life in this
world, but for an eternal and unfailing life, which can be found in God alone.
However, God passes by unnoticed by our senses, whereas the things of this
world press upon us and entice us from all sides, leading us to seek our
happiness in them.


From this arises the necessity of controlling and mortifying
their immoderate tendency toward pleasure, their looking for satisfaction in
creatures. For those who desire to attain to the fullness of life in God, St.
John of the Cross, in full accord with the gospel, suggests that they gradually
accustom themselves to gving up any sensory satisfaction that is not
purely for the honor and glory of God. . .out of love for Jesus Christ. In his
life, he had no other gratification, nor desired any other, than the
fulfillment of his Father’s will which he called his meat and food (Ascent of
Mount Carmel
I 13-4).

Again it is a question of not seeking our joy and delight
in pleasures of sense, which satisfy selfishness, self-love, and attachment to
creatures, but in the will of God, in what pleases him. If we would be
spiritual persons, we must force ourselves to change the direction of our inclination
toward pleasure by detaching it from the goods of earth and turning it
decisively toward God, until we can repeat with Jesus: I always do what is
pleasing to him (John 8:29).

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen,
OCD
Divine Intimacy

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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