Tag Archives: spiritual life

Prayer and Fasting

Prayer and fasting, worship and adoration, Scripture and sacraments and sacramentals all provide the weapons of our spiritual warfare. With them we go on the offensive against the Evil One. But the virtues provide our defense armor. As Blessed Pope Paul VI once observed, St. Paul ‘used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable.’ They are our best defense against his attacks, for they guard our minds and hearts from his deceptions and temptations. A lapse in virtue is in fact a chink in our armor that makes us vulnerable.

Paul Thigpen
Manual for Spiritual Warfare,  p. 57-8

Embrace the fullness of Christian faith faithfully

“When the Christian confesses to the sin of accidie (that he no longer readily embraces the will of God, that he is lapsing into worldliness, that all the joy has gone out of his communion with God and that he no longer has the strength to pray) it is high time for him to launch an assault upon the flesh, and prepare for better service by fasting and prayer (Luke 2:37, Luke 4:2, Mark 9:29, 1 Corinthians 7:5).”

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, which is a truly wonderful little book.

You may be interested in the book, The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Abbot Jean-Charles Nault, OSB. He ably and forthrightly treats this subject of acedia that Bonhoeffer opens in the above quote.

Faith and our true life

What is important above everything else, first and foremost, is faith: faith in the reality of the divine presence in and around us, bringing the acts of our will and mind up to the level of the true life to which Our Lord is calling us.

This act of faith, which transforms our destiny from a purely human one to one truly divine, is painful to nature, and calls for a heroism of which we would not be capable had not God already given us the grace to make the initial effort and maintain it. Utterly incapable d ourselves of making this first act, we could not do better than say with the father of the sick child: Lord, I do believe; help thou my unbelief (Mark 9:24).

The Prayer of Love and Silence
A Carthusian

Plan of Life

friendship with ChristLent is a great time to either renew your plan of life, or to make a first plan. We all need to be certain on our goals for the spiritual life. No plan, no advancement in becoming friends with our Savior; no Beatific Vision. Here is a good example.

Daily: Make the Morning Offering. Spend time in mental prayer. Attend Holy Mass. Receive Hoy Communion, if properly disposed. Make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament if possible. Read a few paragraphs of one of the books of the New Testament. Make an examination of conscience at Noon and before bed. Pray the Angelus or Regina Coeli (depending on the liturgical season.

Weekly: Make a sacramental confession. Do a charitable work. Keep the Fast on Friday. Keep Saturday as a day devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Monthly: A day of recollection. Give alms.

Yearly: Make a week-long silent and directed retreat.

Always: Remember the Presence of God. Consider the fact of the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity. Make the spiritual communion. Make acts of thanksgiving. Make acts of atonement. Aspire to holiness. Study. Work. Give some order to your life. Be joyful.

All I have is what I love

It is said that one of our late Benedictine abbesses said, “All I have is what I love!” This is what learned in homily today at Vespers.

A true judgment of man’s spirit and humanity. It is a touchstone in understanding who each of us is before God and others. The question” What do I love?” needs to be asked and answered daily. In fact, that is what happens in the daily Ignatian Examen. The discovery in answering this question is a work.

But as fragile people we are easily distracted; we can fool ourselves by making excuses, and rationales get in the way. Still, “What do I love” requires a concrete answer. What specifically do I love? Deeper down, a love holds my heart?
What stands out in what St Paul said today in his Letter to the Philippians:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.

St Paul’s letter can remain in the abstract and useless without going deeper in ascertaining the meaning of the various points the Apostle raises viz. our experience. Hence, we have to ask: What do I think is true? What is does it means to act honorably? What difference does purity make? What does the word gracious mean to mean?
It seems that this matter one of several keys for the spiritual life, and not mere word-smithing and academic argumentation. What it does necessitate, I have learned, is a disciplined focus of mind and heart in working with divine revelation.

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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