Spiritual Life: October 2010 Archives

Zacchaeus in the sycamore.jpg

When the Lord gazes upon you, looks up you with mercy, love, and interest, are you going to grumble and run away? Or, will you invite the Lord into your home with joy?

The gaze of the Lord is nothing less than THE miracle of a lifetime. God excludes no one, his salvation is give to all people. The lost are sought after by God and offers the chance for conversion. The Lord answers our human need with Himself. His Presence, the same as His Eucharistic Presence does today. His Presence is what we all long for.
Eucharist Institution.jpgSome friends and I at the parish have been reading a series of Pope Benedict's homilies on the Eucharist taken from his book, God is Near Us. I recommend paying attention to every page of this small collection of Benedict's. Reading through some meditations of Blessed Columba Marmion, the famed Benedictine monk and spiritual master struck me. He wrote,

To believe that Jesus is God, is to acknowledge that He has every right over us, it is to surrender ourselves to Him without reserve, to allow Him to act in us as absolute Master.

When we live by this faith, we say to Our Lord: "I love Thee, I adore Thee, I give myself to Thee by my submission to Thine every will, by leaving all that Thou does desire of me; I wish to live in complete dependence on Thee." Then Christ takes us by the hand and draws us close union with Himself.

Moreover, faith in the Divinity of Jesus produces great confidence in our souls. His merits are those of a God, therefore they are infinite, and they are ours, we may dispose of them. His redeeming blood can blot out all our sins and all our infidelities; we may hope for all the graces of which we have need, for He intercedes for us.

United to His intercession and clad with His merits, let us not fear to draw nigh to the Father and to speak to Him, in the Name of His Son, with unshaken and boundless trust.

Blessed Columba Marmion, OSB
Revue Liturgique et Monastique
Moses vs Amalekites.jpgIt would be a pity to forget last Sunday's first reading where we read of Moses' role as mediator of God's saving plan.

In the book of Exodus we were reminded that Moses had concern for the salvation of his unbelieving countrymen, and therefore he asked that God show His compassion towards sinful Israel (see Exodus 32-34). The raising of Moses' hands in prayer, while dramatic, is not a biblical example of a magical Wizard of Oz. It is, however, a posture that invites all of us to pray using our God-given body and as a group as it is more effective in expanding our own heart for God's grace and power.

The teaching of the Church as it is given to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church cites Saint John Damascene's definition of prayer as "...the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." The Catechism speaks of biblical types of prayer, such as 'the prayer of Moses [that] responds to the living God's initiative for the salvation of His people. It foreshadows the prayer of intercession of the unique mediator, Christ Jesus' (2593).

St Dominic in prayer.jpg
Do we raise our hands in prayer? What posture of prayer do we use? Do we use our body in praying? Are you too stiff and scared in your manner of praying? 

Recall that one of the "Nine Ways of Prayer" given to us by Saint Dominic de Guzman is the raising of hands in prayer. The 6th and 7th Ways of Prayer are directly connected with the living of the Beatitudes and the spirituality of the Cross. Outstretched hands in the form of a cross became a familiar way of praying for Saint Dominic (and his followers) that he believed was inspired by God not only at Mass but also when he was praying for someone's healing or being being raised from the dead.

Catholics of the Latin Church are often too reserved, perhaps even too rigid, in their posture of prayer versus what is seen in Eastern Christianity where the extension of hands in prayer is one of many postures used in the sacred Liturgy and in private. This particularly seen in praying the Lord's Prayer and other prayers of penitence and before the reception of Holy Communion.

So, can we follow the example of Moses and Saint Dominic in speaking and listening to God? 

The Order of Capuchin Friars Minor opened a center for spirituality and formation for religious and laypeople who want to attend courses and retreats in that region. The center, which is inspired by the motto, "I am the light of the world," was inaugurated 28 September 2010.

At the inauguration ceremony, Archbishop Fouad Twal, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, noted that this light is the witness that believers make to those around them. He added that this idea "is a topic of our next synod," which will take place in Rome, beginning Sunday, and will focus on the Middle East.

"In Jerusalem, we can count on hundreds of religious congregations, 14 of which are contemplative communities," the prelate said. "They are the strength and richness of the Latin Catholic Church." He continued: "Today we inaugurate a new center for spirituality and welcome, thanks to the goodwill of our beloved Capuchins, a center called to be light." "True Christians influence the world around them and reflect the light of the Lord," the archbishop affirmed.

The property where the center is located belonged to the Capuchin order since the 1930's, when Archbishop Luigi Barlassina invited the religious to build a convent in the Jewish area of Jerusalem.

However, the friars had to leave Jerusalem during World War II, putting the project on hold. The property was taken over by the state for a psychiatric hospital. The Capuchin center project was later revived in the 1990's.

Present at the inauguration ceremony were: Fr. Mauro J√∂hri, Capuchin General Minister and the entire Definitory; His Beatitude, Archbishop. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; Archbishop Antonio Franco, Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Apostolic Nuncio in Israel; Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land; Bishop Francesco Beschi, Bishop of Bergamo; the Capuchin Order's Legal Representative, the General Bursar, the Capuchin Provincial Minister of Venice, other Franciscan Provincials.

The renovation was made possible by a number of benefactors, with a considerable contribution from the Cariplo Foundation.

A photo journal of the center's dedication is here.

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem posted a story on the center.

Zenit carried a story on this center.

(this story is reposted and edited from Capuchin Newsnotes, 13 October 2010)

Sacrament of Mercy Conference

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A friend, the Rev'd Canon Matthew R. Mauriello, has organized the forthcoming Conference on the Sacrament of Mercy to be held in Milwaukee, 8-9 October. There are several excellent speakers to note.

If you are in the area, perhaps you can participate. But being united in prayer is very welcomed. Perhaps the intention could be to ask the Lord to show us His mercy so that we can be merciful. In so many places and circumstances in the Church love shown to its extreme limits --mercy-- is lacking. There is something wrong with this experience. Pray to Saint Matilda of Hackeborn, as Pope Benedict suggested earlier this week.

See the program here: Sacrament of Mercy Conference.pdf

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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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Spiritual Life category from October 2010.

Spiritual Life: August 2010 is the previous archive.

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