Persevere in Prayer: Don’t Give Up!

Persevere in Prayer

Prayer is essential. How many times have you heard that, but wondered just how essential is it really? Or, what’s in it for me to pray? How many times have you prayed and heard silence? How many times have you given up on prayer, because your prayers weren’t answered the way you wanted?

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we look to quotations from Saint John Damascene and Psalm 130:1 to define prayer:

Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. But when we pray, do we speak… Read more…

Centering Prayer: Some Reflections

An Old Woman Praying Nicolaes Maes

Some Christians think that Centering Prayer is an invaluable way to deepen their spiritual lives, others think that it is the work of the devil and many more have never heard of it. For the benefit of the latter I shall briefly summarise it based on this leaflet (pdf)

The Guidelines

1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.

2. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.

3. When engaged with your thoughts*, return ever-so gently to the sacred word.

4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

On the subject of choosing the ‘sacred word’-
The sacred word expresses our intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
The sacred word is chosen during a brief period of prayer asking the Holy Spirit to inspire us with one that is especially suitable for us. Examples: God, Jesus, Abba, Father, Mother, Mary, Amen. Other possibilities: Love, Peace, Mercy, Listen, Let Go, Silence, Stillness, Faith, Trust, Yes.

The practice is recommended for 20 minutes a time, twice a day. Its proponents argue that it is based on an ancient Christian practice referred to in, for example, the medieval English work The Cloud of Unknowing which is true so far as it goes. It is no coincidence, however, that this practice emerged and was publicised at a time when Eastern meditation techniques based on Hindu or Buddhist mantras were gaining many adherents in the West. Indeed it is strikingly similar to Transcendental Meditation which also recommends two twenty minute periods with eyes closed. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Christianity appropriating and Christianising this or that aspect of non-Christian cultures, philosophies or practices, The key question is always: does this provide a bridgehead to advance Christianity into new areas or a breach to permit non-Christian beliefs to invade the Church? In the case of centering prayer we can only answer that question when we have some sense of its benefits or risks…click here to read more

Evangelium Vitae and a Prolife Novena

On March 25th, 1995 Pope John Paul II gave us the beautifully rich and prolife encyclical, Evangelium Vitae. This year we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary on the Feast of the Annunciation. What a fitting feast day to celebrate life, as we call the mind Mary’s ‘yes’ to becoming the Mother of God!

A special Novena has begun – with nine individual petitions, the Prayer to our Lady written by Pope John Paul II (now Saint John Paul II), and a relevant excerpt from Evangelium Vitae.

Won’t you join this worldwide effort and pray these simple Novena prayers with us? Participants range from the United States all the way to our friends ‘down under’ in Australia! For more information you can read a bit of history at Evangelium Vitae: 20th Anniversary Novena – Catholic Stand.

EV all petitions

A daily post explaining the petition and including all of the relevant prayers can be found on Designs by Birgit. There is also a Facebook group for the Evangelium Vitae Anniversary Novena. I hope you’ll join us and invite your friends and family to pray for an increase in the respect for all life – from fertilization until natural death.

Stations of the Cross with Children

stations of the cross with children2I know that during Lent and the Easter season that the main thing that I want our children to learn and understand is that God loves us so much that he sent his one and only son Jesus to live in this sinful world and that he then died on the cross for each and every one of us!  In order to understand this, we choose to share the Passion of Jesus with our children (even at a young age) and answer honestly what questions they have.
Most Catholic Churches during Lent pray the Stations of the Cross every Friday remembering the Passion of Christ.  Usually these services are held in the late evening which means we are not able to go as a family due to little ones bedtime.  We think it is very important for our children to learn the Stations of the Cross and hear the story so we are making opportunities for our children to learn in other ways including:
  • Praying at Home
  • Teaching with Engaging Resources
  • Praying within the Community
Praying at Home
How can you learn about and pray the Stations of the Cross with your family even if you cannot go to the scheduled time at church?  How can you make time and space for your family for this special meditation during Lent?
Continue Reading at Children of the Church Blog

Last Night, I Rocked Baby Jesus

For the life of me, I have no idea why my 17-month-old couldn’t sleep last night. Finally at 2:00 a.m., I brought him downstairs so my husband could get some sleep.

We rocked. I got him a cup of almond milk. We rocked some more. I turned on cartoons. I sang to him. I got him a snack, which he gobbled up. I gave him some water, and we rocked a million times more.

Was he still feeling sick? No, his ears and tummy seemed fine. Teething? Maybe. All I knew was he was fussy and just wouldn’t go back to sleep.

I started to half-ignore him, my patience wearing thin. I dutifully rocked him, sleepily browsing Facebook on my phone and trying not to snap. Nothing was helping him anyway!

Out of the blue, the Holy Spirit made me think of this scripture:

“…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”  Matthew 25:35-36

I began picturing Mother Mary rocking baby Jesus. Surely he was fussy or sick at times and she felt the same exhaustion!

madonnachild

 

To read about the rest of my challenging night that turned into a huge blessing, click here to visit The Fruitful Mama!Your Read More Link Text

Teaching Our Children to Pray

picmonkey_image

During Lent we are taking time as a part of our homeschooling to focus on the three areas of Lenten focus:  Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.  The first area that we have been focusing on is PRAYER!

First of all, at the beginning of Lent we all learned The Lent Song from Catholic Icing.  We love it because it was easy to learn and explains the meaning of Lent in easy ways for kids to understand!
“Prayer, Fasting, and Alms Giving,
We are meant, to repent.
40 days of sacrifice,
Being super, extra nice,
This is Lent.  This is Lent.”
(Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Our Regular Prayer Schedule is woven within our homeschool and daily schedule.  It usually looks like this:
  • Morning:
    • Mom:  Daily Readings, Spiritual Reading and Journaling (Usually about 30 minutes, hopefully before the kids wake up!)
    • Family:  Morning Offering and Learning about the Saint of the Day (usually at the breakfast table)
  • Afternoon:
    • Angelus at Lunch Time
    • Decade of the Rosary with Holy Heroes CD’s after Homeschool and Nap Time
  • Meal Times:
    • Prayer Before and After meals
  • Evening/Bedtime:
    • Our Father/Hail Mary/Glory Be
    • Prayers of Intention
    • We are also adding the Daily Examen and Learning the Act of Contrition

Continue reading more HERE!

Nicole Ernest is loving living out her vocations as a Catholic wife and mother. Nicole resides in Nebraska with her husband and their lovable, energy filled boys. Nicole shares about living the liturgical year, homeschooling and marriage/ family life at her blog Children of the Church. Nicole is thrilled to be a part of Catholic Blogger Network!

 

 

Finding Peace in Suffering

 

Image Copyright 2015, Nicole Ernest
Image Copyright 2015, Nicole Ernest

I hear from so many people that they think Lent is the most difficult time during our Liturgical Year.  I get that, I really do.  But at the same time, I think that there is something beautiful in finding peace within suffering.  There is something life changing in letting silence enter our lives to try to process, even just a little bit, the suffering, offering and love that Jesus gave to us by dying on the cross for our sins.

I have been doing a lot of my own suffering lately as I have been carrying the cross that God has asked of our family with the loss of our son Samuel, as we experienced a miscarriage.  So I think, what can I do this Lent to bring that suffering to Him, how can I bring my suffering to unite with Jesus at the cross?

We are all hurting in one way or another, and our job is not to compare our sufferings with others, but to bring them to God and to be a support to each other through this time.  Our job is to be quiet enough, and give ourselves enough time and space to really listen to God and what he is asking of us and then trust what he has planned for our lives.

Can we give God silence each day this Lent?  Through prayer, in adoration, or in listening to Him through scripture? 

I am learning that bringing the Church into our domestic home is not always about having activities, but learning how we witness our faith to our spouses and children through our daily actions and words.

Continue Reading at the Children of the Church Blog…

Nicole Ernest is loving living out her vocations as a Catholic wife and mother. Nicole resides in Nebraska with her husband and their lovable, energy filled boys. Nicole shares about living the liturgical year, homeschooling and marriage/ family life at her blog Children of the Church. Nicole is thrilled to be a part of Catholic Blogger Network!

Silver and Gold I Have None

 Peter with John fastening his eyes upon him, said: Look upon us. But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them. But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk.
Acts 3:4-6

Turn my heart to Your decrees and not to material gain. Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.
Psalm 118/9:36-36

 There is a lot of looking going on in these texts. Sight is one of the mechanisms which we use to give our attention to something. Attention is the primary thing and vision is a mere auxiliary to it. What I mean by that is that although no doubt none of us wishes to go blind if it so happened that we did then our integrity as a person would remain intact. Our ability to focus our mind to a point and concentrate upon it would remain unimpaired although it would be discommoded. If however while still possessing sight we lost the ability to pay attention to anything then we would cease to be the person we are now. When considering texts like this then it can be a worthwhile exercise to leave aside consideration of the external events unfolding before the eyes and think about the essential objects upon which the attention of the participants, and by extension we the readers, is centred.

 The disabled man whom the Apostles encountered desired to live. He was begging because only thus could he obtain the means necessary to that end. His attention was focussed on Saints Peter and John because he hoped that they could help him to keep body and soul together. His desire was a purely material one. There is a temptation to suppose that the intention of St Peter was equally material, to effect a bodily healing, and that what he gave to the man was good health. We should though bear in mind the words of Jesus ‘Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? (Luke 5:23) The gift which St Peter gave was the name of Jesus, one of the effects of that gift was to heal the man’s disability.

 The post-modern mind is often impatient with miracle stories and seeks to discount them. So much the worse for the post-modern mind of course but if, as I suggest, we concentrate on the essence rather than the accidents of this episode is there anything in it which even the post-moderns can profit from?……click here to read more

“As Morning Breaks” Encourages Daily Morning Prayer

I write the reflection for the fourth of every month in the new morning prayer book called “As Morning Breaks” from CatholicMom.com.

—Looking for joy in 2015?
Begin each day of the year with As Morning BreaksDaily Gospel Reflections, a new ebook just released by Lisa M. Hendey and CatholicMom.com.  This book was written in collaboration by over thirty authors, all of whom freely volunteered their work. The writing team includes men and women, parents, singles, a married Deacon and his wife, a religious sister and writers of all ages.
Priced at only $2.99, the 685 page book was launched to raise needed funds to support the work of CatholicMom.com, an international apostolate that provides services to families, parishes and individuals worldwide free of charge. CONTINUE

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9