Calling All Prayer Warriors: We Need Your Help – We Need Your Support – We Need Your Blogs!

Friends, a plea….
A plea for help, for prayers and for financial support for a dear family 
who has struggled mightily and now,
They Really Need Us.

You know Mary Lenaburg, of
Of course you do!
We’ve been treated to her honesty, her candor,
her beautiful words.
We’ve been blessed with a
glimpse into her family.
We’ve been humbled and inspired by the  grace with which they’ve cared
for their lovely daughter, Courtney.
When one reads Mary’s blog, one is wrapped in
her  honesty, in the bringing – to – life of her blog title.
The Lenaburgs are indeed perseverant about their 
 love for each other and the  care and dignity  
 bestowed upon their beautiful Courtney.

Mary’s family has had a hard road, a road which is about to get harder.
Warriors, we need to fight the good fight and 
 cover the Lenaburgs in prayer.
Storming-heaven-prayer.
AND, if there’s something tangible you feel able
 to offer, please consider clicking to
the gofundme page that 
 we, here at The Catholic Bloggers Network , set up.
THANK YOU!

If you are a blogger, please know that 
we need help spreading this word.
 In the spirit of utilizing our blogs as instruments of communication to not only evangelize, but spread the generosity and beauty of our Catholic faith, we really need MANY  to join a huge promotional effort.
On the CBN Facebook page,  we are now a group of over 1,000 members!!  We’d like to to have as many bloggers ] as possible spreading the word about the  gofundme acct that’s been set up for the Lenaburg  family. 
Here’s what you awesome bloggers  can do:
1. Please mention our gofundme account in an upcoming blog post
The link to the account page, again, is right here.
2. Please include a link to Mary’s blog, which is AWESOME and which will introduce readers who do not know her, to her family.  Here’s Mary’s  blog….. Passionate Perserverance

3. Pray, pray pray pray.
The following  Catholic bloggers have  shared, encouraged and spread the word~~
Please go read Tracy‘s, Laura‘s  and Emily‘s posts.
You’ll be moved.

AND our fund is doing beautifully thanks to their efforts!!


Let’s spread the word far, wide and fast.
You. Are. The. Best.

And hey, remember what Pope Francis said about
 the internet being used as a force for good?????

 The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. 
This is something truly good, a gift from God. —
Pope Francis


There ya go.
Papa has spoken.
As for me, I can say it’s an honor 
to heed his words along with you good people.


Thank you!
Until next time,
~Chris, 

 Campfires and Cleats


Did Teresa of Avila teach Centering Prayer?

St. Teresa’s Transverberation by Joefa de Obidos (Wikimedia Commons)

Last winter on social media, I came across another Catholic author who was promoting yoga. Not as an exercise program, but for spiritual growth. I was shocked. I asked her why she wasn’t promoting prayer instead. She answered, “Meditation is prayer!”

Nope.

Two months ago, my brother forwarded an email from a colleague, asking about Centering Prayer. A friend was pushing it relentlessly. I looked at the website of the Catholic group that promotes Centering Prayer and found this in the FAQs:
This form of prayer was first practiced and taught by the Desert Fathers of Egypt … the Carmelites St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux…
Nonsense.

The other day a new reader asked in the comments about meditating on Sacred Scripture. “Is this the same as the method of Fr. John Main, who has adapted an Eastern mantra method for Christian meditation?”

Uh-uh.

I have written a little on this topic before, but I think it’s time to revisit it. Let’s start with Teresa of Avila.

Continue reading at Connie’s blog Contemplative Homeschool.

Abandonment

It 778px-Veringendorf_St__Michael_Gethsemane-Szene_Detailtook me a long time deciding whether or not to use such an uncompromising word, but frankly I have no choice. If we really believe in God and what he has planned to do for us, has already done for us, and is doing for us now to put his plan into operation, to unite our destiny with his, then there is only one way to respond. He has chosen to give us his all, how can we do less than give our all for him. 

Read more at David Torkington

Keeping watch with Jesus–unexpectedly

The memorial to the martyrs of Unzen, Japan. (Photo by Connie Rossini).
Memorial to the Japanese martyrs of Unzen. (Photo by Connie Rossini.)

This is the week for keeping watch with Jesus in a special way. Although God calls us to spend time with Him in prayer daily, we rightly feel that we should spend extra time with Him during Holy Week. But how should we go about it?

When I was a teenager, my family started a tradition of an all-night prayer vigil on Holy Thursday. Beginning at 10 p.m., my parents, siblings, and I took turns praying in one or two one-hour slots for the next eight hours. I loved offering this extra sacrifice to Jesus, this extra sign of love. Jesus would not be alone in the Garden of Gethsemane if I could help it.

After I graduated from college, I spent two years as a lay missionary in Japan, teaching English to support the evangelization work of an American priest. During spring break of the first year, my roommate Mary Beth and I traveled to the island of Kyushu. We planned to be in Nagasaki for Easter.

On Holy Thursday we were in the resort town of Unzen. Known for its hot springs, in which the Japanese bathe for health, Unzen is also the site of mass martyrdoms in the 17th century. In one of the most heinous instances of torture in history,  Japanese officials hung Catholics upside-down to slowly roast over the hot springs. They punctured holes in the martyrs’ foreheads, so that the rush of blood to their heads would not kill them prematurely.

Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.

Seeking the face of God in prayer

File:Claude Mellan - Face of Christ - WGA14764.jpg
he Face of Christ by Claude Mellan (Wikipedia).

  
Early versions of the new constitutions for the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites defined OCDS members in part as those who ”seek the face of God in prayer” in order to be of service the Church and the world. I love this imagery. Seeking the face of God is the most important aspect of Christian prayer. It separates prayer from eastern meditation techniques and self-seeking under the guise of holiness.

Pope Francis is fond of reminding us that the Christian life is an encounter with Christ. As important as morality is, it cannot take central place. Even such fundamentals as protecting human life and supporting traditional marriage cannot stand alone. Atheists can be pro-life. Muslims can support the traditional family. But only Christians truly encounter Christ.

Created, redeemed, and destined for love The Apostle John summed up the Gospel in this manner: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Gospel begins with God’s love for us. God’s love is at the center of the Christian life.

God created us out of the abundance of His love. When we sinned, He sent God the Son to redeem us. By believing in Jesus, we can come to share in God’s eternal love in Heaven. This is what Christianity is all about.

Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.

Create a guided Christian meditation for kids, step by step

File:DavidiGoliat.jpg
David and Goliath from the Breviari di Marti, 14th-15th century
(photo credit: Wikipedia).

 
I’ve had a lot of requests lately, especially since my interview on Carmelite Conversations, for more details on teaching children to pray. So I’ve decided to write a step-by-step post to help you create these meditations for your children or students.

I will walk you through a meditation I created for my boys. We’ll use the story of David and Goliath as a basis for this meditation, because everyone is familiar with it.

You can write a meditation for your kids without first praying over the Scripture passage yourself. I was making a Bible-based curriculum for the boys for a few years before I realized how akin it was to Christian meditation. At that point, I tried meditating on the Scripture passage first. What happened?

The lesson became more personal. I was more excited about it. My kids and I were then focusing on the same things in our spiritual lives. How cool is that? I taught with more enthusiasm and gained a deeper connection with them.
 Step 1: Read and Meditate on the story yourselfSo, find a Bible and read I Kings 17. This is a long story, so I encourage you to read it outside your prayer time. You don’t want to spend all your time with God reading. You want to spend your time in conversation with Him.

Then set aside about thirty minutes for prayer, alone in a quiet place where no one will interrupt you. Place yourself in God’s presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your meditation.

Read the rest at  Contemplative Homeschool.

Top 10 tips for your spiritual life from 2013

File:Antonello da Messina - The Virgin Mary Reading - Walters 37433.jpg
The Virgin Mary Reading by Walters. Here are the posts
from 2013 she might recommend to you.

‘Tis the season for reviewing the old year. How did you advance towards God this year? Do you remember those blog posts that really struck you at the time, or have you forgotten them? Here are some reminders of how you can grow closer to Christ, taken from my blog posts over the past year.

1. Read the Gospels
If you want to advance towards God, you must learn to love Him. Read what He revealed about Himself. Need more motivation to read Scripture?
Here are 10 Reasons Catholics should read the Bible.

2. Stop making excuses for missing prayer
You’re not going to grow closer to Christ if you aren’t willing to make sacrifices to spend time with Him.
Read 7 Ways to make time for prayer.

3. Ponder God’s Word in your heart
This follows from #s 1 and 2. It’s a particularly Carmelite way of honoring Mary.
See Mary pondered all these things–do you?

4. Choose to become a saint
St. Thomas Aquinas told his sister that the way to become a saint is to will it.
See the details: Can you become a saint by sheer will power?

Read the rest of the list at Contemplative Homeschool.

How to pray throughout the day

File:Jean-François Millet (II) 001.jpg
The Angelus by Millet. In past centuries, Church bells  rang three times day to signal
everyone should stop what they were doing and pray.

St. Paul urges us to “pray constantly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But what does this mean? How can we practice it? When we reach a high state of the spiritual life, we will be in constant communion with God (see, I am assuming we are all going to make it that far). But in the meantime, we can form habits that help us pray throughout the day.

When two people fall in love, they want to spend as much time together as they can. Not only do they go out on a date very evening, they also contact each other during the day. When I was younger, we would call each other or send emails. Today, couples might text each other. Just to hear the other person’s voice or read his words of love would keep the smile on the loved-one’s face for hours.

We need the same kind of contact with God. Our “date” with God is our daily time set aside for nothing but prayer.  But we should also talk to God throughout the day. At first, this might be difficult. It might even seem strange until we have formed the habit. We should remember that our little ways of connecting with God are acts of love.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Are you living a contemplative life?

File:Munier, Emile - Two Girls Praying - 19th century.jpg 
Two Girls Praying By Emil Munier

Are you a contemplative? Some people, faced with this question, would answer an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Perhaps they are saints, at a high stage of union with God. Or perhaps they practice Eastern (as in Hindu or Buddhist) forms of meditation that they equate with contemplation. Some would call themselves contemplative because they are thoughtful and quiet. The rest of us might answer, “No.” Since we are not saints, we wouldn’t dare think of ourselves as contemplatives in the proper sense.

Nevertheless, everyone, no matter his stage in the spiritual journey or his vocation, can live a contemplative life.

A contemplative life is a life ordered toward union with GodIf you have read The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila, you know Teresa divides the spiritual life into seven stages, which she called mansions.  (To be completely accurate, she says that a soul goes back and forth among these stages, rather than proceeding from one to the next in a straight line.) Supernatural contemplation begins in the third or fourth mansion. But contemplative living can begin at our first conversion, even in childhood. Contemplative living prepares us to receive God’s gift of supernatural contemplation.

Read the rest at  Contemplative Homeschool.

Meditation for kids: the thankful leper

File:CodexAureus Cleansing of the ten lepers.jpg  Instructions for Parents I recommend that you meditate on Luke 17:11-19 in your own prayer time before presenting it to your kids. If you’re not sure how to do this, look at last Thanksgiving’s meditation. Talk to the Lord about it from your heart. Ask Him to teach you to be truly grateful, and to lead your children towards thankfulness.

Next, read and discuss the passage with your children. Use your favorite children’s Bible. Define any words they may not know. (I have highlighted some words in the meditation you may want to define before praying with them.)

Choose one or two of the optional activities at the end of this post to help them dig deeper into the meaning of the passage.

Finally, read the meditation aloud to them, pausing for several seconds to a couple of minutes after each of the first two paragraphs. Ask them to repeat the final prayer after you, sentence by sentence.
This meditation works best with children ages seven to ten. For younger or older children, see the variations. It is especially appropriate for those making their First Confession this year.

 Read the meditation at Contemplative Homeschool.