" "Let it be confirmed and engraved on your heart that I am always with you , even if you don’t feel My presence at the time of battle.” - Jesus to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Book Review - Is Centering Prayer Catholic?

When I returned to the Catholic Church, I was hungry to really learn and live my Faith. Naturally, I turned to those who had welcomed me back for guidance, never suspecting for a second that those I approached would ever (intentionally or unintentionally) steer me anywhere but to the Truth. 

I read and devoured everything they put before me, including suggestions that I turn to “centering prayer”.  At the time, my prayer life was rather simple. I relied heavily on the words others created and was in no position to compare the efficacy and/or validity of centering prayer to other forms of prayer.

Initially, I enjoyed this new way of praying. But as I matured in my Faith, I abandoned it. It did not seem “right” although I was still too spiritually immature to articulate why I felt that way.

It would have been helpful to me during that part of my spiritual journey had “Is Centering Prayer Catholic?” existed. Connie Rossini has done a great service to the Church and the souls of its members by objectively and professionally comparing “centering prayer” and what its proponents have said about it to what the Catechism of the Catholic Church and some of its great spiritual guides, such as St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, actually teach about prayer.

The book is well-written, clear, informative, instructive and a must read for anyone seeking a more fruitful prayer life.  I highly recommend you read (and re-read) this outstanding book.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Podcast - When You Next Come Into His Presence

Do we take Our Lord's presence here among and within us for granted? You may want to listen to THIS.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Worth Revisiting Wednesday - Why? Why Injustice? Why Suffering? Why?

Thanks to the generosity and encouragement of Allison Gingras and Elizabeth Riordan, an ever-expanding group of Catholic bloggers take the time each week to re-post their favorite articles on “Worth Revisiting” Wednesdays.

Go there now (and every Wednesday) and let these authors bless and challenge you in your Faith journey.

During the rest of each week, be sure to  visit Allison at Reconciled To You and Elizabeth at Theology Is A Verb
Here is my contribution:

Why Injustice? Why Suffering? Why?

(Originally posted June 14, 2015)

[There are questions that have no ready answers.How many times have we asked God "Why" when He sends suffering or injustice our way or to our loved ones and friends? Father Raymond answers this recurrent question with one of his own sure to cause you to ponder this subject anew:]

(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)
"Divine Providence, which is but another name for God, is bound to be more than puzzling; it is sure to be an insoluble mystery.

We simply do not, we simply cannot, see the reason for many things. Why is this young couple denied children for whom they long, and for whom they could make lavish provision, while next door the mother already burdened with a large family, for whom the father is straining to make ends meet, gives birth to another healthy child?

Why is it that this holy young woman brings forth a stillborn child, while a neighbor who has lost all faith becomes a mother to stocky twins?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Eucharistic Reflection - The Call of the Eucharist

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

"Union with Christ in the Eucharist must be expressed in the truth of our lives today - in our actions, in our behavior, in our life-style, and in our relationships with others. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Glimpse of St. Thomas Aquinas

[It has been four years since I originally shared this post. I thought it might be worthwhile to do so again on the memorial of this great Dominican saint and theologian.]

Thomas Aquinas was born to a noble family in Aquino (Italy) in 1225. They objected to his entering the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) but he did so in 1244. At the age of nineteen, he went on to study under Saint Albert the Great.  His life is succinctly but beautifully summarized in today’s “Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours for the Order of Preachers”:

 “He devoted all his energy to the service      of  truth,  eagerly searching it out, lovingly contemplating it, and imparting it to others through his writing, his teaching and his preaching. His life was marked by devotion to the Passion of the Lord, to the mystery of the Eucharist, and to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.”

Known as the Angelic Doctor, he is often described as one of the greatest philosophers, theologians and Catholic teachers of all time. This is the man who produced the Summa Theologiae, the theological master piece that has survived centuries of scrutiny, continues to guide the Church, and is the foundation upon which Dominican friars and countless priests, religious and lay men and women have been and are currently being formed.

St. Thomas began working on the Summa in 1266. But in 1273, three months before his death, he abruptly and intentionally chose not to complete this work. It has been reported that he “underwent an experience so intense” while saying Mass on the feast day of St. Nicholas (December 6, 1273), that after that Mass, he stated he could no longer write “because all that I have written seems to me so much straw”. 

As brilliant, learned, and insightful as St. Thomas Aquinas was he was, above all things, humble. Less we forget that learning can often lure us to excessive pride, he left us this pearl of wisdom: “The highest form of teaching comes not from books written, but from lives lived.”

Thomas died on March 7, 1274. He was canonized in 1323 and declared a Doctor of the Catholic Church in 1567. Pope Leo XII declared him Patron of all Universities and Catholic Schools.

No discussion of St. Thomas Aquinas, even such a short inadequate summary as this, should end without some mention of the beautiful Eucharistic hymns that he left for his beloved Church. Only a man who intimately loved his Eucharistic Lord could have been used by that loving God to compose Adoro te Devote, Pange LinguaPanis Angelicus or Tantum Ergo. Why not spend a few quiet minutes today listening to and allowing the majestic nature of these songs stir your heart and soul?

[There are many ways to access the Summa Theologiae. New Advent has an online-searchable version. If you don’t feel up to tackling the Summa head on right now, then consider a great classic -  one of my favorite books - My Way of Life (Pocket Edition of St. Thomas, The Summa Simplified for Everyone) by Walter Farrell, O.P. S.T.M. and Martin J. Healy, S.T.D. Easy to understand and only $8.50 (plus postage) it is a spiritual steal. You can go directly to the Confraternity of the Precious Blood in Brooklyn, N.Y. and arrange to purchase your copy. You will not regret the purchase. I am not affiliated with the Confraternity of the Precious Blood and will receive no remuneration for making this recommendation. This is just a “must have resource” for any Catholic serious about studying his/her Faith.]

Pondering Tidbits of Truth - January 28, 2016

Pondering Tidbits of Truth is my simple and inadequate way of providing nuggets of spiritual wisdom for you to chew on from time to time.

St. Josemaria Escriva

"Mortification does not usually consist of great renunciations, for situations requiring great self-denial seldom occur. Mortification is made up of small conquests, such as smiling at those who annoy us, denying the body some superfluous fancy, getting accustomed to listening to others, making full use of the time God allots us...and so many other details. We find it in the apparently trifling problems, difficulties and worries which arise without our looking for them in the course of each day."

(From Christ is Passing By)