My Sons the Seminarians (Church News and More)
Mobile (Cell) Phone Etiquette (Helpful Hints for Life)
Homily on Mental Prayer is at end of e-mail
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
What is Mental Prayer?
"May my meditation give Him pleasure, as much as God gives me!"
Pray, Pray, PRAY. Ok, so we know that we must pray, but how do we do it. Is one way more effective than another? How did the saints pray? What gave them their 'power'? "Mental prayer is the blessed furnace in which souls are inflamed with the love of God. All the saints have become saints by mental prayer" (St. Alphonsus de Liguori).
Mental Prayer/Meditation (see term below) is the difference. Mental Prayer/Meditation is interior prayer engaging the mind, heart, soul, and strength. Vocal Prayer (see term below) is more exterior. One can offer Vocal Prayer and perhaps remain in sin. One who constantly offers Mental Prayer will either give up sin or give up Mental Prayer.
Next week, I will give you the steps to offer mental prayer.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. A former Sunday's homily is in written form at the end of the e-weekly.
P.S.S. This coming Sunday is the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. > > > Readings
For the Holy Gospel and homily from a former Sunday on Mental Prayer (13 minutes): > > > Listen
prayer (from Latin precārius "obtained by entreaty") [entreaty = earnest request, appeal, beg]
-the raising of one's mind and heart to God
Vocal Prayer (from Latin vocalis, from voc-, vox "voice" = "obtain by entreaty with voice")
-set prayer offered exteriorly (by mouth) by an individual
[The use of some set formulas a person employs using verbal expressions that are not, at the time, the immediate product of communication with God.]
Mental Prayer (from Greek menos "spirit" = "obtain by entreaty with spirit")
(also from Late Latin mentalis, from Latin ment-, mens "mind,")
-one's own prayer offered interiorly with mind, heart, soul, and strength
[In mental prayer the three powers of the soul are engaged: the memory, which offers the mind material for meditation; the intellect, which ponders or directly perceives the meaning of some religious truth and its implications for practice; and the will, which freely expresses its sentiments of faith, trust, and love, and (as needed) makes good resolutions based on what the memory and intellect have made known to the will. Mental Prayer is a form of meditation consisting in the application of the various faculties of the soul, memory, imagination, intellect, and will, to the consideration of some mystery, principle, truth, or fact, with a view to exciting proper spiritual emotions and resolving on some act or course of action regarded as God's will and as a means of union with Him.]
Contemplative Prayer (Latin contemplatus, past participle of contemplari, from com- + templum space marked out for observation of signs from God = "awaiting a sign or gift from God after obtaining by entreaty")
-gift of 'prayer' from God given to the one who perseveres in prayer
[Contemplative Prayer is a gift from God and cannot be acquired or forced. It might be viewed as intimate communion with God.]
Mobile phones are wonderful tools and can even save lives, but as Grandma used to say, all things in their proper order. Here are some essentials:
1) Love the person you are with. Do NOT answer a mobile phone while with someone OR do NOT put someone on hold unless necessity demands that you take that call. In that case, try to tell the person, you might get a call when you are with them.
2) Leave your phone in the car or at home. Do NOT take your phone with you when going to places of worship, public leisure or performances, or visiting others. (Or for an emergency use sake, set the phone to silent.)
3) Be prudent when using mobile phone appropriately out of the house. Be careful not to talk loud, get emotional, or reveal things that should be kept hidden while talking to someone else in public locations. Give your time and attention to the one you are speaking to on the phone. Make sure your ring tones are not too loud.
4) Drive your car while you are driving. If you need the ability to use your cell phone while in your vehicle, pick up a headset, ear bud, bluetooth, etc to leave your hands and eyes available for the road.
> A Beginners Guide to Catholic Mental Prayer <
This is a practical guide to explain and assist you through the
steps to this powerful means of union with God.
[For those traveling this summer and needing to get to the Holy Mass.]
MASS TIMES AND CATHOLIC CHURCHES throughout the US
By Ann Schneible
Krakow, Poland, Jul 31, 2016 / 04:19 am (EWTN News/CNA) - Our true identity cannot be lived out in glum negativity, but only in the knowledge that, in God's eyes, our value cannot be measured; no one is insignificant. Pope Francis made this remarks on Sunday to at least 1.5 million young people gathered in Krakow for the final Mass of World Youth Day (WYD).
“God loves us the way we are, and no sin, fault or mistake of ours makes him change his mind,” the Pope said in his homily to the crowds of young people who filled Polish city's “Campus Misericordiae” – or “Field of Mercy.”
“No one is insignificant,” the pontiff said. “He loves all of us with a special love; for him all of us are important: you are important!”
“In his eyes, you are precious, and your value is inestimable.”
In contrast, to not “accept ourselves, to live glumly, to be negative, means not to recognize our deepest identity,” he said. “It is like walking away when God wants to look at me, trying to spoil his dream for me,”
Sunday's Mass was the final major event of WYD in Krakow, and marks the end of the Pope's July 27-31 visit to Poland.
Pope Francis centered his address on the day's Gospel account of Jesus' encounter with the tax collector Zacchaeus, a man despised by the Jews for his collaboration with the Romans.
The scene demonstrates how Jesus does not simply want to “greet” people, the Pope said. Rather, he “wants to draw near to us personally, to accompany our journey to its end, so that his life and our life can truly meet.”
There were several key obstacles which Zacchaeus had to overcome in approaching Jesus, the pontiff explained, the first his being so physically small that he had difficulty seeing Jesus in the crowd.
“Even today we can risk not getting close to Jesus because we don’t feel big enough, because we don’t think ourselves worthy,” the Pope said. “This is a great temptation; it has to do not only with self-esteem, but with faith itself.”
“We have been created in God’s own image; Jesus has taken upon himself our humanity and his heart will never be separated from us; the Holy Spirit wants to dwell within us. We have been called to be happy for ever with God!”
Francis explained that our true “stature” is found in our spiritual identity: that is, in the fact that we “are God’s beloved children, always.”
“Not to accept ourselves, to live glumly, to be negative, means not to recognize our deepest identity,” he said. “It is like walking away when God wants to look at me, trying to spoil his dream for me.”
The Pope added that “God loves us the way we are, and no sin, fault or mistake of ours makes him change his mind.”
“No one is insignificant. He loves all of us with a special love; for him all of us are important: you are important!”
God is not concerned about whether you are stylish or what kind of phone you have, Pope Francis said. “In his eyes, you are precious, and your value is inestimable.”
“He believes in us even more than we believe in ourselves. He is always “cheering us on”; he is our biggest fan.”
However, to brood over our problems or “past injuries,” the pontiff said, “is unworthy of our spiritual stature!”
“It is a kind of virus infecting and blocking everything; it closes doors and prevents us from getting up and starting over. God, on the other hand, is hopelessly hopeful!”
Francis encouraged the youth in their awareness of being God's beloved sons and daughters, end recommended that they pray every morning: “Lord, I thank you for loving me; help me to be in love with my own life!”
Another obstacle Zacchaeus faced was his shame before Jesus. “It must have been quite a struggle – on one hand, a healthy curiosity and desire to know Jesus; on the other, the risk of appearing completely ridiculous.”
However, the “attraction of Jesus was more powerful” than Zacchaeus' shame, the Pope said, comparing his encounter to that of someone who behaves in unexpected ways upon falling in love.
“For us too, this is the secret of joy: not to stifle a healthy curiosity, but to take a risk, because life is not meant to be tucked away,” he said.
However, Francis explained we cannot wait around when Jesus “offers us life – we can’t respond by thinking about it or 'texting' a few words!”
The Pope went on to encourage young people to not be ashamed of bringing everything to the sacrament of confession, “especially your weaknesses, your struggles and your sins.”
“He will surprise you with his forgiveness and his peace,” he said.
Pope Francis challenged young people to not let their “soul become numb,” but to say without fear “yes” to Jesus, aiming for “the goal of a beautiful love which also demands sacrifice.”
Finally, the third obstacle which Zacchaeus faced came from the crowds, their judgment of him on account of his profession, and of Jesus for his willingness to enter the house of a sinner.
“People will try to block you, to make you think that God is distant, rigid and insensitive, good to the good and bad to the bad,” he said.
Instead, Jesus “demands of us real courage: the courage to be more powerful than evil by loving everyone, even our enemies.”
Although people may laugh at you, or judge you for being dreamers, “do not be afraid,” Pope Francis said. “Don’t be discouraged: with a smile and open arms, you proclaim hope and you are a blessing for our one human family, which here you represent so beautifully!
Unlike the crowds who looked on Zacchaeus with judgement , Jesus “gazed up at him,” the Pope said.
“Jesus looks beyond the faults and sees the person,” and sees the “future good,” he said. This “gaze remains constant, even when it is not met; it seeks the way of unity and communion.
Pope Francis said WYD begins today, but “continues tomorrow, in your homes, since that is where Jesus wants to meet you from now on.”
God does not want young people to remain in the beautiful city of Krakow or in their “cherished memories” of the place.
Rather, “he wants to enter your homes, to dwell in your daily lives: in your studies, your first years of work, your friendships and affections, your hopes and dreams.”
“How greatly he desires that you bring all this to him in prayer!”
Francis reminded young people that Jesus calls them by name, as he did Zacchaeus. “Your name is precious to him,” he said.
“May we too now try to imitate the faithful memory of God and treasure the good things we have received in these days,” the Pope concluded.
“In silence, let us remember this encounter, let us preserve the memory of the presence of God and his word, and let us listen once more to the voice of Jesus as he calls us by name.”
A father shares insights about how families can foster religious vocations
by Brendan Glasgow
It is a tremendous joy and blessing to have two sons attending St. John Paul II Seminary in Washington, D.C. Brendan Jr. entered the seminary as part of the new school's inaugural class in the fall of 2011. James followed him in the fall of 2014.
When Brendan entered, I knew I did not control his vocation and learned to simply let go. I asked the Holy Spirit and Mother Mary to guide him in his discernment and spiritual formation.
Since then, I have not experienced any anxiety about what the future holds for my two sons because God is so evidently with them. My wife, Beth, and I are incredibly joyful as we witness our sons' response to God's call. Their openness is truly inspiring. There was a time when I helped teach and guide them in their faith, but now I learn from them - a role reversal that has been both humbling and rewarding.
Some say there is a crisis of vocations, but I believe the real crisis is in responding to the call. With two of my boys on the path to priesthood, I am sometimes asked for my "secret." I respond that three persons are most responsible - the Holy Spirit, Mother Mary and my wife. Brendan and James were both homeschooled through high school, and my wife was their first and most important catechist. Her love and knowledge of the faith planted the seed, and her wisdom and devotion taught them how to live the faith daily by word and deed. In addition, I cannot overemphasize the importance of family prayer for fostering vocations, whether to the priesthood, religious life or marriage.
About 20 years ago, I first heard the family described as a "domestic church." This spoke deeply to me and changed how I viewed family life. While I am my sons' biological father, their creator and spiritual father is the Lord. My role is to pass on the faith to them by instruction and example. When Brendan first told us that he was applying to seminary, my spirit rejoiced. His heavenly Father knew better than I what he should do with his life, and my expectations for him were no longer relevant.
For James, the path was less direct. He entered The Catholic University of America as a physics major, switched to math, and then decided to enter seminary at the end of his junior year while spending a semester in Ireland. While we were aware that he was considering the priesthood, God led James to that decision in his own time, and that fact also brought us much joy.
One thing that has helped to foster our sons' vocations has been to invite priests and religious into the home. My wife has done this exceptionally well. Her invitations and hospitality to priests and religious sisters resulted in the boys seeing them as ordinary men and women who opened their lives to God's grace. They didn't view priests as distant figures on the altar with whom they had no connection; rather, they learned what life as a priest was like, and the extraordinary impact that one man can have on the parish community and beyond.
In the seminary, Brendan and James receive wonderful human and spiritual formation and a solid academic education. They are taught by dedicated priests who inspire them by example, and they share their lives with brother seminarians who are also a source of grace, fellowship and wisdom.
I encourage parents who may be unsure or anxious about how to respond to a child's interest in the priesthood or religious life to remain confident that the Lord knows what their vocation should be. He will lead them if you prepare and encourage them to respond to the call. Remember what Mary said to the servants at Cana: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5).
BRENDAN GLASGOW lives in Olney, Md., where he is a member of Father Peter Paul Maher Council 6793. He and his wife, Beth, are the parents of seven children.
A Child's Point of View!
The story of Adam and Eve was being carefully explained in the children's Sunday School class. Following the story, the children were asked to draw some picture that would illustrate the story. Little Bobby drew a picture of a car with three people in it. In the front seat was a man and in the back seat, a man and a woman. The teacher was at a loss to understand how this illustrated the lesson of Adam and Eve. Little Bobby was prompt with his explanation. "Why, this is God driving Adam and Eve out of the garden!"
Falling Off The Horse
The old time pastor was galloping down the road, rushing to get to church on time. Suddenly his horse stumbled and pitched him to the ground. In the dirt with a broken leg, the pastor called out, "All you saints in Heaven, help me get up on my horse!
Then, with superhuman effort, he leaped onto the horse's back and fell off the other side.
Once again on the ground, he called to Heaven, "All right, just half of you this time!"
The Pastor had just put up his "Shut OFF all Mobile Phones and Electronic Devices" sign in the back of church during the week. At Mass, a cell phone rings in the assembly. The embarrassed person does not reach to shut it off not wanting to draw attention to himself.
The priest finally says out loud, "That better be God calling!"
How to Deal With The Issue
A friend of mine recently sought counsel for an issue in his life, and came back to me with this funny report...
"My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start.
So far today, I have finished 2 bags of chips and a chocolate cake.
I feel better already."
Homily Introducting to Mental Prayer
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity. -Second Reading
Where is the quiet and tranquil life? Are we offer prayer and supplications?
It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. -Second Reading
Men, MEN, you are the ones in the family that are to say, 'its time to pray,' or 'let's get ready for Mass.' Men, it is your job, not your wife or children to say. Men are to be the leaders of prayer in the family!
Pray together, stay together
Couples, do you pray together. If not, why not
God at the center Who is at the center of your life?
Pray simply and humbly
My dad recently said to me, "Only strong families are going to make it today." You know there might have been a time when we could go through the motions of life, do the minimum be Catholic in name only and get by, but those times are past. Only strong families, and only strong prayer is going to make it today.
"The Eucharist . . . is the greatest gift in the order of grace and of sacrament that the divine Spouse has offered and unceasingly offers to His spouse" (John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae 121. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of the whole Christian life and contains the entire wealth of the Church (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 5). Yet it is possible for one to attend Mass and 'get nothing out of it.' Why is this?
I don't get anything out of Mass. Why do I have to go to Church?
People pray Rosary, attend Mass often, do good works, but still struggle with vice, addiction, habitual sin, no change. Prayer does not seem to be enough. What is needed? MENTAL PRAYER
The reason: people do not know how to meditate; they do not know how to engage in mental prayer.
"Mental prayer is the blessed furnace in which souls are inflamed with the love of God. All the saints have become saints by mental prayer" (St. Alphonsus de Liguori).
Vocal Prayer - External intention and direction to God
Mental Prayer - What we give to God
Contemplative Prayer - What God gives us
The Church's Canon Law says that "Priests . . . are to be conscientious in devoting time regularly to mental prayer" (Canon 276, §2). Holy Mother Church also teaches lay people to travel the way of mental prayer in the Second Vatican Council's decree on the laity: "Only by the light of faith and by meditation on the Word of God can one always and everywhere recognize God in Whom 'we live, and move, and have our being' (Acts 17:28), seek His will in every event, see Christ in everyone" (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 4).
What is Mental Prayer?
-Keep attention on God
-Heart, mind, soul, and strength on God
-Engage mind in imagination to paint more real picture
-Attention is kept
[Meditation is a form of mental prayer consisting in the application of the various faculties of the soul, memory, imagination,intellect, and will, to the consideration of some mystery, principle, truth, or fact, with a view to exciting proper spiritual emotions and resolving on some act or course of action regarded as God's will and as a means of union with Him.]
The function of mental prayer then, is to study the features of the life of Jesus and to beg the Holy Spirit to fashion our lives according to this resplendent pattern.
Keeping constantly in mind who you are and whom you are addressing.
Prayer Mental Prayer everyday
10 Minutes in the classroom of silence.
Either your will give up vice or sin, or you will give up Mental Prayer