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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

Calibrating Your Life Successfully

In 07 Observations on 2016/10/07 at 12:00 AM

I wear this Fitbit and it tells me how many steps I take in a day. It also tells me how many flights of steps I take and how many calories I burn in a day and my heart rate. It also tells me about how I slept during the night. How long, was it restless, how many times did I wake up. A friend asked me if it showed that I had problems sleeping. I told him that I don’t have a problem sleeping. I have problems waking up.

When I first wake up I’m usually groggy and don’t really have my wits about me. I think usually when we wake up it’s pretty slow and we want to go back to sleep. Other times we awaken very quickly and alert. For me this was when I had teenagers in the house and the phone rang at 12:30 and the first words I heard were “I’m OK but”.

Today’s readings really are that call in the night that should wake us up with a start and have us be completely alert. This is no time to be groggy.

The reading starts with a parable about a man who will be fired because he doesn’t do his job well. He is alert and knows that his future is in doubt. He isn’t sure how he’ll take care of himself after he loses his job. He comes up with a clever but dishonest scheme to help his future.

He reduces the amount that people owe his boss. His thinking is that if he gives them a break, they’ll look out for him when he’s out of work. This is clever in that he has devised a way to provide for himself, but it’s dishonest in that he’s giving away what belongs to his boss. No wonder he was being fired.

Here’s the odd part. The boss commended that dishonest steward for acting to secure his own future. Is this reading saying that it’s OK to do something that’s wrong and dishonest to provide for ourselves? Of course not. We always know that you can’t do something evil even if it’s for a good end.

So what’s the point of commending this servant? This man saw that his future well being was in danger. If he did nothing he would be in trouble. This was his 12:30 phone call. He’s alert and has all his wits about him.

The parable goes on to say that the children of this world (like the servant) are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light (hopefully that’s us). This is our 12:30 phone call.

Are we thinking about our future or do we just give a poor effort like the servant did in his job? Of course we’re talking about our eternal future. Are we going through the motions just hoping that the worst won’t happen?

The reading goes on to say that you can’t serve both God and money. This is telling us that we should use the same kind of practical wisdom to ensure our eternal future as we would in matters of our earthly future. Look at the efforts we usually put into our earthly affairs. We prepare for retirement. We monitor how much money we spend to make sure that it fits with our income. We research cars to make sure that we get a good one. These are efforts that we all make to hopefully not wind up in a bad position. I’m not saying that we’re not supposed to deal with things in this world because that is where we live now. But it’s not where we will live forever.

How can we be alert about our eternal future? The first is to really come to grips with the reality that we have an eternal future. It’s easy for us to put off what is unseen. If you have a disease it’s easy to ignore it until the symptoms let you know that this is reality. Then it has your attention. All of us have an eternal future that is beyond our time on this earth. Even if we don’t see the symptoms of that reality some day it will have our attention.

The second is to provide for that future. The servant in the gospel didn’t do what was needed and his future was in doubt. How do we provide for our future? First it’s to come to a real understanding that God is God and we are his creation. This is the proper order and we need to know that God greatly desires that our eternal future will be with him. He has paved the way.

Will we spend the time knowing, loving, and serving the Lord? Will we be alert and not get so caught up in the affairs of our present life here and now?

Here are some practical tips. Pray every day even if only for a few minutes and get a good habit going. You can use regular prayers like in this small book or you can simply have a conversation with God. If you miss a day or two don’t be defeated just start again.

Try reading the scriptures. I would suggest the readings for each day’s Mass as they don’t take very long and are easily available on the internet or in a daily missal like this one. When we read scripture we’ll know more about God and that’s how we grow any relationship.

Brothers and Sisters, it’s 12:30 and the phone is ringing. Let’s be alert and know that we have an eternal future. God greatly desires that we spend eternity with him. Let’s not be like the servant was in the beginning not doing what he was supposed to. Let’s be like the servant when he realized his future could be in jeopardy and he took the steps to have a future that he would want and not be in torment.

You and I are called to be saints spending all of the ages with God. Let’s not be groggy but alert and prepare to be saints. Let’s be in that number when the saints go marching in.

Deacon Jack Staub

St. Matthew Catholic Church

Charlotte, NC

Praying the Psalms

In 07 Observations on 2016/05/27 at 12:00 AM

While the Gospels narrate facts of Christ’s life, it is in the Psalms that we learn of His feelings. Out of love for us, God has given us the ability to think and to understand the feelings He expresses through the Psalms. In Holy Scripture, you can find God’s point of view on every type of person and every possible situation. If you look at life from God’s point of view, you will know what is right vs what is wrong.”Gain understanding from His precepts” and in them find peace. Ps. 119 It certainly will be different from the pyrite (fool’s gold) which the world treasures, unlike true values that are everlasting.God’s point of view opens wide the horizons of reality.
As in all things, Christ is our model. In the presence of His disciples, after the Last Supper, Christ prayed a psalm of praise and by this He demonstrated to us our need to pray. We can also praising God by using the Psalms in our prayers. We will be praying with Him when we use the Psalms. When He made made Himself one with us, He praised His Father in our name also. Let us pray together with Him.  Actually, when we recite the Psalms, we are praying with God’s own words. In the Psalms, Christ reveals His sorrows ands sufferings as well as His triumph. In the Psalms we also find we can express our feelings and our hearts can soar as we pour out to God of fears and needs.
Pray the Messianic Psalms to unite yourself with the feelings of Christ. Lean on Christ your Savior. Lean on Him for support.  Join yourself to Him and you will never go astray. This will enable you to enter into His thought in a living manner that will unite you intimately with Him in the hope of having the same mind.
Faith is the prerequisite for understanding the Holy Scriptures.By reading the Bible we learn about eternal life and how it can be ours. It is the Holy Spirit who grants us the gift of faith so that we can come to the Father through Jesus Christ. Read the Psalms carefully and listen to their message because which show you the way to eternal happiness
Some examples of psalms paraphrased and/or applied:
Psalm 13  How long, O Lord, will I keep forgetting You? How long, O Lord, will I avoid your face?    How long, O Lord, will you put up with me?  How long, O Lord, will I continue in my stubbornness?   (Answer: As long as you keep rejecting My grace. Response: I ask your forgiveness and trust in Your merciful love.)
Psalm 42  Why should my soul feel dejected? I can have hope in my Savior who is there for me with His lovingkindness. So, I will not let myself get upset when I am disturbed, frazzled or out of sorts.  Instead, I shall ask my Savior for His help with the sure knowledge that He will support me
Psalm 15  Lord, I want to be admitted into Your presence. Grant me the grace to: Behave properly. Act justly.  Speak the truth from my heart. Never to slander anyone. Never to injure anyone. Never to cast slurs on anyone’s reputation.   To stay away from those who say You are unreal.  To respect those who follow You. To keep my promises.To give without expecting return.  To not manipulate others or let myself be manipulated.

Some psalms you might want to look up:
Ps.4 Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.  Ps.5 Lead me in your righteousness.  Ps.15 Preserve me, for in you I take refuge.  Ps.25 Make me know your ways.  Ps.43 Send your light and your truth, let them lead me. Ps.51 Have mercy on me, in your kindness…. 51 A pure heart create in me. nPs.69 Make haste to help me.  Ps.71 Be not far from me.   Ps.86 Gladden the soul of your servant.nnPs.102Hear my prayer; let my cry come to you.  Ps.119 Let your steadfast love be ready to comfort me.Ps. 130Let your ear be attentive to the voice of my supplication. Ps. 143 Teach me to do your will

“Penance means being full of tenderness and kindness towards the suffering”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/03/11 at 12:00 AM
Here is a recipe for your way as a Christian: pray, do penance, work without rest, fulfilling your duty lovingly. (The Forge, 65)

And if you can’t think of anything by way of a definite answer to the divine guest who knocks at the door of your heart, listen well to what I have to tell you.

Penance is fulfilling exactly the timetable you have fixed for yourself, even though your body resists or your mind tries to avoid it by dreaming up useless fantasies. Penance is getting up on time and also not leaving for later, without any real reason, that particular job that you find harder or most difficult to do.

Penance is knowing how to reconcile your duties to God, to others and to yourself, by making demands on yourself so that you find enough time for each of your tasks. You are practising penance when you lovingly keep to your schedule of prayer, despite feeling worn out, listless or cold. (Friends of God, 138)

“To pray is to talk with God. But about what?”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/09/18 at 12:00 AM
You write: ‘To pray is to talk with God. But about what?’ About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and Love and reparation. In a word: to get to know him and to get to know yourself: ‘to get acquainted!’ (The Way, 91)

“A prayer to my living God.” If God is life for us, we should not be surprised to realize that our very existence as Christians must be interwoven with prayer. But don’t imagine that prayer is an action to be carried out and then forgotten. The just man “delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates on his law day and night.” “Through the night I meditate on you” and “my prayer comes to you like incense in the evening” [1]. Our whole day can be a time for prayer — from night to morning and from morning to night. In fact, as holy Scripture reminds us, even our sleep should be a prayer.

Our life of prayer should also be based on some moments that are dedicated exclusively to our conversation with God, moments of silent dialogue, before the tabernacle if possible, in order to thank our Lord for having waited for us — so often alone — for twenty centuries. This heart‑to‑heart dialogue with God is mental prayer, in which the whole soul takes part; intelligence, imagination, memory and will are all involved. It is a meditation that helps to give supernatural value to our poor human life, with all its normal, everyday occurrences.

Thanks to these moments of meditation and to our vocal prayer and aspirations, we will be able to turn our whole day into a continuous praise of God, in a natural way and without any outward display. Just as people in love are always thinking about each other, we will be aware of God’s presence. And all our actions, down to the most insignificant, will be filled with spiritual effectiveness.

This is why, as a Christian sets out on his way of uninterrupted dealing with our Lord, his interior life grows and becomes strong and secure. And he is led to engage in the demanding yet attractive struggle to fulfill completely the will of God. (Christ is passing by, 119)

[1] Cf Ps 140:2

“Lord, I don’t know how to pray”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/09/04 at 12:00 AM
If you really want to be a penitent soul – both penitent and cheerful – you must above all stick to your daily periods of prayer, which should be fervent, generous and not cut short. And you must make sure that those minutes of prayer are not done only when you feel the need, but at fixed times, whenever it is possible. Don’t neglect these details. If you subject yourself to this daily worship of God, I can assure you that you will be always happy. (Furrow, 994)

When I see how some people set about the life of piety, which is the way a Christian should approach his Lord, and I find them presenting such an unattractive picture, all theory and formulas, plagued with soulless chanting, better suited to anonymity than to a personal, one to One, conversation with God Our Father (genuine vocal prayer is never anonymous), then I am reminded of Our Lord’s words: ‘When you are at prayer, do not use many phrases, like the heathens, who think to make themselves heard by their eloquence. You are not to be like them; your heavenly Father knows well what your needs are before you ask him.’ A Father of the Church comments on this passage as follows: ‘I understand from this that Christ is telling us to avoid long prayers, not long as regards time but as regards the endless multiplicity of words… For Our Lord himself set us the example of the widow who, by dint of supplication, conquered the resistance of the unjust judge; and the other example of the inconsiderate individual who arrives late at night and who, through insistence more than friendship, gets his friend out of bed (cf Luke 11:5‑8; 18:1‑8). With these two examples, he is telling us to ask constantly, not by composing endless prayers, but rather telling him of our needs with simplicity.’

In any case, if on beginning your meditation you don’t succeed in concentrating your attention so as to be able to talk with God; if you feel dry and your mind seems incapable of expressing a single idea, or your affections remain dull, my advice is that you try to do what I have always tried to do on such occasions: put yourselves in the presence of your Father and tell him this much at least: ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray. I can’t think of anything to tell you.’ You can be sure that at that very moment you have already begun to pray. (Friends of God, 145)

“He calls each and every one to holiness”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/07/17 at 12:00 AM
Prayer is not the prerogative of monks; it is a Christian undertaking of men and women of the world who know themselves to be children of God. (Furrow, 451)

We are deeply moved, and our hearts profoundly shaken, when we listen attentively to that cry of St Paul: ‘This is God’s will for you, your sanctification’ [1]. Today, once again, I set myself this goal and I also remind you and all mankind: this is God’s Will for us, that we be saints.

In order to bring peace, genuine peace, to souls; in order to transform the earth and to seek God Our Lord in the world and through the things of the world, personal sanctity is indispensable. In my conversations with people from so many countries and from all kinds of social backgrounds, I am often asked: ‘What do you say to us married folk? To those of us who work on the land? To widows? To young people?’

I reply systematically that I have only ‘one stewing pot’. I usually go on to point out that Our Lord Jesus Christ preached the good news to all, without distinction. One stewing pot and only one kind of food: ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work’ [2]. He calls each and every one to holiness; he asks each and every one to love him: young and old, single and married, healthy and sick, learned and unlearned, no matter where they work, or where they are. There is only one way to become more familiar with God, to increase our trust in him. We must come to know him through prayer; we must speak to him and show him, through a heart to heart conversation, that we love him.

‘Call upon me and I shall hear you.’ The way to call upon him is to talk to him, turn to him. Hence we have to put into practice the Apostle’s exhortation: sine intermissione orate; pray always, no matter what happens. ‘Not only with your heart, but with all your heart.’ (Friends of God, 294-295)

[1] 1 Thess 4:3
[2] John 4:34

“Go with confidence to Mary”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/05/15 at 12:00 AM
When you see yourself with a dry heart, without knowing what to say, go with confidence to the Virgin Mary. Say to her, “My Mother Immaculate, intercede for me.” If you invoke her with faith, she will make you taste in the midst of your dryness the proximity of God. (Furrow, 695)

Let us also contemplate his blessed Mother, who is our Mother too. We find her on Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, praying. This is nothing new for Mary. She has always acted like this, as she fulfilled her duties and looked after her home. As she went about the things of this earth she kept her attention on God. Christ, who is perfectus Deus, perfectus homo, wanted us also to have the example of his Mother, the most perfect of creatures, she who is full of grace, to strengthen our desire to lift our eyes up to the love of God at every moment. Remember the scene at the Annunciation? The Archangel comes down bearing a divine message — the announcement that Mary is to be the Mother of God — and he finds her withdrawn in prayer. When Gabriel greets her, she is totally absorbed in God. ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.’ A few days later she breaks out into the joy of the Magnificat, a Marian hymn which the Holy Spirit has transmitted to us through the loving faithfulness of St Luke. It reveals Mary’s constant and intimate conversation with God.

Our Mother had meditated deep and long on the words of the holy men and women of the Old Testament who awaited the Saviour, and on the events that they had taken part in. She must have marveled at all the great things that God, in his boundless mercy, had done for his people, who were so often ungrateful. As she considers the tenderness shown time after time by God towards his people, Mary’s immaculate Heart breaks out in loving words, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour, for he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid.’ The early Christians, children of this good Mother, learned from her; we can, and we ought to do likewise. (Friends of God, 241)

Rejoicing

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/12/19 at 12:00 AM

You will note that, instead of the penitential violet that I’ve been wearing for the past two weeks of Advent, today I am wearing rose. As well, the single rose-colored candle on our Advent wreath is lit.

This is because today is Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word that means: “rejoice,” and the color rose symbolizes our rejoicing! In the midst of this season of penance and expectation, today Holy Mother Church calls us to rejoice on this day – for Jesus is near!

Today we use the color rose as a sign of our hope in Christ and the deep and abiding joy that we should have in Him and in His power to save us from our sins.

Throughout the course of Advent, the readings and prayers of Mass help us prepare for our Lord’s coming – both as man in the Incarnation and His second coming, when He will come in glory with all the angels and saints to bring salvation to those who love Him.

Thus, in all of the readings we hear at Mass during Advent there is an undertone of hope. We see this especially today in the first reading from Isaiah in which we are told that our Lord will come with vindication in order to save us.

Isaiah tells us that even nature itself will anticipate the time of the Lord’s coming as the desert and parched land exult, and the steppe rejoices and blooms with abundant flowers.

But more importantly, Isaiah speaks of the miracles that will accompany the coming of the Messiah, namely that “the eyes of the blind [will] be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, [and] the tongue of the mute sing.”

And in our Gospel we hear Jesus refer to this prophesy to confirm that He is indeed this long- awaited Messiah as He sends the message to St. John the Baptist: “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”

Just as Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophesies of Isaiah by His virginal birth and the miracles He worked, it is our firm and confident hope that our Lord will fulfill His promise of salvation when He comes again at the end of time, and that hope leads us to rejoice today.

But the hope we bear today as we await our Lord’s coming is not something that just springs up on its own because we’ve heard these readings.

The mere knowledge of the Savior’s existence and His imminent coming does not engender hope in the hearts of most of us. We must prepare our hard hearts to hope in God by using the spades of fasting, penance, and sacrifice to dig out the stones of sin and indifference.

Truly, how many of us who profess belief in Jesus and in His power to save us remain unmoved in faith or hope by this holy season of Advent or the beauty of Christmas?

Sadly, there are plenty of Christians today who plunge head long into the soul-numbing materialism of this season with very little thought for this season’s true meaning.

Rather than honoring Advent as a season of penance, fasting, and prayer, so many of us treat it as an early celebration of Christmas, feasting and celebrating, and concerning ourselves more with preparing our homes for Christmas rather than preparing our souls for Christ.

This focus on materialism deadens our love for God and makes us indifferent to Him. When we place our hopes on the things of this world or the gifts under our Christmas tree, we quickly begin to believe that we no longer need God. That’s our human nature.

While today and the major feast days of this season are days of feasting and celebration, we must strive nonetheless to maintain some sense of penance and fasting in Advent, some sense of simplicity, because penance and fasting help to engender within our souls the hope that is proper to this season.

Hope, like all virtues, is delicate and fragile as it begins to take root in our souls. Like a
gentle flame that is easily extinguished, hope must be protected from the winds of pessimism,
doubt, and materialism that can lead us to place our trust in something other than God.

In order to stand fast against those things that can extinguish our hope in God, we must
strengthen the virtue of hope within us through the practices of prayer, fasting, and penance.

Whereas prayer helps us to know and love God, fasting and penance help us to find joy inHim. By stripping away other joys in which we might be tempted to take more delight than we do in God, penance and fasting helps us to focus on God as our supreme joy!

Thus, fasting and penance give rise to hope; they prepare our hearts to hope in the Lord.  This is precisely why I asked you to do a little fasting this Advent, especially during the first 9 days of this month as we were praying our novena in preparation for the consecration of our parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

While fasting and penance strengthen our prayers and make them even more acceptable to God, fasting and penance also focus our attention more squarely upon Him! And in focusing on our Lord all the more intently, we come to love and desire Him all the more!

It’s also for this reason that we are counseled by St. James to be patient until the coming of the Lord. Waiting patiently is it’s own form of penance.

But there’s also a certain joy we experience when anticipating the arrival of a loved one. We naturally get excited at the thought of a loved one’s coming, especially if we haven’t seen him for a long time or if he’s coming from a long way away.

Thus, Advent should produce a certain anticipatory joy within our souls as we await the coming of Jesus! But this can only happen fully if we await our Lord in a spirit of fasting and penance, rather than indulging in the joys of Christmas early!

In a sense during Advent the Catholic soul is called to be like an engaged couple, who courageously practicing the virtue of chastity before their marriage, enjoys the expectation of nuptial bliss that marriage will bring.

It takes restraint and discipline not to indulge in the rights of marriage when one is engaged, but doing so creates its own joy of anticipation, and it increases the joy of the wedding night.

Refraining from the joy until the proper time makes the joy all the more enjoyable when that proper time comes! The same is true for Advent!

While some amount of feasting during Advent is appropriate – such as on a day like today – and because it’s nearly impossible in our cultural milieu to avoid parties altogether this time of the year, it’s important for us to maintain a spirit of fasting and penance during Advent.

So in the 10 days that remain before the great feast of Christmas, let us all make it a point to take on some special form of fasting or to make some extra sacrifices in order to better prepare for our Lord’s coming. Let us strive for a little simplicity in our lives!

Let us strive to forget the things of this world and focus our attention solely on our Lord. The great Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross once wrote: “Forget the creature; remember the Creator. Study the interior life, and enjoy love’s summation.” May we heed his advice as a means of preparing for our Lord’s coming.

Let us trust that by our fasting and penances, our hearts will grow in hope, and our souls will be even more fitting places in which our Lord may dwell.

O Mary, Mother of Holy Hope and Virgin Most Powerful, pray for us!
15 December 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

“The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/10/17 at 12:00 AM
The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you will be amazed at the results. (The Way, 558)

In our relationship with our mother in heaven, we should act in very much the same way. Many Christians have the custom of wearing the scapular; or they have acquired the habit of greeting those pictures — a glance is enough — which are found in every christian home and in many public places; or they recall the central events in Christ’s life by saying the rosary, never getting tired of repeating its words, just like people in love; or they mark out a day of the week for her — Saturday, which is today — doing some special little thing for her and thinking particularly about her motherhood.

There are many other marian devotions which I needn’t mention here. A Christian doesn’t need to live them all. (Growing in supernatural life is not a matter of piling one devotion on top of another.) I would say, however, that anyone who doesn’t live some of them, who doesn’t express his love for Mary in some way, does not possess the fullness of the faith. (Christ is passing by, 142)

Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ

In 15 Audio on 2014/04/18 at 12:00 AM
Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.
In the series, Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life, Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., President of Gonzaga University, presents a rich practical guide for helping busy people develop a deeper prayer life. Spitzer presents five essential means through which the contemplative and active aspects of our lives can be joined, creating a stronger spiritual life. Contemplation allows God to probe the depths of our hearts and allows us to gain deeper insight into His truth and love. This exchange allows the freedom to love in the very imitation of Jesus Christ himself, ” This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” St. Ignatius of Loyola espoused the ideal of becoming “contemplatives in action.” He was convinced that contemplation–the deep awareness and appropriation of the unconditional love of God–should affect our actions, and that our actions need to be brought back to our interior foundation. Fr. Spitzer shows that there are five essential means through which this communion can be attained, particularly for busy people: the Holy Eucharist, spontaneous prayer, the Beatitudes, partnership with the Holy Spirit, and the contemplative life itself. Fr. Spitzer invites viewers to contemplate the vast beauty and depth of the spiritual masters, issuing a call to a deeper spiritual life, entering ever more deeply into the heart of God.

1.First Pillar: Jesus’ Intentions in the Holy Eucharist
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_01.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., explains what the five pillars of the spiritual life are, and begins to discuss the first pillar of the Holy Eucharist.

2.First Pillar: The Holy Eucharist
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_02.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., proceeds further into his discussion on the Holy Eucharist, a priceless gift which causes us to contemplate upon the love and God and give thanks.

3.First Pillar: The Grace of the Eucharist
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_03.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., details the graces received in the Holy Eucharist as healing, forgiveness, peace, transformation, and Church unity, all of which are incorporated into the Liturgy.

4.Second Pillar: Spontaneous Prayers
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_04.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., describes sets of spontaneous prayers designed to petition for divine assistance or help, as well as specialized prayers in times of real suffering.

5.Second Pillar: Spontaneous Prayers, Part Two
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_05.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., shares sets of spontaneous prayers which offer and seek forgiveness. The motive of personal prayer should not derive from self-centeredness but out of the desire for submission to God’s will.

6.Third Pillar: The “Our Father” and the Beatitudes
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_06.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., enumerates the five petitions contained within the Lord’s Prayer as the model prayer form. He details the Beatitudes as means of living out the intentions of the “Our Father.”

7.Third Pillar: The Beatitudes, Part Two
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_07.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., reveals the empathy Christians are to offer to those in need as followers of Christ attempting to love as he loves.

8.Third Pillar: The Beatitudes and the Examen Prayer
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_08.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., relates that Christians are to mirror the merciful heart of Christ, who forgave and loved his enemies, performed works of mercy, promoted peace and worked for reconciliation among those divided by discord or error.

9.Fourth Pillar: Partnership with the Holy Spirit, Part One
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_09.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., shares that the Holy Spirit is the best spiritual director one could hope for, aiding the personal discernment process for finding God’s will in a particular circumstance by instilling a sense of lasting peace, guiding through distractions for clear perception, and finally providing inspiration to make proper decisions.

10.Fourth Pillar: Partnership with the Holy Spirit, Part Two
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_10.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., declares the Holy Spirit’s role in personal guidance, exhorting believers to constancy in times of spiritual consolation and desolation, leading to an increase in the theological virtues of faith, hope and love.

11.Fourth Pillar: Partnership with the Holy Spirit, Part Three
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_11.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., describes the role of feelings and emotions as natural to the life of faith. Consolations and desolations may come and go, but one should focus on growing in relationship to God—the end of the quest of the spirit and the giver of all true gifts.

12.Fourth Pillar: Partnership with the Holy Spirit, Part Four
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_12.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., distinguishes between the consolations and desolations which may come from God or the devil. Rules of discernment are given so as to retain clarity and focus amidst potential clutter and confusion.

13.Fifth Pillar: The Contemplative Life
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_13.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., offers practical guidance for active people who seek to develop a contemplative prayer life. Cultivating the “school of the heart,” contemplatives are encouraged to pray with the Scriptures and give thanks to God for his blessings, thereby receiving his consolation and revelatory insight.

14.Fifth Pillar: Eight Vehicles of Contemplation
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_14.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., relays eight means to come into contemplation, through giving thanks and praise to God; meditating on his life, his Word and his liturgy; practicing devotions, offering simple prayers and praying in silence. In these ways contemplatives remember to appreciate who God is in their lives, following his will and giving thanks in all things.

15.Fifth Pillar: How to Begin Contemplation
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_15.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., points out that a key element of contemplation is to recognize that God is love. God’s love is typified by the Scriptures, especially 1 Corinthians 13 and the Beatitudes of Matthew 5. God desires to bestow on everyone the highest good, salvation, and unconditional love.

16.Fifth Pillar: Vehicles of Contemplation, Part One
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_16.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., declares that thanksgiving is the proper response to contemplating the wonder of God’s creation in general, his creation of the soul, redemption through Jesus Christ and for the gift of one’s entire life.

17.Fifth Pillar: Vehicles of Contemplation, Part Two
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_17.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., conveys ways we can contemplate the wonder of God’s gifts to humanity: through the Eucharist, reading the Scriptures in general, and by meditating on the life of Christ in the Gospel following the method of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

18.Fifth Pillar: Vehicles of Contemplation, Part Three
Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.fivepillars_18.mp3Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., gives further examples of Ignatian Contemplation of the life of Christ in the Gospel, sharing how people living in the time of Jesus loved and trusted him. These meditations may be carried into devotions like the Rosary, simple prayers and the prayer of silence.http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=842969394&pgnu=1