Prayer

Episode 10 – Rachel Fulton Brown on How A True, Medieval-Style Devotion to Mary Will Save the Faith and the Culture

Episode 10 – Rachel Fulton Brown on How A True, Medieval-Style Devotion to Mary Will Save the Faith and the Culture

The traditional interpretation of scripture and reading of the cosmos - the Book of Nature - sees Mary in almost every detail, who then, in turn, shows us her Son. Until we rediscover that art of seeing the interrelatedness of all things around us, and that so much that is good is in some way a sign that points to God, through Mary, we cannot create a culture that reflects cosmic, and hence Divine beauty.

Episode 4 - Contemplative Prayer with Visual Images and Transformation

Here is an in-depth explanation of how to do meditation and contemplation with sacred art, and how it helps to transform us in preparation for the highest prayer - liturgical prayer. 

As you pray, keep in mind two sayings:

'Success in prayer is not measured by how we feel during the prayer, but from the work we put in', and 'in spiritual matters, it is in the trying that we are successful.'

Remember also, the spiritual life is about happiness, but while meditation and contemplation can be very pleasant experiences, they can also be dry and distracted. If we give this our best shot, it will contribute to our general happiness not simply to a feeling during the prayer itself. 

Here we go!

I start by doing a short meditation of gratitude - in which I list 10 or so items from the day that are good and thank God for them; and a review of conscience in which I look at my resentments and fears, acknowledge my sins and ask for forgiveness (see the daily routine in The Vision for You book).

1. Exclamation: Blessed be God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three persons and one God. 

trinity_icon-248x300.jpg

Praise: Psalm 116 (117) O praise the Lord all ye nations, praise him all ye peoples, for his merciful kindness is more and more toward us; and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. 

Penitence: Lord have mercy (3 times) 

Petition: Father, may the Holy Spirit lead me to Jesus, in Jesus Name, Amen. 

Prayer from the heart: Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions). Repeat this prayer as a way of eliminating distraction. If thoughts occur during let the good ones go through to their resolution and even be ready to write it down if its something worth remembering. If it is a bad thought, refocus on the Jesus prayer.

At the end of these eight meditations, I pray an extended period of contemplation. I set the clock to 15 minutes and repeat the Jesus prayer again (I will mention this at the end also).

2. Exclamation: Blessed be God, in His angels and in His Saints.

lam_gods.jpg

              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh you saints and angels in heaven, pray for me to Lord our God, that I may have all that I desire most deeply and all that is good for me, but only in accordance with His will. Father, hear our prayers, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

3. Exclamation: Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.

6e5ed913db5bc8d16eeb511a85de26f4--lady-madonna-ma.jpg

              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Mary, Mother of God, please show me your Son. Pray for me to the Lord our God, that I may have all that I most deeply desire, and all that is good for me, but only in accordance with His will. Father, hear our prayers, in Jesus Name, Amen.

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

4. Exclamation: Blessed be Jesus Christ, True God, and True Man. Behold the Lamb of God.

Cristo_crucificado.jpg

              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh God, take away my sins and the fears and resentments that arise from them. Let me die with you spiritually through baptism Amen. In Jesus' name, Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

5. Exclamation: Blessed be Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, my Lord and my God.

thomas.jpg

              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh God, let me rise spiritually through confirmation and through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

6. Exclamation: Blessed be Jesus Christ, ascended into heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father, and the Holy Spirit the Paraclete descending upon us.

12th-century_painters_-_Christ_in_Glory_-_WGA1574.jpg

              An alternative image might be Pentecost

Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh God, let me partake of the divine nature and enter into the mystery of the Trinity through the Eucharist in the sure and certain hope of bodily resurrection after death. In Jesus' name, Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

7. Blessed be God, Our Father in Heaven whom I behold through Jesus in the Spirit.

330031.jpg

              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh Father, grant all that I deeply desire and all that is good for me in accordance with your will. In Jesus' name Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

8. Blessed be Jesus Christ and His Mystical Body, the Church, transfigured and shining with uncreated light.

Transfiguration.jpg

              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Oh God, let me shine with the Light of Christ as I go out into the world that I may draw others to you, for their joy and peace and Your greater glory. In Jesus name, Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

Extended contemplation: Then the contemplation stage begins. I always repeat Jesus Prayers as described in order to eliminate distraction, while being alert to other thoughts that crop into my mind. I follow the good trains of thought and if necessary write things down so that I can remember them afterwards. If bad thoughts occur I focus more on the repetition of the Jesus Prayer.

Philippians 4:6: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Book: The Wellspring of Worship by Jean Corbon.

Book: The Spirit of the Liturgy by Benedict XVI

Episode 3 - The Domestic Church and the New Evangelization

These are two old ideas that are new to many people today, and surprisingly they are connected. Pope Benedict XVI told us that the driving force for the New Evangelization is the Domestic Church. Prayer in the home focussed on a place set aside for it and marked by sacred images goes back to Roman times; the method of seeking to evangelize the post-Christian West termed the New Evangelization. So while the problem is new - how do we convert people whose parents or grandparents were Christian and think they already know enough about the Faith to know they don't like it? - the answer is the same as it ever was. We must be supernaturally transformed, shining with the love of Christ so people want what we have! And it is prayer in the Domestic Church that plays a crucial part in that personal transformation.

Links and quotes: 

Therefore, it must be emphasized once more that the pastoral intervention of the Church in support of the family is a matter of urgency. Every effort should be made to strengthen and develop pastoral care for the family, which should be treated as a real matter of priority, in the certainty that future evangelization depends largely on the domestic Church.
— Pope Benedict XVI, address to the PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY, Clementine Hall, Thursday, 1 December 2011
The family is the first school of prayer where, from their infancy, children learn to perceive God thanks to the teaching and example of their parents. An authentically Christian education cannot neglect the experience of prayer. If we do not learn to pray in the family, it will be difficult to fill this gap later.
— John Paul II, Weekly address, the Vatican, Dec 2011

Weekly address, the Vatican, Dec 2011

Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger: on the New Evangelization

Way of Beauty blog article: The New Evangelization and the Domestic Church - Pope Benedict XVI on the connection between the two

Pictures of Roman home altars and dining arrangements, followed by a modern icon corner:

330px-Vettii.jpg
20120224-House altar in Herculaneum.jpg
10034686736_0bea478dbd_c.jpg
home-altar-2.jpg

Episode 2 - Sacred Art: More Important than Life and Death

Episode 2 - Sacred Art: More Important than Life and Death

Why did people die for the principle of worshiping God with Holy Icons? Would anyone bother today? David Clayton talks to Charlie Deist about why we really should care about this, and how today it is indifference, rather than hostility to images is taking us to oblivion.