….TO PRAY. HELP! I'M A PRIEST - IT SHOULD BE EASY.
Sometimes it's easier than at other times.
Sometimes, if I'm out in inspirational countryside,
or by the sea with waves crashing on the shore;
or when we lived in The Fens, on a Summer's day
looking at an horizon that seemed to go on for ever and ever,
distantly-merging with enormous skies that belittled human beings
into an awareness that there MUST be something bigger than us!
I've long-realised that I'm easily-distracted. I need something to focus upon. A candle, a statue, an icon, a cross, music to uplift my soul, the odour of sanctity of incense or a joss-stick, or, as I said in the previous paragraph, something in the natural world to humble me into the realisation that I am not the centre of the universe.
“To be a Pilgrim: A Spiritual Notebook”, written in the 1980s by Cardinal Basil Hume, was written clearly and simply by a learned and saintly man for straight-forward sinners like me! Here’s an extract from it, entitled ‘THE PILGRIM’S SECRET - Ten Golden Rules’, which I for one have found useful when my prayer-life has been getting a bit dry.
1. Plan to pray; do not leave it to chance. Select a time and a place (a room at home, on the bus, taking a walk).
2. Decide on how long you will spend in trying to pray (one minute, five minutes, ten, fifteen or more).
3. Decide what you are going to do when you pray – e.g. which prayer to select to say slowly and lovingly;
or which passage from the Bible to read prayerfully. Sometimes use your own words; sometimes just be still and silent. Follow your inclination.
4. Ask the Holy Spirit for help in your prayers. Pray: “Come Holy Spirit, teach me to pray; help me to do it”.
5. Remember you are trying to get in touch with a Person, and that Person is God – Father or Son or Holy Spirit. God wants to get in touch with you.
6. Don’t be a slave to one way of praying. Choose the one that you find easiest at the moment, and try some other method when the one you are using becomes a burden or doesn’t help.
7. Don’t look for results.
8. If you have distractions, then turn your distractions into your prayer. (If a car passes the window in the wrong gear, then say something to God about the driver – I mean a kind of prayer for the welfare of the driver, not necessarily for his driving or gearbox!)
9. If you always feel dry and uninterested at prayer, then read a spiritual book or pamphlet. Spiritual reading is important.
10. Trying to pray is praying. Never give up trying.
PRAYER FOR NOW.....
God of healing and hope,
in Jesus you meet us in our places of pain and fear. Look with mercy on those who have contracted this virus,
on any who are vulnerable, and on all who feel in danger. Through this time of global concern, by your Holy Spirit
bring out the best not the worst in us.
Make us more aware of our interdependence on each other,
and of the strength that comes from being one body in you. Through Christ our wounded healer. Amen.
DAY of PRAYER, FASTING and WORKS of CHARITY – This Thursday, 14th May.
Pope Francis has called on people of ALL religions to come together on Thursday 14th May for a day of prayer. This he has called to bring people of all faiths together to help overcome the negativity of the Coronavirus pandemic with the positivity of mutual faith.
"The Society" has produced an excellent paper full of practical and manageable suggestions to help us be a part of this initiative in our own small way....
AND FINALLY -
Today is the celebration of OUR LADY OF FATIMA. There will be more next week on this site about the apparition of Mary to three ordinary Portuguese children in 1917 (months before the Russian Revolution), along with other similar "showings" of Mary at significant times in human history.
Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven, alleluia.
He whom thou wast meet to bear, alleluia.
As he promised, hath arisen,
Pour for us to him thy prayer,
alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord is risen indeed,
alleluia. O God, by the Resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
you have brought joy to the whole world:
grant that, by the help of his mother, the Virgin Mary,
we may obtain the joys of everlasting life;
through Christ the Lord. Amen