Category Archives: Prayer

St. Jude Novena @ PrayMoreNovenas.com

Pray the St. Jude NovenaJoin me and over 5,000 other Catholics in praying the St. Jude Novena beginning on October 19th. Sign up at PrayMoreNovenas.com – St. Jude Novena.

Saint Jude is the patron of Hopeless Causes and Desperate Situations.

“Pray these novena prayers to Saint Jude with confidence. Catholics have relied on his intercession in times of extreme need for centuries.

This Apostle and Martyr has helped countless souls through his epistle in the New Testament and his intercessions on behalf of those who seek his aid in times of trial.

Pray this novena for your intentions asking St. Jude to intercede to God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit on your behalf.”

PrayMoreNovenas.com is worth checking out. I think this is a fantastic way to bring Catholics together in prayer.

St. Jude pray for us!


Why Fathers Need Prayer @ LovingTheChurch.com

Blessed John Paul II with his fatherThis week at LovingTheChurch.com, I discuss why, as a father, I need to pray – Why Fathers Need Prayer.

Christ said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). Life comes at me every day, prayer helps me to live life on life’s terms; to live in the present moment; to place my trust in God.

John Thavis, the Rome Bureau Chief for Catholic News Service, once wrote the following about Blessed John Paul II and his father:

“The future Pope would sometimes wake in the middle of the night and find his father praying on his knees. At his death, friends say Karol knelt for twelve hours in prayer at his father’s bedside.”

At the end of the post I include a prayer – A Father’s Prayer for Guidance. It is an excellent prayer and worth passing on to any fathers in your life.

May God bless you and keep you.


The Joe & Joe Show: Episode 3 – IS ANXIETY NORMAL?

Are you anxious? Joe and Joe discuss anxiety.This week on THE JOE & JOE SHOWIS ANXIETY NORMAL?

Do you suffer from anxiety?

Is anxiety normal?

What does Jesus Christ say about anxiety?

What is at the root of anxiety?

Joe & Joe discuss these and other questions surrounding the ever popular topic of anxiety. So listen in as they answer the question – IS ANXIETY NORMAL?

May God bless you and keep you.


The Joe & Joe Show: Episode 2 – CATHOLIC CERTITUDE

Catholic CertitudeThis week on THE JOE & JOE SHOWCATHOLIC CERTITUDE

Do you know why you believe in what you believe?

How do you know that Jesus is God?

How can you be sure that you are in the Church Christ founded?

How can you be certain that the way you are living will result in lasting happiness?

Joe and Joe tackle these questions and more…so listen in to find out what Joe & Joe think about CATHOLIC CERTITUDE.


7 Ways To Be A Better Husband @ LovingTheChurch.com

How To Be A Better Husband
This week at LovingTheChurch.com, 7 Ways To Be A Better Husband!

I reflect on 7 practical things I can do to be a better husband, a more loving husband.

Krista certainly deserves that :^)

Have a great day, everybody!

May God bless you and keep you.


Prayer: The Example of My Father @ LovingTheChurch.com

Mom and Dad at St. Peter's BasilicaThis week at LovingTheChurch.com I paid tribute to my dad!

My father and his commitment to prayer has always been a wonderful example for me and my other siblings. You can read the entire article here – Prayer: The Example of My Father.

May God bless and keep you. Have a great weekend everyone!


Alleluia, Christ Is Risen! Happy Easter!

The Resurrection, by MichelangeloHappy Easter, everyone!

May the Risen Lord bless each of you. I wanted to share the following antiphon and prayer from today’s Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.

Our Redeemer has risen from the tomb; let us sing a hymn of praise to the Lord our God, alleluia.
2nd Antiphon, The Liturgy of the Hours, pg 524

God, our Father, creator of all,
today is the day of Easter joy.
This is the morning on which the Lord appeared to men
who had begun to lose hope
and opened their eyes to what the scriptures foretold:
that first he must die, and then he would rise
and ascend into his Father’s glorious presence.
May the risen Lord
breathe on our minds and open our eyes
that we may know him in the breaking of bread,
and follow him in his risen life.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen. Alleluia.
The Liturgy of the Hours, pg 526

May the grace and peace of our Risen Lord Jesus be with you and your family.


Spiritual Toolbox: Spiritual Reading

The Importance of Spiritual ReadingAs a child, whenever I was craving sweets or junk food, my mother would say to me – You are what you eat. The implication of course was that if I filled my body with “junk” then I’d become, or rather feel like junk.

The same can be said for my mind.

If I am constantly filling my mind with popular literature, news feeds, and tabloid gossip it is extremely hard for it to be elevated to the things of God. This is personal experience talking…I used to easily fall into the mental pursuit of all things worldly.

Over the past year, I have had to stop filling my head with the latest. This wasn’t easy. But, it all started with a honest, simple question…

Is any of this leading me closer to God?

I had hit a bottom and knew that something in my life had to change.

For me, it came down to an age-old choice:

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days… – Deut 30:19-20

I knew that, for me, there was no standing still in the midst of the flowing river of life. I was either growing in my relationship with God or I was drifting away.

God, in His Goodness, placed in my heart a desire to try. Today, by His Grace, I make time for prayer and spiritual reading.

Why do I need spiritual reading?

Many of the Early Church Fathers and Saints of the Catholic Church have recommended, or rather insisted, upon the habit of spiritual reading, beginning with Sacred Scripture. For me though, the real motivation was an increasing desire to grow in knowledge of God and those things pertaining to spiritual growth.

Fr. Anthony Paone, S.J., in his “summary of the spiritual life” My Daily Bread wrote the following reflection on spiritual reading:

Reading brings me many thoughts. It helps me to understand better what I already believe. It keeps my outlook on life fresh and unconfused. It also keeps my enthusiasm alive. One who does not read, is like a man who tries to live on the smallest possible amount of food and sunshine. His spiritual life will eventually shrivel up and become anemic. It may even die when a strong temptation comes along. I can read safely only when I follow the guidance of Christ’s Church. He has given Her power and authority to direct me in all matters of faith and morals. I want to read, reflect, and pray a little each day so that I may follow Our Lord more intelligently in my daily activities. – pg 242-243

How true this has been in my own life. When I’m spending, even just a little time, in spiritual reading each day I find that I have a greater awareness of God in my life and my need for His love and mercy.

What then is spiritual reading?

Thomas Dubay, S.M. in his awesome work, Seeking Spiritual Direction provides three elements which distinguish spiritual reading from other types of religious reading.

  1. It nourishes a person with God’s word, even when the content is not expressly biblical (Deut 32:1-3)…it aids us in growing in faith, hope, and love and in all the concrete details of living our new life in Christ.
  2. It enlightens the reader with divine truth – a light that enables one to love, praise, delight, and live in the new way that St. Paul calls a spiritual revolution (Ps 19:7-8; Eph 4:23)
  3. It is a prayer experience, a dialogue with the indwelling Lord living within His Church and in each member as His temple.

What then should I read?

Fr. Dubay recommends, and I personally find most useful, the reading of Sacred Scripture as well as the writings of the Saints.

Fr. Dubay, while pointing out “the weaknesses and disadvantages of long lists of books” and the need for knowledge of the individual person, names a few classics he believes shouId be read “somewhere early in one’s serious pursuit of God”:

That list can be a bit daunting. When I first began reading I was so disconnected that I had to start small and easy.

I came across a little book, by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, The Way to Happiness. It contained short topical essays that were perfect for where I was. Archbishop Sheen spoke to me with such joy and certitude that I had a real desire to prayerfully meditate on what he was saying. He led me closer to God, and in doing so, Archbishop Sheen became my mentor and I am better for it. I would also add Sheen’s Lift Up Your Heart as another must read.

So how do I go about spiritual reading?

Fr. Dubay, again, provides some direction here:

…read for spiritual profit, not for mere curiosity or to ‘get through with it’ or to be delighted with the wit or brillance of the author. We choose a suitable time and a quiet place, so that the message may more readily settle in. We read slowly, mingling prayer and pondering into the reading itself…We avoid craving it, a spiritual gluttony that dissipates rather than deepens our inner life. Better to read a few books prayerfully than many superficially.

I remember when I first started making time for spiritual reading, I felt a real sense of being overwhelmed. I hadn’t been doing any spiritual reading. It seemed rather hard, focusing took work. I started asking myself questions like – Will I have the “time” to keep this up? Do I really need to be reading this frequently? Maybe it would be better if I waited until a more opportune time?

The answer to each of my “roadblock” questions came to me in the words of our Lord Jesus to Martha:

Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her. – Lk 10:41

Christ offers me the good portion too. For my part, I have to set aside the many things. I knew Jesus was calling me to the one needful thing, in a word, Himself.

Spiritual reading, for me, has become a necessary and joyful part of my relationship with God, Whom I am to love with all my mind (Matt 22:37).

May God bless you and keep you.


Spiritual Toolbox: Prayer

Prayer is a Powerful ToolI have tools today. In fact, I have a spiritual toolbox.

As a Catholic, I have been given many wonderful spiritual tools to deal with just about anything life might throw at me.

The whole business of tools can be tricky though. I have discovered that the “world” offers me tools as well.

So for me, how my day goes depends upon what tools I pick up.

It’s something I have to be conscious of every day. What tools do I have to use on a consistent, day-to-day basis? What tools do I need to make use of weekly, monthly, or just in certain situations?

Today, I’m just going to share about one tool, one really important tool.

PRAYER

I’m not going to go into the theology of prayer (CCC 2558-2865). I just want to talk about prayer from a practical perspective.

I have to pray.

In my life, when I’ve abandoned my prayer life I’ve wandered far from God. I get pounded by sin, selfishness, and worldliness. That is a fact.

I’m a stubborn soul. The pain has to get pretty bad. In retrospect, I’m extremely grateful for that. Pain has served a valuable purpose in my life. It got me right where I needed to be…on my knees.

Now I’m no master of prayer, I’m just an average guy trying to do God’s will. That’s my disclaimer. Some of you are certainly more qualified to talk about prayer than me. Yet, as the Psalmist proclaimed, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all thy wonderful deeds” (Ps 9:1). So I feel compelled to share how prayer works for me.

MORNING

My day has to begin with prayer. I have certain prayers I say each morning. I try to combine the basic forms of prayer – Blessing, Petition, Intercession, Thanksgiving, and Praise. I also try to listen. Prayer is a conversation with God.

Then I use a couple tools that combine prayer and spiritual reading. First, I pray the Daily Meditation offered by Regnum Christi. This is by far the best daily meditation on the day’s Gospel reading that I have found. It doesn’t take much time, and it combines thoughts and questions for meditation with specific prayers. I highly recommend it. Another wonderful tool is the Liturgy of the Hours (this link takes you to a great site for becoming familiar with this prayer of the whole People of God).

DAY TIME

During the day, I have incorporated the practice of aspirational prayer. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God,
have mercy on me,
a sinner. Amen.

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity,
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Amen.

The Divine Mercy Prayer, also the prayer John Paul II recommended for times of difficulty
Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.

Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane
Not my will, but Thy Will be done. Amen.

These are just a few I make use of during the day. I also spontaneously pray to God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit individually and as the Most Holy Trinity. I ask Mary and the saints, especially St. Joseph, for their intercession and thank them for watching over our family and for prayers answered.

NIGHT

Before going to bed I do a brief Examination of Conscience, make an Act of Contrition, and say a few prayers of Thanksgiving for the day and all that God has given me.

AS A FAMILY

My wife and I foster an environment of prayer in our home. The kids have morning prayers they say. We also say “grace” before meals, night prayers with the children, and the family rosary.

That’s a day in the prayer life of this average “Catholic” Joe.

When I “plan” my day around prayer, I have a better day. I’m able to understand situations that used to baffle me; I am better able to hold my tongue (not perfectly by any stretch); I tend to be more focused on where I’m heading and not what I want in this world; I try harder to be more like Christ.

Again, I’m still a work in progress. For me, it’s all about progress not perfection. I know that God is not finished with me yet.

I hope that this sharing will encourage each of you to continue in your own daily prayer life.

I’ll close with this reflection from St. Isidore, from his Book of Maxims:

Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading.

If a man wants to be always in God’s company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us.

Next up, I hope to share about spiritual reading.

May God bless you and keep you.


Do I Really Have Time For Prayer?

Do I Really Have Time For Prayer?Life can be quite busy.

As a family, we stay in a constant state of motion – meals, dishes, laundry, work, homeschooling, meetings, cleaning, yard work, bath-time, story-time, bedtime…

Sometimes it seems like we hardly have time to just enjoy life.

Time seems to be a scarce commodity.

So how in the world do I have time for prayer? Is taking time out of my busy day to pray even practical?

I know that seems like a silly question, but I have to think about…how much time do I spend in prayer each day?

Sure there are those “fox-hole” prayers I offer up:

Jesus, please don’t let me get stuck in traffic…God, please get me out of this mess…Jesus, let me get that promotion.

Sure, God hears these prayers, but in truth they are all about me and my will.

The question then becomes – What is prayer?

Prayer is that raising of my heart and mind to God, seeking His Will in all things, desiring to grow closer to Him. It is a “vital and personal relationship with the living and true God” (CCC paragraph 2558).

This is where prayer becomes practical. Allow me to explain.

I married my wife because I fell in love with her. I desired to know her, to be one with her. In order for that love to grow I have to spend time with her, talk to her, ask of her, and share with her. I have to praise her for all the joy and good she brings into my life. The same is even more true of my relationship with God.

I am Catholic because I believe that Jesus Christ is God, sent by God the Father, one with the Holy Spirit. Biblically and historically I know that He founded the Catholic Church. I believe that He made me. If He made me then He must know why I’m here, more importantly, He must love me.

How could I not want to know Him?

So all those things that were true with my wife, must also be true with God. I am so grateful for my life and I want to know why God put me here. I want to do what He wants. In order for that to happen I MUST be in a personal relationship with Him…that is prayer.

I haven’t always cared about that relationship. God hasn’t always been that one Priority above all other priorities in my life. Personal experience has shown me that when I don’t pray I get lost. My life becomes unmanageable.

My motto has become FIRST THINGS FIRST.

I’m only “here” for a little while. If God Is then the most important part of my day will be those times spent in prayer, those times when I’m in communion with God.

With that in mind, the answer to the question Do I really have time for prayer? is simple…

I don’t have time “not” to pray.

In my next post, I’ll share some practical prayer tools that have been extremely useful to this busy, working, kid-raising husband~father.

May God bless you and keep you.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,017 other followers