7 Ash Wednesday Quotes by Pope Saint John Paul II

Today is Ash Wednesday, the day we enter the great penitential season of Lent, a season that draws our attention to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. For many, this season is about “giving something up” (in today’s technological world that would be social media on our phones or limiting our phone time in general). However, you can give anything up or even take something on. Whatever your Lenten fast is this year, I encourage to do it, and to do it well with the help of God’s grace.

Fasting though is only one-third of the Lenten theme, we must also pray and give alms. Since prayer is our encounter with God, adding times to pray to our daily routine would be extremely beneficial to each and every one of us. A simple addition of prayer is signing up for Eucharistic Adoration in your parish or a nearby parish. Spending that extra hour in prayer each week will for sure increase your encounter with God. I really want to add more prayer time to my day, not just during these next 40 days, so that’s why I am working on adding the Liturgy of the Hours to my daily prayer routine.

For alms, if you have a favorite charity or don’t give to your parish, increasing your financial donations during the next 40 days will assist you in meeting the alms obligation during Lent. Since I am getting married in seven months, I am going to continue to clean out my closets and give away any clothes I don’t wear to shelters or St. Joseph the Worker, a local shelter here in the Phoenix area. Please don’t forget, there are many people less fortunate that need our assistance.

To help us prepare for this Ash Wednesday and Lent of this year, I now turn our attention to 7 Ash Wednesday Quotes from Pope Saint John Paul II. These quotes are come from his homilies and messages given to the Church and the world on the Ash Wednesday’s of his amazing Papacy –

1. “Today the Church lays great stress on this truth, confirmed by the history of every man. Remember that “to dust you shall return”. Remember that your life on earth has a limit!… Therefore the message of Ash Wednesday is expressed with the words of St. Paul: “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:20-21). Collaborate with him!”

2. “Repent and believe in the Gospel”. This invitation, which we find at the beginning of Jesus’ preaching, introduces us into the Lenten season, a time to be dedicated in a special way to conversion and renewal, to prayer, to fasting and to works of charity. In recalling the experience of the chosen people, we too set out as it were to retrace the journey that Israel made across the desert to the Promised Land. We too will reach our goal; after these weeks of penance, we will experience the joy of Easter. Our eyes, purified by prayer and penance, will be able to behold with greater clarity the face of the living God, to whom man makes his own pilgrimage on the paths of earthly life.”

John Paul II placing ashes on the head of a Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos in 2004. 

3. “During Lent, we prepare to relive the Paschal Mystery, which sheds the light of hope upon the whole of our existence, even its most complex and painful aspects. Holy Week will again set before us this mystery of salvation in the evocative rites of the Easter Triduum. Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us set out with trust on our Lenten journey, sustained by fervent prayer, penance and concern for those in need. In particular, may this Lent be a time of ever greater concern for the needs of children, in our own families and in society as a whole: for they are the future of humanity.”

4. “‘Your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6: 4, 6, 18). Jesus’ words are addressed to each one of us at the beginning of our Lenten journey. We begin it with the imposition of ashes, an austere penitential gesture very dear to Christian tradition. It emphasizes the awareness of sinners as they stand before the majesty and holiness of God. At the same time, it demonstrates readiness to accept and to transform into concrete choices adherence to the Gospel.”

5. “The Church lives Christ’s redemptive sacrifice throughout the liturgical year. However, in the season of Lent we would like to immerse ourselves in it in a particularly intense way, as the Apostle urges us: “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor 6:2). In this important season, the treasures of Redemption, merited for us by Christ crucified and risen, are dispensed to us in a most particular way. Thus the Psalmist’s exclamation: “Create in me a clean heart … and put a new and right spirit within men becomes at the beginning of Lent a strong call to conversion.

6. “Why does the Church place ashes on our foreheads today? Why does she remind us of death? Death which is the effect of sin! Why?…To prepare us for Christ’s Passover. For the paschal mystery of the Redeemer of the world. Paschal mystery means what we profess in the Creed: “On the third day he rose again”!…Yes. Today we need to hear the “you are dust and to dust you will return” of Ash Wednesday, so that the definitive truth of the Gospel, the truth about the Resurrection, will unfold before us: believe in the Gospel.”

7. “By inviting us through the discipline of Lent to tread the paths of love and hope marked out by Christ, the Church makes us realize that the Christian life involves detachment from superfluous goods, and the acceptance of a poverty which sets us free, and enables us to discover God’s presence and to welcome our brothers and sisters with an ever more active solidarity and in an ever wider fellowship.”

So as we step into this Lenten season, I pray that each of us upholds our penances and sacrifices with a fervent desire to grow closer to Our Lord Jesus and his Catholic Church. Ask for the intercession of the Holy Mother of God to give you the strength to offer up the next 40 days to Our Lord. Pray with the Saints, many who knew the day-to-day meaning of penance and sacrifice.

If you are now avoiding certain social media sites this year, make sure you sign-up on my homepage to receive blog posts when I write them.

Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship – Week 4: Offering Our Sins

On February 28, I wrote about the first ever Lenten Video Study produced by the parish of St. Mary Magdalene in Gilbert, Arizona. The title of the study is Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship. If you signed up for the study through our parish Flocknote service, then you have been receiving weekly videos that pertain to this study. To learn more about this study and how it came to be, here is the article I wrote on February 28.

For today’s article, I am sharing my video and reflections with you. I was assigned to focus on how we can offer our sins to God through Worship. Below is my video, the reading that goes with the video, which is from The Way of the Disciple by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, questions to answer, and then a prayer to recite. There are also additional resources at the end, including my favorite poem which was given to me in my Senior Seminar Class in the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco 20 years ago by the aforementioned author.

Make time this week to prayerfully read and reflect on this excerpt…

“The great moral problem of the Samaritan appears to be that, in her search for love, she has had too many husbands. And her present “husband” really is not one at all. The frantic search for love, which often compensates for the lack of quality by sheer force of quantity, in the end has only created a greater void in the soul. After so many men, the woman finds herself alone, face to face with the Son of Man.

An interesting exegetical notation to John 4:18 (“You have had five husbands, and he whom you have now is not your husband”) refers us to 2 Kings 17:24: “And the King of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria, and dwelt in her cities.” These five pagan nations, which supplied occupants for Samaria, have been apparently symbolized by John in the woman’s five husbands, to indicate the Samaritan’s religious and moral perversion in the eyes of the Judeans, who had kept their faith and their race pure from foreign admixtures. The woman, personifying Samaria, and Samaria, personifying all sinners, together represent the human slide towards idolatry, self-indulgence, and the abandonment of God’s Law. Note, too, the sexual connotation of the expression “they took possession of Samaria”. The fundamental question here is our tendency to allow ourselves to be seduced by any lover other than God. The present, sixth “husband” on call, who is not really a husband, would then refer to the current Roman occupation that in the end utterly destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
We then have a grand total of six husbands, who neither singly nor collectively have brought the woman any lasting happiness. After so much flirtation with love, the poor Samaritan still has to draw water alone at noontime, still has to continue looking after herself. What an unbearable burden, to invest so much in “love” and get so little in return! But Jesus is the seventh Man, who comes to remove this burden from her shoulders. Seven, as we know, is the number of perfection, the number signaling the end of the search, the fulfillment of all desire, the arrival home.  What at first had been the mere breaking of a double taboo- Judean man talking to a Samarian woman- is revealed at this point as something much deeper: if Jesus dares to approach her and speak so intimately with her, without her covering her face with a veil (note how even the disciples are a little scandalized: “They marveled that he was talking with a woman”) it is because he is wooing her in order to seduce her heart and persuade her to welcome him as the Bridegroom of her soul.

We necessarily skip over all the other numerous aspects of the episode to conclude with one final theme: the conversion of the woman from needy sinner to disciple and evangelist. Jesus has peered into the depths of her soul and revealed to her her own innermost secrets, above all, her deep sadness at never having found a true love. But this revelation, far from frightening, depressing, or scaring her away, rather fills the woman with joy, the joy that announces the beginning of a new life. When he proclaims her sins to her, Jesus works a kind of exorcism that frees her of them. “So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me all I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” The fact that Jesus has cleansed her soul with his gaze incites her to recognize in him the Messiah sent by God, the anointed Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

The abandonment of the water jar, like Bartimaeus’ throwing off his old rag, symbolizes the newness of life that derives everything from Jesus, a life that no longer needs to carry the same crushing and absurd burdens or repeat the same useless tasks. Notice that, throughout the episode, neither Jesus nor the woman ever drinks a single drop of water, even though everything was set in motion by thirst of the body. The two have been refreshed and satisfied by their dialogue of love- he by making himself known and inviting her to intimacy with him, she by opening up little by little to divine seduction and surrendering at last with all the jubilation and immense relief of an enslaved soul that exits to freedom.

Such liberation makes her hasten to her townspeople, the very ones who have previously rejected her. Now she cares little about her marginal status: the rejected one now breaks the barrier that Jesus has first broken in approaching her, but now in order to proclaim to one and all what she has found. “Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” But this new disciple, who has drunk in Jesus’ essential teaching in what could be called a very accelerated crash course, is only an ambassador, the precursor who is followed by Jesus’ personal presence. Her personal witnesses opened up hearts and ears, preparing people to receive Jesus in person. She makes herself into a pure instrument of God’s love; now she seems consumed with one desire: to love Jesus and bring others to him.

The true disciple rejoices at nothing more than at hearing what the woman heard in the end: “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this indeed is the Saviour of the world.” What greater joy could be ours, too, than to know that many others may come to share in our own delight at having been found by Jesus.”

Reflect

After watching the video and reading the excerpt, consider these questions for prayerful reflection, journaling, and/or discussion with others…

  • What in your personal life is the “water jar” or “old rag” that is keeping you from abandoning yourself completely to God?
  • If you haven’t been to the Sacrament of Confession in some time, what is holding you back from God’s mercy and forgiveness? If you have been to Confession recently, what brought you to the Sacrament?
  • Do you struggle to reconcile the sins of your daily life with your call to be a disciple in the world?
  • Are you ready for a metanoia – a revolution of your soul – in your relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church?

“Mondays with Mary” – The Blessed Sorrowful Mother at the Cross through the words of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

For this week, I want to suspend my Mary in the Old Testament series I have been writing on over the past few weeks in order to provide you with two important reflections on Mary and her connection with Christ at the Cross. I am doing this since I don’t think I will get another chance before Lent ends since I am focusing on the aforementioned series. Next week, we will return to that series and focus on Marian symbols.

I have written on this week’s topic numerous times before over the years, most especially during the Season of Lent, when we focus on our own sufferings, crosses, and penitential offerings. Today’s two reflections come from the great mind of the 20th century United States Archbishop –  Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. These two excerpts are from a book compiled by Henry Dieterich, titled, Through the Year with Fulton Sheen.

I hope that you enjoy them and will reflect on them this week and in the weeks to come as we approach the High Holy Days of Lent, otherwise known a the Triduum.

The first reflection is titled – Mary and Christ’s Suffering

“Mary’s participation in Christ’s suffering began with the annunciation, when she was asked to give God a human body, more properly, a human nature. In other words, will you make God capable of suffering? God though he was, he learned obedience in the school of suffering. God could know experimentally what suffering was only by taking a body. So the Blessed Mother is asked, ‘Will you make it possible for your creator to suffer?’ Think of a mother, for example, who give to a young son or daughter an automobile at the age of nineteen, which a short time afterwards is the cause of a wreck and permanent injury. Would the mother ever forgive herself? And here Mary has to say yes, I will let him suffer.”

Our Lady of Sorrows by Carlo Dolci

The second reflection is titled – Mary and John

“On the cross we no longer have Christ and his mother, or Jesus and Mary. I know we speak of the sorrowful mother at the foot of the cross, but I don’t think she was sorrowful, I think she was suffering. I cannot imagine the mother of the Maccabees as being sorrowful when she sent her seven sons to death. There must have been a certain joy in the mother’s heart as she gives her son. But there’s something different here. At this moment on the cross we no longer have Jesus and Mary. We have the new Adam and the new Eve. Our Lord on the cross is the new Adam, the Blessed Mother at the foot of the cross is the new Eve. And we’re going to have the consummation of a marriage, and out of the consummated marriage of the new Adam and new Eve is going to begin the new church of which John will be the symbol. And so the new Adam looking down to the woman, says: ‘Woman, your son.’ And to the son, he did not say ‘John’ (he would have then been only the son of Zebedee), but ‘Son, your mother.’ Here is the beginning of a new life. The Blessed Mother becomes the symbol of the church. And as Eve was the mother of the living, so Mary becomes the mother of the new living in the order of grace.”

To read more about this topic, I would suggest reading my other articles –

“Mondays with Mary” – The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Mary at the Foot of the Cross  

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Our Guide Through Lent

“Mondays with Mary” – The Method of Praying the Rosary of the Mater Dolorosa 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Suffering of Mother Mary 

“Mondays with Mary” – Pope St. John Paul II on the Suffering of Mary 

O Blessed Mother, Sorrowful and Suffering…Pray for Us.

Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship

Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship is the title of our first Lenten Video Study, and the first video series of its kind to be produced by the parish of St. Mary Magdalene in Gilbert, Arizona.

When I began working at the parish in my current position, there are were a few ideas Fr. Will and I discussed that we hoped we could eventually offer to the parish as part of adult faith formation. A video series focusing on a particular topic was one of those ideas. I am proud to say that after three years of working at the parish, we have now brought this particular idea to fruition.

This project began in a meeting late last summer, in which Fr. Will wanted to create a video series for the parish during the season of Lent. After setting the outline, which would focus on Worship, we brought in two of our co-workers to discuss their participation in the series, and then after countless hours of writing scripts, reading them to each other, tweaking them a bit, and then filming in front a two cameras and very bright lights, Journey into the Desert was born. Accompanying the videos at the beginning and the end is sacred music sung by a Schola directed by our Director of Sacred Music.

Filmed in the studio at the Diocese of Phoenix Pastoral Center, Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship is a 6-week study focusing on the different aspects of worship – how God shows us to worship, the Cross in relation to worship, change is required in worship, offering our sins, suffering together as a Church, and making Sunday a priority. For a detailed explanation of how this study will work each week, check out the trailer below of Fr. Will Schmid.

To sign-up for Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship – Visit flocknote.com/smarymag from your computer or smart phone.
Click “Sign me up.” Follow the prompts to add yourself to the “Lenten Study” group and “create a password.” If you already have a Flocknote account, you can just log in.

Book Review – Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta: Daily Meditations

I was recently asked to review a new book written by the Catholic author, Heidi Hess Saxton, titled, Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta: Daily Meditations. A convert to Catholicism, she is a wife and mother, and also holds a Masters in Theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. She has written other books, notably, an Advent daily meditation book focusing on Saint Teresa of Calcutta. You can also read her blog – A Mother on the Road Less Traveled.

In a time when so much is being offered to help us engage in the Lenten Season, here is a simple little book that will engage you to fully understand the themes of Lent by reflecting on the writings and teachings of the great saint of Calcutta – Mother Teresa. It’s simple not because of it’s content, since some of it is rather deep and challenging, but it’s simple because of it’s pedagogy. The simple approach focuses on one main teaching, written by the author, and then you are given two short sections that will help you focus during the day – A Moment to Reflect and A Moment to Pray.

mother teresa

For many of us, we remember the life of St. Teresa of Calcutta, however, for most of us we remember what we read in newspapers or in magazines, but we really don’t know much about the inner toils and struggles of St. Teresa and what she endured to bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to poorest of the poor in Calcutta and throughout the world. I believe this well-written daily mediation will do just that – it will allow you to practice the Lenten themes by experiencing, as much as one can, the daily sufferings of the modern saint. She will bring us out of our comfort zones to a place where Our Lord most needs us today. The Introduction, which grabbed my attention from the start, alone will prepare you for what’s to come during the 40 days of Lent.

If you are late on deciding how to engage your prayer life during this penitential season, then this daily meditation book might just be your answer to an incredible and fruitful Lent focusing on the mercy of God through the words and life of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta…Pray for Us.

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Our Guide Through Lent

The connection of the Lenten Season with Mary is not always the most obvious. The Stations of the Cross as do the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary give us some insight of the Passion of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Mary.

During Lent, Mary is the ideal companion for us since it is in Lent that that she places her special role as the shelter of sinners and comforter of the afflicted. It is also during this season that we focus our hearts and minds to the contemplation of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ.

Simply, Mary, as our guide through Lent helps us search for Jesus and then leads us directly to the cross on Calvary, and while at the cross, we are then given to Mary and she is given to us.

Today we are going to draw from three great minds of the 20th century to help us understand the Lenten themes with Mary as our guide. They are Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger aka Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope St. John Paul II.

Hans Urs Von Balthasar – Mary for Today

“Mary plays a mysterious role at the Wedding at Cana. The couple whose wedding is was there clearly friends of the family in Nazareth…Mary is one among many other guests. But she is the first to notice the embarrassing situation these probably not very well off people are in…what is noted here is Mary’s awareness of the need of the poor and her instinctive feeling that her son must know about it and can somehow provide help…

And then it is as if the whole scene had moved up onto a higher plane. Jesus has started on his ministry: he is no longer this person’s son. And in his ministry he no longer sees Mary as his own mother but as “the woman”, the other, the “helpmate”, who however will only start in her own proper role when he finally, on the Cross, becomes the “New Adam”. She has already suffered: the sword has already pierced her soul. He on the other hand is only now marching toward his ‘hour’.”

Mary is not just one who leads us closer to Christ in Lent, she is always leading us closer to Christ for it is he who will cure us of our sins, he who will turn water into wine for us, and it’s his sacrifice on the cross that gives us all.

Focusing on the embarrassment of the situation, how many times are we embarrassed by our actions and words, our very sins? How many times do I feel embarrassed to be call myself a Catholic Christian when I do things contrary to what I know is the right thing?

The words “Do whatever he tells you” although directed towards the servants, have meaning for us. As Mary guides us to Jesus, that phrase should be in our minds for it is what exactly what every saint has tried to do – align their will with the will of God. We should be doing whatever our Lord tells us to do.

sign of the cross

Just as Mary said, “Yes” at the Annunciation and at Calvary, our yes to Jesus is not a one-time yes, but a yes that needs to be repeated, and strengthened during Lent.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) – Mary: The Church at the Source

“Luke’s first express mention of the Cross as an aspect of Mary’s grace, prophecy, and mysticism occurs in her encounter with the aged Simeon…The sword shall pierce her heart – this statement foreshadows the Son’s Passion, which will become her own passion…The Pieta completes the picture of the Cross, because Mary is the accepted Cross, the Cross communicating itself in love, the Cross that now allows us to experience in her compassion the compassion of God. In this way the Mother’s affliction is Easter affliction, which already inaugurates the transformation of death into a redemptive being-with of love.”

At the Cross of Christ, Mary consents again to the giving up of her son. During the Lenten Season, as we walk with Christ to the cross, through the desert, so too are we giving our consent, but the consent to give up of ourselves.

For each of us, we must learn to joyfully embrace the Cross. The joy I speak is not banal joy of forgetfulness, but real joy. The joy that is expressed with reason and faith. As Ratzinger says, “real joy that gives us the courage to venture the exodus of love into the burning holiness of God. It is the true joy that pain does not destroy but first brings to it maturity. Only the joy that stands the test of pain and is stronger than affliction is authentic.”

Pope St. John Paul II – Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer)

At the foot of the Cross Mary shares through faith in the shocking mystery of this self-emptying. This is perhaps the deepest “kenosis” of faith in human history. Through faith the Mother shares in the death of her Son, in his redeeming death; but in contrast with the faith of the disciples who fled, hers was far more enlightened. On Golgotha, Jesus through the Cross definitively confirmed that he was the “sign of contradiction” foretold by Simeon. At the same time, there were also fulfilled on Golgotha the words which Simeon had addressed to Mary: “and a sword will pierce through your own soul also.”

During this Lenten Season, and as our guide, Mary shows us as she did herself at the cross, how to self-empty ourselves. As co-heirs in Christ’s salvation, we take part in our way of emptying ourselves of our sins and focusing our attention back on him and back to the Cross.

As our guide through Lent, Mary also shows to us what it is to have great faith. We see her faith first at the Annunciation where she willingly accepts the invitation of the Divine Angel to be the Mother of the Savior. We also see Mary’s great faith at the cross where she says Yes again to death of her son. Even though the majority of the apostles ran in fear, she along with the other women (and John) stood at the foot of cross in great faith.

As John Paul II states in Redemptoris Mater,

“Living side by side with her Son under the same roof, and faithfully preserving ‘in her union with her Son’ she advanced in her pilgrimage of faith,”…by “suffering deeply with her only-begotten Son and joining herself with her maternal spirit to his sacrifice, lovingly consenting to the immolation of the victim to whom she had given birth,” in this way Mary “faithfully preserved her union with her Son even to the Cross.” It is a union through faith- the same faith with which she had received the angel’s revelation at the Annunciation.

As Mary (and Joseph) searched for Jesus and found him in Temple, in Lent, we search more diligently for Jesus with Mary. The more we follow Jesus, with the assistance of the Blessed Mother; we too will increase in faith, spiritual wisdom, and charity for all.

Quick Lessons from the Catechism: The Battle of Prayer (a.k.a. Prayer is a Battlefield)

If you grew up in the 1980’s like the author of this blog or at the very least listening to the radio as your kid’s were growing up in the 1980’s, you should remember the Pat Benatar hit – Love is a Battlefield. And although this may be true on certain levels, one of the real battlefields for us as Catholics is our daily prayer life. We are nearly ¼ into the Season of Lent and the question we should ask ourselves is – Has my prayer life increased so far this Lent? Am I praying more? Am I committing time for prayer? Or does the statement still remain – My prayer life a battlefield.

First thing to do is recommit yourself right now to begin praying more. Once you’re finished reading this blog post, offer up some prayers for the people in your life and of course the author of this blog will take all the prayers you will give him. Second, designate a specific time in your day/week when you are going to pray. We all have calendars on our Smartphones. Schedule your prayer time as you would schedule a meeting. And third, don’t fret over your prayer life. The greatest of the saints struggled with their prayer lives at one time or another. Even the Doctor of Prayer, St. Teresa of Avila, had struggles on this battlefield. I am not saying don’t pray, but avoid beating yourself up over it. Satan wants us to find despair in any place possible. Don’t let it be in your prayer life.

To help us on our Lenten journey this year, let us draw from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which teaches a whole lot on prayer. The Church knows that prayer is a battlefield and that’s why there is a section in the Catechism titled, The Battle of Prayer. The Catechism states…

Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves and the wiles of the Tempter. The battle of prayer is inseparable from the necessary “spiritual battle” to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ: we pray as we live, because we live as we pray. (#2752)

In the battle of prayer we must confront erroneous conceptions of prayer, various currents of thought, and our own experience of failure. We must respond with humility, trust, and perseverance to these temptations which cast doubt on the usefulness or even the possibility of prayer. (#2753)

The principal difficulties in the practice of prayer are distraction and dryness. The remedy lies in faith, conversion, and vigilance of heart. (#2754)

Two frequent temptations threaten prayer: lack of faith and acedia – a form of depression stemming from lax ascetical practice that leads to discouragement. (#2755)

Filial trust is put to the test when we feel that our prayer is not always heard. The Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the conformity of our prayer to the desire of the Spirit. (#2756)

“Pray constantly” (1 Thess 5:17). It is always possible to pray. It is even a vital necessity. Prayer and Christian life are inseparable. (#2757)

What to “pray constantly”? Recite the Jesus Prayer – O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.

When it comes to our prayer life – Do Not Be Afraid! Keep on Keeping On! The Lord is with us. Embrace the battlefield, take hold of it, and conquer it. For in the end, Christ has already given us victory.

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