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Praying to Find Rest and Consolation

mark danisEven a cursory review of the daily news can lead one to a sense of anxiety or fear or even despair.  These are challenging times.  It is important to know how to respond in difficult circumstances.  The best models we have for this response are always the Saints. In the most difficult times of our lives it is very important for us to take some time and allow our prayer life to provide us rest and consolation.

This is what John the Beloved Apostle did even as he struggled to respond to the most difficult news he had ever heard.  On the evening of the last supper, when our Lord told the Apostles what was about to happen, John could have chosen to react in a number of ways.

He could have fallen victim to fear and anxiety, he could have decided to run to the leaders of Israel and beg for them to spare our Lord, he could have stood on a street corner bearing a sign which described the injustice of it all – St. John the Beloved did none of these things.

He chose instead to simply rest in the Bosom of the Lord. “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23)

Of course, scripture tells us that this is also what our Lord does. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18)

St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was an Italian Carmelite Mystic who lived from the mid 1500’s to the early 1600’s.  She is reported to have had a number of conversations, while in ecstasy, with God the Father and the Lord Jesus.

During one of these conversations God the Father revealed to her the nature of the relationship between the Father and the Son.  The Father shared that the Son actually rests within the Father’s bosom, and the Son Contemplates the Father. This might seem strange on first hearing it.  It is helpful to have some sense of what this word Contemplation means: “to admire something and think about it.”

Of course it is not difficult to imagine admiring the image we may have created of God the Father, but do we spend enough time just thinking about God, about His beauty, His nature, His Blessings?

God the Father told Mary Magdalene de Pazzi that when Jesus, His Son contemplated the Father He looked at Him with an admiring contemplation.  He said that this was a “contemplation of admiration, of love, of God’s purity, of the Father’s generosity, of His mercy, of His justice, of His goodness, of His wisdom, of might, of truth of union and of eternity.”

Do we ever think about prayer this way, as a simple contemplation, a simple look, a simple resting in the Bosom of the Father.  Any one of these attributes of God the Father would be worthy of a great deal of our admiration and worth thinking about for some time.

Of course these attributes were true of Jesus as well, but in order to pray effectively or rest in the Bosom of our Lord, we do not have to even think about these aspects of God’s nature.

The model of prayer John the Beloved provides us is the same one that our Lord Himself employed, simply to rest in the Bosom of the Father.

The next time you set aside time for prayer, see if you can just try resting in the Bosom of the Lord, or contemplating the Love which God the Father has for us.  A good way to do this is to simply rest in the bosom of the Lord, try to practice silence, try to be so silent in fact that you can hear the Lord’s heartbeat. -Mark Danis

Host of Carmelite Conversations
Mondays  7-8pm Eastern

November, 6, 2014 – Fr. John Bartunek

Ken talks with Fr John Bartunek author of “Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength” and “The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer” (both available from Catholic Word) “Seeking First the Kingdom” was written to help those pursuing Christ to take the next step in spiritual maturity. By identifying four core areas of your relationship with God (heart, soul, mind, and strength) Fr. John Bartunek helps determine what areas you’re stuck in.

With “The Better Part” Fr. Bartunek has created an extensive, Christ-centered resource to serve as a daily meditation companion. If we desire to become saints, we must spend time daily in meditation. The resource is a Bible study on the four Gospels, a survey of saints’ writings, a guide to prayer that enables us to read, meditate, absorb and apply the Gospels to our lives, and it serves as a catalyst to personalize times of prayer, enabling us to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead along the path of holiness.
The books are available at: www.catholicword.com
To learn more about Fr John visit:
Do-It-Yourself Online Catholic Retreat Guides: www.RCSpirituality.org
Dependable Catholic Formation: www.RCSpiritualDirection.com
Daily Spiritual Vitamins from the Saints: uncleeddy.tumblr.com
On Facebook www.facebook.com/FatherJB
On Twitter twitter.com/FrBartune

May 19, 2014 – “The Writing and Letters of St. Teresa of Avila #1” with special guest Lisa LaRosa

Although St. Teresa of Avila said she was NOT a writer, she has a compilation of writings that would dwarf many an author today. Special guest, Lisa LaRosa, tells us about St. Teresa’s writing starting with an early novel as well as her four most famous major works. Additionally, St. Teresa’s minor works cover a vast terrain from biblical commentary to post-communion reflections and meditations, to spiritual challenges, satire, poems, instructional works, and more. Her personal letters, of which 468 were found, covered the years 1546-1582. We get a candid look at St. Teresa’s personal thoughts and expressions and concerns as well as gems of wisdom that are very applicable to our lives today. We begin with some of the early letters and will continue the series throughout the year highlighting some of the letters with the most notable points. St. Teresa, pray for us!

May 14, 2014 – Fr. Antonio La Rocca, SMC and Fr. Javier Alsom, SMC

FRANCESCA FRANCHINA, MS Ed. TALKS WITH FR. ANTONIO LA ROCCA, SMC AND FR. JAVIER ALSOM, SMC ABOUT THE SOUTH AMERICAN BISHOPS CONFERENCE ON THE NEW EVANGELIZATION AND WHAT WE THE PEOPLE (THE ANAWIM) NEED TO DO IN THESE PERILOUS TIMES REGARDING OUR FAITH, CHURCH, PARISH AND COMMUNITIES DEALING WITH SPIRITUAL WARFARE; OUR SPIRITUAL WEAPONS IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION; POPE FRANCIS’ LETTER ON EVANGELIZATION AND JOY,EVANGELI GAUDIUM; AND MARY STAR OF EVANGELIZATION.

January 21, 2013

During this conversation Frances Harry interviews Mark Olson, a member of the Dayton community of the Secular Order of Discaled Carmelites. This program in a continuation of the conversation on the article written by respected scholar and Carmelite Priest, Father Ernest Larkin, on St. Teresa of Avila on Prayer. Here Frances and Mark explore the goal of union with God (spiritual marriage, transforming union). The conversation focuses on “The Way” to the “Goal” via the mansions. Several points about the first 3 ascetical mansions are made which then reaches a transition point or bridge of the 4th mansion to the mystical mansions of the 5th, 6th and 7th mansions.

January 14, 2013

In this program Mark and Frances begin a series on the writings of Carmelite Priest and scholar Ernest Larkin. Father Larkin was a highly respected scholar in the field of contemplative prayer, the interior life, and most especially Carmelite spirituality. This particular conversation is a review of a very important article Fr. Larkin wrote about St. Teresa of Avila on prayer. The article loosely follows St. Teresa’s model of the Interior Castles, perhaps her greatest work. But here Fr. Larkin provides new insights and perspectives on how these various stages of development in prayer may be experienced, and what one can do to prepare themselves for this work that ultimately God must do in us.

December 20, 2012 – Julie Cragon

Ken talks with his guest Julie Dortch Cragon, Jesus at my side – 365 Reflections on His Words (Our Sunday Visitor). A Tennessee Catholic bookstore owner and mother of six, Julie has written a great daily reflection book. Each day you will find a scripture meditation and prayer challenge. Julie has a website and blogs at www.juliecragon.com To order from her family run Catholic bookstore, St Mary’s Bookstore, visit www.stmarysbookstore.com Her books can be purchased at www.catalog.osv.com

November 26, 2012 – The Eucharist and Spiritual Warfare

Host Kathleen Beckman speaks about the Eucharist and spiritual warfare, discernment of spirits and the armor of God. She explains personal spiritual warfare and provides prayers approved for the laity. Giving examples of spiritual warfare in the lives of the saints, and using the Church’s teaching on how to receive liberation and healing, she gives practical tools to help us “fight the good fight”. During the program she offers approved deliverance prayers to break curses, etc.

ANGELS ALL AROUND US – May 18, 2011

ANGELS ALL AROUND US

Francesa Franchina, MS Ed.  hosts this program with an open microphone with the listening audience as the guests! ! Call in and be part of the program;  Share your Angel Stories and Experience , Ask a Question; Learn All About Angels and How They Help Us.   Francesca focuses discussion on ANGELS ALL AROUND US; St. Michael the Archangel, Our Guardian Angels, The Nine Choirs of Angels,  and How God’s Angels Help Us  In Times of Danger, Need  and  Every Day Life; Angels In The Bible and  How Angels accompanied the Blessed Mother throughout her life on earth,  from the writings of Mary of Agreda in the books on the Life of Our Lady dictated by the Blessed Mother  (The Mystical City of God);  and   Angels in the Life of St. Padre Pio .