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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

January 7, 2015 – Through Surrender, Jacob Gives Rise to Israel

Jacob begins life as the “supplanter”. However, he ends it as the root of the great nation of Israel. After “stealing” the blessing prepared for his brother Esau, Jacob goes into exile. This leads to an encounter with God. God then accompanies Jacob and blesses him, and Jacob increasingly opens his heart to God. The decisive confrontations with his uncle Laban and Esau, reveal a greatly changed Jacob. In a final moment of surrender, when wrestling with God, Jacob becomes a new man. This new man God names Israel and the nation is born. Are we still withholding our surrender?

September 25, 2014 – Steve Ray Interview

James Littleton interviews Steve Ray on Raising Daughters and Sons.
Steve has given seminars and talks all over the world – Rome, Jerusalem, India, Dubai, England, Philippines, Japan, Australia, Israel, Canada, Guam, and many more).
He has worked extensively with EWTN, St. Joseph Communications, Lighthouse Catholic Media, Catholic Answers, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Legatus, Fullness of Truth, Catholic Scripture Study International, Defensores Fidei Foundation, Ignatius Press, Regina Apostolorum University in Rome, Dr. Scott Hahn’s St. Paul Center, Catholics Come Home, Lighthouse Ministries, Family of Faith in Bombay and the Arab Emirates, and many others.
He has appeared on Fox News, Canadian TV and is a regular guest on EWTN, Relevant Radio, Ave Maria Radio, Catholic Answers Live, Guadalupe Radio, and many other TV and radio programs…and of course now on Forming Faithful families on Radio Maria.
Steve Ray would love to come to your parish or conference to share the truth and beauty of the Catholic Faith. From his conversion story to his adventures overseas, from his talks on St. Paul to raising a Catholic family, from teaching the Bible to explaining the Eucharist – he is excited and ready to speak to your group!

June 11, 2014 – Common Core & Global Uniformity Need Foundations on Rock

We are assured in Luke 6: 46 that the person who ‘listens to Our Lord’s words and acts upon them’, lays his foundation on rock. By contrast, it is proposed by powerful organizations such as the United Nations, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that a “globalist vision” is the necessary way toward world peace, sustainability and economic stability.

Who are we to believe?

Surely, the globalist ideals are laudable, but can they be achieved? What we know about foundations and Our Lord suggest otherwise. Yet, this is being proposed through radical educational reform such as the Common Core. In this scheme, traditional values will be embraced only to the extent they can be adapted to a multi-cultural, world view. Otherwise they will be jettisoned for the “harmony” of the “world community”.

Nevertheless, as during the Middle Ages, the Church can come to our aid. It can share not only the philosophical truths that bring right reason to bear, but also the good that comes through Christ’s Church founded upon Peter. Peter and those Popes following him were not the first instruments of God to propose a more solid foundation. Centuries earlier we hear Moses say:

“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers is giving you… Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations…” – Deuteronomy 4: 1, 6-8.

August 7, 2013 – Tangible Connections with Our Spiritual Mother and Father

We know how babies are born. We know too that we came from a mother and father. However, have we ever wondered how our spiritual lives came to be? Where do our spiritual lives come from and how do they grow? Yet, if we were so inclined to look, would we know where to find for our spiritual mother and father, or even whom to look for? In Sacred Scripture we see important imagery that gives us clues. We consider how Moses acted as a father for Israel, delivering material good for them to survive in the worst of circumstances. We look too at the parallels between Moses and Jesus and the establishment of the priesthood. Finally, this program considers the Scriptures that assure us of having a Spiritual Mother. These assure us of all the good that a Spiritual Mother brings to our spiritual growth and development.

October 7, 2012 – Can God’s plan include failure?

In today’s show Janis and Fr. Peter discuss the topic of “Can God’s Plan Include Failure?” with a particular focus on a very specific failure—the terrible scourge of pornography that is devastating marriages and families. Nancy, our guest, tells us of the awful suffering in her own family from her father’s addiction to pornography, and how that contributed to the sexual abuse of his own daughter. Nancy shares the glorious story of how the Lord healed her and empowered her to forgive her father, and how doing so set her free and enabled her to snatch victory out of the jaws of failure through the power of the Cross. Our culture tells us in many different ways that pornography is OK. That it’s normal and natural to get wrapped up in it. But Nancy’s experience tells quite a different story. Janis and Fr. Peter draw from the wisdom of the Church as they discuss this topic and offer help to those who are struggling with an addiction to pornography and other immoral sexual activities. It really is possible to be set free! Failure is not the final word! Like Nancy, we are all called to snatch victory from the jaws of failure. No matter what our failures may have been, God still has a plan, and he’ll work it out if only we turn to him, open our hearts to the healing power of the Holy Spirit, and ask for Mary’s intercession! Join us next week for part two of “Can God’s Plan Include Failure?”

Sacred Oratorios of George Frideric Handel – Program 003

In this program Lynn presents selections from the scared oratorios of George Frideric Handel. The excerpts come from the Oratorios: La Resurrezione, Ester, Israel in Egypt, Saul, Samson, Judas Maccabaeus, Joshua, Solomon, Jephtha, and Messiah.