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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
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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

April 29, 2013

During this program Mark and Frances conclude the series on the book entitled “Upon this Mountain.’ This particular book, written by a cloistered Carmelite Nun is the fruit of forty years of prayer and reflection. Mark and Frances explore some of the deeper meanings of our universal call to holiness, and how we are not called to this for ourselves but for the entire body of Christ. They discuss some of the more challenging aspects of the use of the imagination in prayer, and what is meant by our needing to empty ourselves of formal images. They also discuss the deeper meaning of silence in prayer.

July 19, 2012 – Mary and Eucharistic Devotion

Host: Fr. Nick Schneider, Director of Liturgy, Bismarck Diocese, hosts (replacing vacationing Kathleen Beckman).

Fr. Nick’s guest is Fr. Brian Gross, Parochial Vicar at The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Bismarck ND. The two priests discuss the Eucharistic life of Mary as model for “rekindling Eucharistic amazement”.

December 5, 2011 – Elizabeth of the Trinity III

“This particular program deals with our univeral vocation in Christ.  As baptized Christians, we are all called to Union with God through Christ.  This conversation explores our call to build ourselves into Holy Temples where the Trinity might dwell and where we can participate in the very life of the Three Divine Persons.  Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity explains how we can begin to build what St Augustine refers to as the City of God within our souls. This program builds on the theme of simplicity, solitude and silence in our prayer life.”