Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Thoughts and Quotes on Prayer

Thoughts and Quotes on Prayer

I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.
- C.S. Lewis

Prayer is the raising of the mind to God. We must always remember this. The actual words matter less.
- Pope John XXIII

"Now -- here is my secret:
    I tell it to you with an openness of heart I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray that you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God - that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem capable of giving; to help me to be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond able to love."
- Douglas Coupland - Life After God

"Pray, and pray more. It may seem odd to say that now when you are taking examinations and working harder. But you need prayer, and not only the habitual prayer as an exercise of devotion; you also need to pray during odd moments, to pray between times, instead of allowing your mind to wander on stupidities. It does not matter if, in spite of your effort, you do not manage to concentrate and be recollected. That meditation may be of greater value than the one you made, with all ease, in the oratory."
- Saint Josemaria Escriva - The Furrow 449

"Praying actualizes and deepens our communion with God. Our prayer can and should arise above all from our heart, from our needs, our hopes, our joys, our sufferings, from our shame over sin, and from our gratitude from the good. It can and should be a wholly personal prayer."
- Pope Benedict XVI

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body and prayer is to the soul."
- Matthew Kelly

I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen miracles, some that took time and some immediately. I believe there are only three answers to prayer; yes, no, and not right now. In my own life and the lives of others I know I have seen too often someone stop prayer believing the answer was no, when in fact it was a 'not right now'. I think about the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. Luke 18:1-8. What if she has not been as persistent, would she have received her judgement?

The older I get, the less answers I have. But the more I trust and the more I pray. At times praying is all I can do, and I do it throughout the day. I have some prayers I try and pray every day. And others I pray from time to time. But I pray. I pray for every friend's birthday that comes up on Facebook. I pray for everyone woman I find out is expecting. I pray for the all the birth and death announcements that come out from our school board. And I pray for my wife and children, my family, my friends. And I pray to become a better man. To become the best version of myself.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Motherhood isn't for Sissies

Motherhood isn't for Sissies

My wife wrote this earlier today. I share it here with her permission. 

"A friend said to me recently that Motherhood isn't for Sissies. Man, was she right. Motherhood is taking your child to a specialist appointment out of town at a terrible time of day, only to get news you don't want to hear. Motherhood is hiding your tears so that your child doesn't also get upset. Motherhood is driving home again in heavy traffic while your child throws up in the back. Motherhood is trying to tell your child that the paper bag they just threw up into is going to burst all over them. Motherhood is trying to get your soiled child out of their pants and into another seat while driving down a busy highway (o.k. traffic was basically stopped, but still). Motherhood is getting your sweater off so that your pantless child behind you can stay warm while you drive home with the windows down in 6 degree weather. Motherhood is not getting upset at having to clean the soiled car so that your child will not feel worse than they already do. Motherhood is summoning the ability to be interested in your other children when your brain just wants to shut down for a few minutes. Motherhood is beautiful, difficult, rewarding, exhausting and it is not for Sissies."

Sunday, 19 November 2017

DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth - YOUCAT

DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth
Bernhard Meuser (Editor)
Ignatius Press
ISBN 9781621640493
eISBN 9781681497051
ASIN B01M10336X

This past year I decided to read through the Catechism in a year. And I ended up ahead of schedule, so when I finished the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I moved on to The Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. So I decided to read DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth and I really enjoyed it. In fact I enjoyed it so much I am now reading YOUCAT: The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church. But back to DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth.

Like many other Catechisms this one is in the question and answer format. The subtitle of this book is ‘What to do?’ It focuses on the social teachings of the Catholic Church. There are four symbols in the book. A Bible which highlights passages from the bible. Quotations which highlights specific meanings in the church. A Picture of a church which contains magisterial teachings. And an Exclamation Mark where words are defined or explained. There are also three colored arrows blue for the Compendium of Social Doctrine, grey for the Catechism, and Yellow for quotes from YOUCAT.

Each chapter has a number of points the questions and answers, And then there are a number of quotes from church documents to highlight those teachings. The chapters in the book are:

1 God’s Master Plan: Love 1-21
2 Together We Are Strong: The Church’s Social Mission 22-6
3 Unique and Infinitely Valuable: The Human Person 47-83
4 The Common Good, Personhood, Solidarity, Subsidiarity: The Principles of the Church’s Social Teaching 84-111
5 The Foundation of Society: The Family 112-133
6 Occupation and Vocation: Human Work 134-157
7 Welfare and Justice for All: Economic Life 158-194
8 Power and Morality: The Political Community 195-228
9 One World, One Humanity: The International Community 229-255
10 Safeguarding Creation: The Environment 256-269
11 Living in Freedom from Violence: Peace 270-304
12 Personal and Societal Commitment: Love in Action 305-328

Though this book is written for youth and young adults, I found it well worth the time and effort to read it. The social teachings of the Catholic Church have been a growing focus for a long time now. In this book you will get a concise clear picture of those teachings, and though the quotes from church documents see some of their progression and refinement over time. This is the first book from the YOUCAT series that I have read but I know I will be reading many more. And in fact I cannot wait for the last few to be available in English in North America.

A great read, informative and challenging. This book was so good that before I even finished it I had picked up YOUCAT and the YOUCAT Bible to have to read as soon as I finished this one. It is a wonderfully informative book and part of what looks like an incredible series!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books from YOUCAT:
YOUCAT: The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church
YOUCAT: Study Guide
YOUCAT: Youth Prayer Book
YOUCAT: Confirmation Book: Student Book
YOUCAT: Confession Book
DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth
DOCAT Study Guide: What to Do?

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Some Days

Some days ...

...no matter how much goes on you can only smile, be thankful, and pray.
Today was one of those days.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Holy Desperation: Praying as If Your Life Depends on It - Heather King

Holy Desperation: Praying as If Your Life Depends on It
Heather King
Loyola Press
ISBN 9780829445145

The title of this book ‘Holy Desperation’, grab my attention immediately. Also the subtitle of the book ‘Praying as If Your Life Depends on It’ spoke to me. There have been times where all that has kept me going is prayer; even times when my faith was a struggle, prayer got me through some really tough times. So I dove in with great anticipation. But the book was not quite what I expected. But the book was not as what I expected it to be. The book was far more autobiography, and about service, reaching out and going beyond your comfort zone than it was a guide to praying especially in hard times. Now don’t get me wrong there was a lot about praying. And specifically praying when you don’t think you should, or don’t feel you should.

The chapters in this book are:
About Fr. Damien
Part One Crisis.
1 The Prayer of Desperation
2 Grabbed by the Throat
3 What Do We Mean by God?
4 The Set-Aside Prayer
Part Two Death: To Our Old Ideas and Supposed Unlovability 
5 “Stay Awake!”.
6 Where Two or More Are Gathered in My Name
7 I Call You Friends .
8 Go to Your Room and Pray in Secret
9 Let Him Who Is without Sin Cast the First Stone .
Part Three Resurrection: Getting Radically in on New Life
10 You Cannot Serve Both God and Mammon
11 Tempted in the Desert
12 Store Up Your Treasure in Heaven.
13 Unless a Grain of Wheat Fall to the Ground
About the Author

The author writes from personal experience. And it is experience that is very different than the road most of us will walk. But heathers vulnerability, openness, and transparency about her own struggles and the way her own prayer life has changed and progresses serve as an example to us all. It serves as an example of not just wanting prayer in our life, but about walking the walking. Growing prayer as part of our life, day in and day out. About waling prayer.

This was my introduction to the writings of Heather King. But it will not be the last. The writing style is very engaging. It is easily accessible. I really enjoyed this book and immediately though of a few friends who would enjoy it and a few others who would really benefit from reading it. So sometimes when you get what you are not expecting it is exactly what you need, and that is how I feel about this book!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Heather King:
Holy Desperation: Praying as If Your Life Depends on It
Parched: A Memoir
Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese of Lisieux
Redeemed: A Spiritual Misfit Stumbles Toward God, Marginal Sanity, and the Peace That Passes All Understanding
Stumble: Virtue, Vice, and the Space Between
Stripped: Cancer, Culture, and the Cloud of Unknowing
Loaded: Money and the Spirituality of Enough
Holy Days and Gospel Reflections
Devil's Hoof