Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

In my last post on charisms I wrote about my experience at the Life in the Spirit Seminars. Today I would like to write about my experiences at Church and home concerning the "words" that I speak about on my blogs and in my daily life. As I said in an earlier post I can't seem to find good definitions for these gifts so I am just calling them as I see them. One day during Mass, I was reading about Samuel and Eli [1 Sm. ch. 3]. When I read the words, "Here I am" and "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening", the Holy Spirit flooded me so powerfully that I started crying. This kept happening over and over again with various Scripture passages at Church and at home. Each time, I would cry as the power of God's Word flowed through me. There was a passage in Jeremiah that would scream through my being:
"But do you gird your loins;
  stand up and tell them
  all that I command you.
Be not crushed on their account,
  as though I would leave you crushed
   before them....."               Jeremiah 1: 17-19

I began to understand through the continuity of the words that the Lord was preparing to give me a prophetic gift through words as well as dreams. What I failed to grasp at the time was that he was also preparing my heart for another gift, which is not quite as pleasant. I'll get to that one later. I mention it because it seems to have a connection to the words of knowledge that He gives me. Words of wisdom and words of knowledge are different from two of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom and Knowledge. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are necessary for salvation; charisms are not. Charisms are important, however, as they help others and build the Church. A word of wisdom is spoken (or written); it is the ability to understand a supernatural truth; to pierce through, simply and easily, something beyond earthly understanding. These words may just pop out of a person's mouth without any prior reflection because they come from the Lord. The word of wisdom and the word of knowledge are similar . One is communicating wisdom, the other is communicating knowledge. Both are from God. The word of knowledge is when the Lord gives a person knowledge about a person or situation that they couldn't have known unless God revealed it. This can be useful if you are ministering to someone and are unsure of the nature or the root of the problem being addressed. God also can give words of knowledge about others that are uplifting or knowledge about happenings in the spiritual realm that cannot be seen and that humans are unaware of. Another area in which they are helpful is during intercessory prayer so that you know what to pray for.

Early after my conversion I had made a life offering to the Lord, especially for those caught in the grip of mortal sin. I also offered my life as reparation for the sins and blasphemies committed against His Sacred Heart. The Lord takes these offerings very seriously. I believe part of the reason that I was given certain charisms were because of this. At the time, I did not know how much suffering these offerings would entail. I do now. Though the first words given to me were from Scripture, this soon changed. The Lord began giving me words of knowledge and prophetic words about people and the times we live in. Along with some of the words came another unpleasant gift which shocked me at first. When I was in the presence of certain people, my head would be bombarded with terrible images and sins. I was horrified, this had never happened before my conversion. I kept apologizing to the Lord until I realized that He wanted me to offer these sufferings in union with His for the salvation of the person's soul. This didn't happen with everyone, only some people. Sometimes I would be driving down the street and would pass a stranger and would get blasted with images. I quickly learned that this was a call to prayer. At other times I would get a word and temporarily suffer some weird illness or interior suffering that corresponded with the other person's suffering. I wrote about one of these experiences in an earlier post. Suicides really bothered me and the Lord often called me into intercessory prayer for those who attempted to take their own lives. In His kindness, the Lord would occasionally give me glimpses or knowledge of how powerful our offerings for others are. That is why I write regularly on the power of prayer and uniting our sufferings with Jesus.

During this time, the dreams also continued. When some of these began to actually happen I was not very surprised; I had learned that if you trust the Lord completely, His words are good. He is not out to fool people but to help them. When one of my dreams [which was very detailed] came true I was very saddened because I love this person very much. I only spoke to one person, my mother, about it. I often tell her about them and I share a lot of the words I am given with her, too. She understands because she also gets them.  The funny thing is that the Lord gave me a word many years ago that I would write on the computer for Him. This was laughable because at the time we didn't even have a computer nor had I ever used one .

I will write more about this in a later post, it is getting pretty late and I am a one-finger typer. By the way, what happened to spell check?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two Hearts Entwined - new blog

I started a new blog called "Two Hearts Entwined" http://twoheartsonesong.blogspot.com/ . It is a combination of my poetry, prayers, and quotes from some of my favorite saints. I am still in the middle of copying poems but there are quite a few posts up for those who would like to check it out .  Please don't hesitate to leave prayer requests on any of my blogs, I  love praying and would be happy to bring anyone's intentions before the Lord.

Adding to the equation

3 sick people  + 1 bathroom = big trouble   :(

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Add it up

1 husband home with a stomach bug + 1 child home on school vacation = no time to post  :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aridity

"Aridity is the fruit of our defects."                  
               St. Padre Pio

This quote made perfect sense to me. God is pure love and we live in His love. His love is always the same - infinite and unchanging; therefore it is our love that changes. If we were always aware of the constancy of His love I don't think we would have problems with prayer. It is our heart fluctuations that cause difficulty in prayer. God never walks away from us....we walk away from Him. The easiest way to overcome aridity for me is to remember to focus on Him. When I am caught up in my own problems and lose sight of Him, this is when my prayer life seems to suffer. I like to meditate on his love and truth when I am having prayer trouble. This seems to be a quick cure :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Check this out!

Check out this post, it is absolutely beautiful. You can find it here: http://colleenspiro.blogspot.com/2009/12/gods-most-beautiful-word.html . Thank's Colleen!

"For a child is born to us..."

"For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
    upon his shoulders dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Councelor, God-Hero,
    Father-Forever, Prince of Peace     (Is 9:5)


Merry Christmas to all!

The Fruit Of Her Womb

Hail! Full of Grace
Heavenly Rose
From thy Fiat
Salvation arose

Unto thy womb
The Spirit flew
And sowed the seed
Of life anew

O Beautiful Dove
Star of the Sea
In the cradle of thy womb
Dwelt Divinity

Flower of Carmel
Enfolded in thee
The Word made Flesh
Nestled peacefully

Salvation poured forth
One silent eve
A signal for men
That all might believe

On this holy night
In the fullness of time
"The woman" gave birth
The child...Divine

                Mary N.  2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"If anybody tries to lay their hands on me, I'm outta there!"

In my last post I spoke about the dreams I began having after my conversion. The nights were great, but during the day I wanted to talk to people about God, but ,with the exception of my mom, nobody wanted to talk about Him. I thought about God day and night and started getting depressed due to the lack of people willing to talk about Him. "Lord, you don't have many friends here", I would tell Him. This wasn't true... I just couldn't find them! One day, after Mass, I saw a pamphlet in the back of the Church that described a seminar called Life in the Spirit. Having had bad [horrendous really] experiences with the Charismatic Movement as a child I was very wary about attending but I was desperate to learn and talk to anybody about God. I understood, by that time, that what I had undergone as a child was a form of "toxic religion" and didn't really mean that every charismatic christian group was like this [after a period of counseling, I had mostly come to terms with this part of my past]. It was on Tuesday night from 7:00 - 9:00 and my husband was asleep at this time since he worked third shift back then. After some prayer, I decided to go. I figured that I could stop attending if I didn't like it.

The first meeting was great, everyone talked about God, prayed, and someone gave a talk on the Holy Spirit. The people were kind and you could tell that they really loved God. "This is cool", I thought to myself, "I can handle this."  The second meeting was a little different; after speaking about God, people started praying in tongues. "Here we go", I said to the Lord, "The bizzare stuff is coming next." I didn't know how to speak in tongues, but I had known people who had this gift and the thought didn't thrill me.  " Lord, if I did that I would probably accidentally blaspheme you or something. You probably shouldn't give me this gift."

I skipped the next week. The following week I felt the strong urge to go. "Okay, Lord, but if anybody tries to lay their hands on me I'm outta there!" I went and no one laid a hand on me but the meetings were getting stranger and stranger. At one point a bunch of people got up and started singing to the Lord, all in different languages! The harmonies were spectacular!  "Wow!", I said to God, "that's pretty awesome."  After the singing, people started standing up and giving " Words of Knowledge". These were all passages from the Bible. I remember praying very hard and saying, "Please, Lord, don't give me one of these words. I'm too shy and afraid to stand up in front of all these people." At that moment, someone stood up and said, "My strength is made perfect in weakness."  I giggled... I knew this one was for me, I could feel it. Luckily, the Lord never called on me and I relaxed and enjoyed the seminars in the weeks that followed. Until, that is, the final week. When they explained that teams would be praying over all the newcomers I got really nervous and started to panic. Though I knew this group wasn't like the ones from my childhood, by the time it was my turn I had a panic attack. My body was drenched with sweat from head to toe and my hands were icy cold. I tried taking steady breaths and tried to relax. The team started praying over me and.....nothing. Nothing bad happened. I didn't know what I was expecting, but the only experience that I had ever had with charismatic groups in the past were the kind who thought there were demons behind every cough and sneeze and the devil's minions were lurking about in every corner ready to pounce on us if we were not good. By the time I was 16,  I had stopped going to church because I was terrified of God the Father - He didn't seem very loving to me, or to my brothers and sisters. We all left the church, though our pain had nothing to do with Catholicism. Luckily, we were all confirmed, but that was about it. But I am digressing [or maybe I should say: regressing ], nothing bad happened while I was being prayed over and it was fine. One of the ladies even had a vision of me in heaven at the Lord's table and he was anointing me with oil .
Did I ever have vivid dreams that night! With the exception of this seminar I have had no involvement in the Charismatic Movement [except for the childhood stuff]  but I do know a few people who have charisms. I am not sure why I didn't join this group. I think part of it is that I love peace and quiet. The Church that I attend is very traditional and beautiful, this Christmas we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1st Mass celebrated here! The architecture is incredible and Catholic to the bone: I love it here. And it was here, in this quiet, old, church that I first started receiving "Words of Knowledge".

I can speak in tongues, now, but I rarely do so. Only in emergencies :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Confirmations in the spirit and holy dreams

http://www.markmallett.com/blog/?p=1480

Some may wonder why I often leave links to Mark Mallett's site. There are a number of reasons. The first is that I believe that he has a true prophetic gift. Second, the "words" he receives come to him in a similar manner as mine do and when I read certain writings of his I get a witness in the spirit. A witness in the spirit usually comes to me when the Lord wants to confirm another person's words to show me the truth in them. This doesn't only happen to me on Mark Mallett's site, the Lord often uses it whenever He wants to draw my attention to something in particular. The Holy Spirit floods me and it feels as like a mixture of heat and electricity, waves of it. He does this when He is giving me "words", also. If the word is particularly strong my body sometimes shakes. It has just been in this past year that the shaking has started and I was concerned at first until I heard that this is not uncommon. Another reason that I believe that his charisms are real is that some of his "words" and dreams have been the same as mine.

I often use the terms "word of knowledge" and "prophetic word" interchangeably but they are actually two different things. There is also "word of wisdom" which is slightly different. I will attempt over the next couple weeks to explain what I know about these charisms, as well as prophetic dreams, as simply as I can. Many people only believe what they can see with their eyes and forget that there is a spiritual world, also, and we are not simply matter but spiritual beings. There is a certain snobbery that exists today that says charisms are no longer needed; we are too enlightened for that. I say:
They are needed now as never before in history. The Holy Spirit didn't stop giving these gifts, many people simply don't want them or are unaware of them. Some of the Christian sites that I have read will not have anything to do with charisms or private revelations, apparitions and miracles. I cannot understand why. The Spirit gives these gifts to build the Church, they didn't suddenly stop existing. People don't trust them, but they can be extremely helpful. At least that is what I have found in my own life.  Almost every personal prophetic word the Lord has given me has come true including the birth of my baby which came with a time.  Well, except for one, which was just given to me and a few that will take some time to fully play out, but I have faith that God's word is good.

It is very hard to get information in books or over the internet about charisms, especially among Catholics, so I am just going to try to explain in my own words what little I have learned about some of them. I do not have all the charisms so those might be a little harder to explain.

I'll start with the gift of dreams since this was the first charism that I noticed outside of prayer charisms. The dreams started almost immediately after the Lord brought my soul into the presence of His Mercy http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/06/heart-of-jesus-infinite-in-mercy.html . I called them "Holy Spirit dreams" for lack of a better word. I didn't know much about the spiritual life at this point; I was like a baby cradled in the arms of God, one who couldn't even walk yet. The first dreams consisted of knowledge being poured into my head while I slept. I was aware that this was going on, I would "catch" the Lord at it many times. In the morning I would wake up knowing things about God that I had previously not known. One day I woke up with the words "indoctrination of the Holy Spirit on my lips", other times I would be given things. In one dream Jesus put an old coin in my hand [ I wrote about this one on one of my blogs], in another, I was in a room reading beautiful ancient scrolls in another language. These dreams continued in this fashion for a period of time, it was as if the Lord was preparing me for something. Meanwhile, I started attending daily Mass and became a daily communicant [after a long confession, of course]. I also started reading the bible, praying the rosary and reading about the saints. I was bowled over when I heard about St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy. The first time I saw the Divine Mercy picture, I said, " Lord! That picture reminds me of what happened to me, the rays which pierced my soul, the mercy and love emanating from your Heart. That's what You did to me!"  I  bought her diary not too long after that and was fascinated with it. I started praying the Mercy Chaplet and this is when I started waking up every single night at 3:33. It was strange. I would go to sleep and would get woken up at 3:33, never 3:32 or 3:34 but always 3:33 on the nose. I took this as a call to prayer and started praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the middle of the night. I later read somewhere that 333 was the number of the Trinity. Once, I got a word of knowledge that this was a call to the prayer warriors and God was waking up many Christians at this time to pray for the world. Some people get woken up at 3:00 instead and almost everyone that this happens to takes it as a call to prayer.

I have posted about some of my dreams on my blogs including one in which I was given a glimpse of hell. In some I was battling demons and losing until St. Michael came to help me. The minute St. Michael stepped into the picture they were done for. I think this one was to teach me to call on St. Michael whenever I needed help, so I started praying the St. Michael prayer. The dreams continued and still do. Some have been prophetic dreams, many have been spiritual battles and some are just conversations with the Lord. These dreams are unlike regular dreams, they are extremely vivid and filled with power.

I'll have to continue this in another post, I just realized how long it was getting :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sunday Snippets

This That and the Other Thing: Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly meme hosted by RAnn where bloggers can get together and share their favorite posts with each other. I have found many wonderful blogs since joining this meme and have read some great posts. I didn't really post much this week so I am going to share a couple of older posts:

  1. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/07/truth.html
  2. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/07/fiat.html 
The first post is about prayer, the second about the power of one person in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, I will be able to post more frequently next week!

Sabbath Moments


Colleen at Thoughts on Grace http://colleenspiro.blogspot.com/  hosts this weekly meme and I am joining her once again this Saturday. Sabbath Moments remind us to live in the present and just be. Each and every day is a blessed gift from our gracious Lord and there is beauty and wonder in each one if we look with the eyes of our soul.
This week was very hectic for me but even with all the activity there were a few moments that reached into my heart and touched my spirit. One of these moments came as I was doing some Christmas shopping and was driving to a store. I decided to do the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as I was driving and I felt flooded with God's grace. He even gave me a personal "word " that filled me with joy and thanksgiving. I am waiting for Him to fulfill this word in me and I have faith that He will do it because His words are always good.
Another moment that filled me with love and joy came upon me this morning as I was cuddling with my daughter. She was sick during the night and crawled in bed with us. After my husband left for work I simply held her and prayed while she slept. When she woke up we snuggled and gabbed for half an hour before getting out of bed. Every time I hold her little hand I feel a touch of heaven on earth. God simply overwhelms me with love for this child, even the thought of our time together this morning brings a smile to my face. God is good.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An interesting article on private revelation

http://www.markmallett.com/blog/?p=1295

If it's paper...

I haven't been posting as much lately because I am trying to transfer all my poetry onto one blog. This might not seem like a very big task, but I have poems everywhere. On my blogs, in notebooks, and on scrap paper all over the house. There are half-completed ones tucked in my desk, my purse and my car and I am trying to find them all. We have a lot of papers because my husband knows better than to throw out anything  that can be written on. This may include envelopes, the back of junk mail, etc... I think you get my drift.
          Have I told you lately that I'm disorganized?
     

Monday, December 14, 2009

Prayer - The Gift of Praise

As far as prayer charisms go you would think the gift of praise would be the first one given. Maybe, for many people, that is the case. Not for me. This was one of the last prayer gifts I received, only God knows why.

For many years I had trouble praising God. Oh, I praised Him. Often. The problem was: unlike the rest of my prayer life, it didn't seem to come from the heart. I would force myself to do it and I would even pray Psalms of praise to Him. I loved Him dearly. Why couldn't I praise Him with my whole heart? It was as if I was somewhat blocked when it came to praise. So... for years I praised and thanked God and then I would apologize to Him. "I'm sorry, Lord. I want to praise You with my whole being but it just won't come out."

One day my daughter was watching TV and fiddling with the remote control. She got bored and left the room to go do something else. I started cleaning the living room and paused to dust the top of the TV. As I was dusting, a televangelist on the TV said, "Something BIG is going to happen in your life!"  Fire went through my body.  "I don't know if this is for someone in the audience or someone at home, but something BIG is going to happen in your life."  The fire of the Holy Spirit engulfed me and I was given the gift of praise. This is a true story, despite how weird  it sounds. God has a great sense of humor and if He wants to heal or give gifts to someone through a television set, that's exactly what happens. All power is His and who are we to say otherwise. After that I was able to praise Him with my whole heart. I was even waking up from dreams with praises on my lips. It was really strange, but stranger things have happened. God is a God of miracles!

Thank you, Lord, for this precious gift!

Oh, by the way, pip, it gets a lot weirder than this but I guess you're right, I can always offer it up as suffering if people think I'm crazy ;)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This That and the Other Thing: Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

This That and the Other Thing: Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival This Sunday I am joining RAnn for her Sunday Snippets Meme. We are a group of bloggers who meet once a week to share our posts with each other.
This week most of my posts were about prayer. A life without prayer is like trying to breathe underwater, there is not enough oxygen to sustain us. Without prayer the soul drowns in worldliness, it becomes less sensitive to things of the spirit. This week I'd like to share these two posts:

  1. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/12/intercessory-prayer.html  
  2. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/12/just-pray.html

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Praise!

Praise! This Sunday I am joining Jennifer at My Chocolate Heart in praising God for His goodness and unfailing kindness to me :

I praise God for His infinite mercy! What would I do without this?

I praise you, O Lord, for the graces you have showered upon me!

I praise you, O Lord, for my husband and daughter - may you bless them abundantly and guide them always.

I praise you, O Father, for sending us your beloved son to save us from our sins.

And Father, I praise you for all things, for I see your hand upon my life and I trust in your eternal wisdom.

But most of all, Father, I praise you for life itself, without which, there is nothing.

" I will praise you , Lord, with all my heart;
   I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
 I will delight and rejoice in you;
   I will sing hymns to your name, Most High."             Psalm 9: 2,3

Amen

Sabbath Moments



This Saturday I am once again joining Colleen at http://colleenspiro.blogspot.com/ for her Sabbath Moments Meme. Sabbath Moments can be planned or may come by surprise.

No surprises for me this week. I planned to attend the Rosary at my church Wednesday and then attend the Noon Mass. I have Wednesdays off from work and was hoping to spend a little extra time with the Lord in prayer during the course of the day. The best laid plans often go awry, however, and this one certainly did. We had a lot of snow and there was no school, so intead I played with my daughter for most of day. I count this as a Sabbath Moment because I was able to spend quality time with my daughter and our days have been kind of hectic since school started. After she went to bed I was able to do the Rosary and my evening prayers. This brings me great peace :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Intercessory Prayer

Intercessory prayer is "standing in the gap" or bringing others to God with your prayers. Anyone can and should intercede for others, especially those who are in trouble spiritually and cannot or will not pray for themselves. Everyone, as christians, are called to pray for their brothers and sisters in this world.

There is also the charism of intercessory prayer. The Holy Spirit gives the gift of powerful, intense prayer to the intercessor. It is a burning prayer, forceful, and impossible to ignore. Well...a person could ignore it I guess, but why would they want to? The Holy Spirit will bring the person that He is calling you to pray for to your heart and mind along with the overwhelming urge to pray for this person. It seems as if you are before the Mercy Seat and the Lord shares with you His love and mercy for the one you are praying for; it may often bring you to tears, as the Lord's mercy is a thing of incredible beauty. It is a deep all-encompassing prayer, it feels as if it is being pulled out of you. You are left feeling awestruck at the depths of God's mercy. This is completely the Holy Spirit's work; the person praying is simply the vehicle as a member of the body of Christ. This charism, as with any, grows stronger when the person cooperates with the Spirit.

Oddly enough, God may bring total strangers to you before drawing you into this prayer. The Holy Spirit moves the person's heart to open up to you and they will often pour out their life story even though they do not know you. It's actually kind of strange when this happens, as it is unexpected. Other times you may be just praying in general and the Holy Spirit draws you into the intercessory prayer. Sometimes it is out of the blue, but it is enough to understand that He is doing it for a good purpose and it can help others immensely.

One of the reasons that I think the charisms are important is because they do help build up the Body of Christ on earth. You can't take charisms with you when you die, but you can sure help others by accepting these gifts, that is their purpose.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Event of the Year

I, Queen Ree, had the honor of attending "THE EVENT" of the year. Along with Tinkerbell, my fairy friend, we attended the Pixie Hollow Grand Ball. I must say: It was a smashing success. Tink was dressed in the latest haute couture evening wear created by Hello Kitty and Co. All the fairies and sparrowmen were dressed in their finest. I wore a sparkling tiara and glittering fairy jewels with my pressed flower fairy gown created by Sue Fine, a sewing talent fairy. After much dancing, dining, and laughter, Tink and I departed in our flower coach pulled by eight chipmunks. A truly great party attended by the elite of fairyland!

Can you tell it was a snow day and there was no school? :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Prayer - The Rosary

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception so I decided to do a post on the Rosary in honor of this feast day. I am mentioning the Rosary on its own because it combines vocal prayer, meditation, intercessory prayer and praise all rolled into one prayer. The Rosary is Christ-centered, essentially scriptural and intensifies our union with Jesus, through whom in the Spirit, we are one with the Father. The only way to the Father is through Jesus, He is the Beautiful Gate all must enter through. Mary helps draw us closer to Him through her prayers as Mother of the Church. Just as she was Jesus' mother on earth so she is the Mother of the Body of Christ on earth [us], given to us by Jesus himself on the Cross.

The seed of contemplative prayer is often sown during the Rosary. It "preps" our hearts to receive the gift of contemplation and sometimes the Lord draws us into contemplation during the Rosary. If this happens, let go of the prayer. God pulls your attention away from the prayer and you  feel caught up in intense love and joy - encompassed by Him; it could last for minutes and sometimes it can last for weeks. Sometimes He infuses knowledge into us during the Rosary, too. You may find that you have a knowledge of God that you did not previously have. These things can happen anytime, not just during the Rosary, but I have noticed that many people seem to have these experiences while praying the Rosary. Personally, I think it is a grace Mother Mary obtained from God for those who recite the Rosary faithfully and pray with their hearts. Consolations are common during the Rosary, also.

Mother Mary was the greatest contemplative of all times, she always pondered things in her heart. She is also a great intercessor and as our spiritual mother she would like to help us deepen our prayer lives. What is necessary on our part is good will and the intention to pray well, with love; she can help us with the rest and turn us into powerful prayer warriors because she is great at obtaining graces for those who entrust themselves into her care.

St. Thomas Aquinas mentions that 3 levels of attention are possible during vocal prayer such as the Rosary. The first and lowest level is our attention to the full and proper enunciation of the words of the prayer. The second and higher level is our attention to the literal meaning of the words. The third and still higher level is reached when, leaving the literal meaning aside, our attention rises to thoughts on the Mystery or to particular praise of God. This third level may rise to the point of contemplation.

My thoughts are:
In Mary, we find the perfect model for contemplation and union with God. Mary shows us what complete abandonment to God is.   " Let it be done to me according to your word" and "Do whatever He tells you" are perfect examples of this. She was filled to the brim with grace and it is through grace that we too become like Jesus.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Just pray!

Prayer is a gift from God given to all His children, no one is excluded. Basic prayer is something anyone can do, God made us that way. It is the raising of one's heart and mind to God in it's simplest definition. God calls us tirelessly to prayer, but it is us who must respond. We can turn our backs and refuse this gift or we can eagerly respond to His call. We come to know the Lord through prayer; He reveals himself to us. God already knows us fully and completely. He doesn't need to get to know us better; He wants us to come to a greater knowledge of Him, so that we may begin to understand the infinite love He has for us. Who wouldn't want to get to know God better?

Jesus prayed. This in itself shows us the immense importance of prayer. If the second person of the Holy Trinity prayed and knew it's necessity; how much more, we, with our fallen natures, need prayer. He taught his disciples how to pray and when He ascended to the Father He sent the Holy Spirit to help us. " As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out,  'Abba, Father!'  So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God."      Gal. 4:6,7

Since we are His children and heirs to the Kingdom we become closer to God through prayer. Just as our bodies grow physically so should our prayer life grow over the course of our lives. The beginnings of prayer is usually vocal prayer [though many children are natural contemplatives but often lose this gift]. Vocal prayer is prayer performed by means of a given formula, they are recited alone or in community with others. Mental prayer is prayer without articulation of words and is generally called meditation. Vocal prayer and meditation are often mixed as the person is thinking about God while praying with their voice. If you are thinking of a baseball game while praying, you are simply mouthing words. Distractions are common when someone begins praying. When you catch your mind wandering, simply draw it back to God; eventually distractions become less common if you ignore them. Don't fight the distractions, just gently push them away. This is also a good idea for those practicing the Presence of God; when you become aware that your mind is caught up in things other than God, gently draw your gaze back to Him. Actually, I am getting a little ahead of myself here as I wanted to post on an awareness of God's constant presence in a later post on prayer, today is just supposed to be the basics so I will end it here:

The most important thing to remember during any kind of prayer is to pray with your whole heart. When you are not in the mood to pray it sometimes helps to listen to music, read your bible or think of things that you are thankful for to perk up your heart. Throwing your whole body into the prayer often helps, too. For myself, listening to inspiring music often does the trick as does asking for Our Lady's intercession to help me pray well.

My next post will be on the Rosary since tomorrow is The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the Rosary is an important part of a Catholic's prayer life. After that, I'd like to post about intercessory prayer and the prayer of suffering.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Prayer

The little break from blogging was good for me. I was able to spend some extra prayer time with the Lord in the evenings. Though I pray throughout the day in various ways, I seem to need the intense quiet of the evening after my daughter is in bed to really spend quality time with God. I go in my bedroom, close the door and try to pray with all my heart. This is much easier to do when there is no noise. I like peace and quiet, always have. [Music is an exception.] My family has supersensitive ears; with the exception of one, we all wear earplugs to bed. I barely ever watch TV, go to the movies, go to malls or any loud places unless I have to, the noise bothers me. Natural noises don't make me feel this way, manmade noise does - electronic equipment, horns, alarms, trucks...
Sometimes I wonder:  If the world wasn't so noisy, would we hear the still, small voice inside easier? I think the answer is yes. I know that the Lord can make Himself heard in any situation but silence is best. Noise is distracting and can keep us from focusing on the spiritual by contantly drawing our attention to the world. Every person needs quiet time, even children. One of the best things a person can do for themself is to put aside some time each day to spend with the Lord in silence. The past few days I have been pondering prayer and have decided to do a few posts on prayer. These will be mostly personal observations of the different types of prayer that I have experienced in my own life, including some prayer gifts of the Holy Spirit. All prayer is a gift from God but certain types are charisms given by the Holy Spirit. I will touch upon vocal and mental prayer, intercessory prayer [ both basic and the gift of intercessory prayer], the prayer of suffering [ the charism], the prayer of silence, and contemplative prayer. Why do I call some charisms? Because, they  are begun by God, not the person. God draws the person deeply into them, sometimes out of the blue when they least expect it. Praying the scriptures is another one I have in mind.
Hopefully, with the Lord's help, I can explain them simply. Every person is unique, therefore every prayerlife is different but sometimes common threads run through them, so I thought it would be a good thing to write about. Prayer and charisms walk hand in hand, so I will blog a little about both. At least the ones I know about, I can't write about some of them because I don't have them. I am not a member of any charismatic group, the charisms that I do have came upon me unexpectedly. The Holy Spirit blows where He will for reasons only He knows.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If I blog too much....

Is it just me? If I blog too much, I miss my poetry. If I write poetry too much, I miss my blogging. If I blog and write my poetry, it affects my prayer life. And if it affects my prayer life, I need a little break from blogging and poetry. There! That was simple to work out! See you soon :)