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Prayers

This category contains 5 posts

Thoughts on the Joyful Mysteries

Today I prayed the rosary for the first time. You would think that as someone who is nominally Catholic the rosary would have been taught to me during CCD. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I think of my Grandmother whenever the rosary is mentioned because she always, even to this day, has one of those small one decade rosaries on her key chain.

Today being Monday I meditated on the Joyful Mysteries. I was struck by how the Joyful Mysteries are the essence of motherhood and the relationship between mother and child. While meditating I found it helpful to put myself in Mary’s position whether that was being visited by the angel, seeing Elizabeth, putting the baby in a manger in Bethlehem, presenting Jesus at the Temple, and finding Jesus at the temple. What an amazing strength it took to be the mother of God in the face of so much earthly uncertainty!

The effect prayer has on my life is profound. The key thing is that it reminds be to be content in this season of life and not always looking forward to a time when all the problems of this season will have passed. Prayer also reminds me that there are always challenges in life, that is our cross, but that I shouldn’t romanticize one set of challenges simply because I’m not facing them in this season.

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Mass, a prayer book, and St.Paul

Thanks to Gudrun Lisa Korell’s suggestion, from over at Prayers4reparation, I headed to Vespers and Mass early Saturday evening so I would have some time to browse through the bookshop, St. Pauls. I was a little overwhelmed by the size of the shop as it is much larger than it appears from the outside. I finally settled on a prayer book entitled “The Greatest of These is Love: Daily Meditations on St. Paul“.

I noticed quite a few books on animals and the environment in the ‘current topics’ section, but none of them really seemed to be calling me. I also noticed a bunch of books written by people who are currently being investigated by the Vatican, so I wasn’t totally trusting that everything in the shop was necessarily Church approved. Needless to say, I’m very happy with this little prayer book as I’m already receiving many blessings from it! (And lucky for me Westminster Cathedral has St. Paul’s Chapel which I can pray in, which I think is pretty neat!)

I’m an academic at heart and the combination of learning about Paul’s life throughout the Bible and the meditation and prayer given by Bishop Campbell strikes a great tone for me in my prayer life. What I really took away from today’s meditation was this line: “Like St. Paul, our vocation is to respond to the measure of Christ’s grace given us in the particular circumstances of our own lives.” 

I find the concept of vocation to be really freeing. As I mentioned in Saturday’s post, there have been a few times when I’ve felt called to travel down a certain path in life. These callings weren’t necessarily long-term vocations (religious life, marriage, etc.), but I’m definitely in the beginning stages of discernment for a longer-term vocation now. Starting in October I’m going to be working for ten months in service of others and I’m praying that through this time away from boyfriend I’ll discern God’s plan. I’ve found this article from the Archdiocese of Washington entitled “Six Principles of Discernment” to be really helpful. Those six principles are going to be meditated on a lot over this next coming year!

I hope everyone had an insightful Corpus Christi!

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The importance of prayer

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve been praying every day. Usually in the morning right after I wake up (and go have a pee!) and also before bed. I’ve found that on the days where I don’t pray straight away in the morning and leave it to a few hours later I get kind of cranky. Similarly, when I don’t go through my nightly routine and then pray before bed I find that I don’t sleep very well.

This past Sunday I found that I was really suffering from some anticipatory anxiety. I had this block of 5 hours where I was freaking out that I would never be able to find a job. Browsing job websites did not help at all. I’m worrying about something that is well over a year away. While yes, I am going to be done with university in a mere three days I have already committed to serving in AmeriCorps NCCC for 10 months starting in October. AmeriCorps doesn’t end until August 2013 and yet here I was having a mini-meltdown over my employment situation. Can you tell I’m a worry wort?

I think the whole thing had something to do with things in the news I’ve been reading lately. And while it would be nice to give up having to look at horrible things going on, my major depends on knowing what is going on in the world, even when those things cause some internal strife. Like how the suicide rate in Greece (which used to have the lowest rate in Europe) is rising because of the economic situation. People are killing themselves because they cannot pay their debts and/or afford the basics like food to eat. On the other hand, I was reading about how half of university students who have graduated since 2009 are unemployed or underemployed and how many cannot afford to pay their student loans.

Needless to say, I’m adding a new prayer into my repertoire.

Consoling Thoughts (for times of loneliness)

Dear Lord!
Make me remember, when the world seems cold and dreary and I know not where to turn for comfort, that there is always one spot bright and cheerful—-the Sanctuary.
When I am in desolation of spirit, when all who are dear to me have passed away like summer flowers and none are left to love me and care for me, whisper to my troubled soul
that there is one Friend who dies not
—-One Whose Love never changes—-
Jesus on the altar.
When sorrows thicken and crush me with their burden, when I look in vain for comfort,
let me remember Your words:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you.”
Amen.

Ask a monk

I emailed ‘ask a monk’ over at Catholic Exchange about the St. Basil Prayer a few days ago. Basically, I just wanted to know more about it from the Church’s perspective and I also asked to be directed to more prayers about the earth, animals, etc.

The response:

Thank you Amy for this beautiful prayer.

In today’s world where nothing seems respected anymore and the great Mother Earth to whom God has given us stewardship over has been neglected and rejected as sacred, this prayer comes as a breath of fresh air.

I think in getting this prayer out to as many as possible you can begin by sending it to as many as you can and ask that whoever you send it to, to share this prayer
with all who they know.

Social sites today such as Facebook is a good tool and so many other ways. I will help at my end and again thank you so much for your great interest in this beautiful world God has created and the glorious wonders of all life forms that He has made .

Br. Sebastian, OSB

I was slightly disappointed with this response, but oh well! I shall keep on searching.

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Animals and Catholicism

Last night I was browsing through some online resources looking for prayers and I came across this:

Prayer of St. Basil of Caesarea
Deeper Sense of Fellowship With All Living Things

O God, grant us a deeper sense of fellowship with all living things,
our little brothers and sisters
to whom in common with us
you have given this earth as home.
We recall with regret that in the past
we have acted high-handedly and cruelly
in exercising our domain over them.
Thus, the voice of the earth
which should have risen to you in song
has turned into a groan of travail.
May we realize that all these creatures
also live for themselves and for you,
not for us alone.
They too love the goodness of life,
as we do, and serve you better
in their way than we do in ours.

Amen.

Wow! Isn’t that beautiful? As a vegan, I was blown away by finding this. I had to know more about this St. Basil! A quick trip to his Wikipedia page didn’t reveal anything to do with the earth, animals, good stewardship, etc. like I was expecting, so I hit the blogosphere, and thank goodness I did.

As it turns out this prayer is rather astonishingly not St. Basil’s at all. In a nutshell, this prayer did not emerge until 1910 and came from a Baptist theologian, Walter Rauschenbusch. Through a series of bad referencing amongst authors, it somehow came to be accepted that this prayer was indeed from St. Basil. Intriguing, no?

Not to fret though, I have discovered an incredible blogger, Philip Johnson, who writes Animals Matter to God. He is the one who really delved into the St. Basil prayer in a seven-part series. I have also discovered the full prayer composed by Rauschenbusch and many of his other prayers, which I quite like.

In the meantime, I think I’ll be sticking with the prayer above as the full prayer is rather lengthy! Philip Johnson has also given me some book recommendations on the subject of theology and animals, so I will be delving into those this summer and sharing my thoughts.

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