"The way of Prayer is the way of Purification"


#1

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our Bible Study yesterday, Praying over psalm 13, the leader of the Bible study used the sentence which is the title of this thread. It rang so true in my ears. If our prayer is authentic, and all God intends it to be, it is a way of giving ourselves to God that He may purify our hearts.

Psalm 13 is a precious gift as are all the inspired words of Scripture, and we listened especially to the verses I’ve put in bold below:

How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me?
How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I carry sorrow in my soul,
grief in my heart day after day?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look upon me, answer me, LORD, my God!
Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death,

Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed,”
lest my foes rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your mercy.
Grant my heart joy in your salvation,
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has dealt bountifully with me!

The most significant reference for me in pondering the words “face of God” was the Beatitude:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Mt. 5)

The second was the importance of the “light to my eyes” in the sense of those who looked on Jesus but did not have the light of Faith to See the face of God in Jesus.

I wanted to begin this thread on the importance of prayer as a follow-up to a thread I had started entitled “After Ireland” because the quotes in that thread by both Abbot Andersen and Cardinal Sarah regarding the importance of prayer impressed me. If we do not pray, and pray well, we are facing spiritual death. Not just in Ireland but all over the world.


#2

Dear Katie,

Thanks for viewing this thread and I am not at all surprised that you liked it, for you are certainly one who is a woman of Prayer, who belives in the great power of intercessory prayer which is an overflow of our supernatural Faith, Hope and above all Divine Charity.

In the Bible Study in which we prayed over psalm 13, we also listened to Jesus’ words to Philip in the Gospel of John:

Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father,* and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…(Jn 14:8-9)

God Incarnate - Jesus is the Face of God – to see Jesus is to see the Father.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray Jesus told them (and us):

“This is how you are to pray: “Our Father…” (Mt. 6:9ff)

Perhaps you can add more to this thread Katie, for I know that Prayer is important to you, and I pray it becomes more and more important to everyone!


#3

Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing this beautiful thread, MariaChristi. :butterfly:


#4

Dear Katie,

The words are sincere, and I am truly grateful to you for the importance you give to prayer and to your faithfulness to the Lord. It is sad to me that so few seem to put a “priority” on prayer, as if it were not essential to our spiritual life. Prayer is really like oxygen – we can’t “live in Christ”-- without it!

In the parable of the 10 Wise Virgins, 5 were foolish and 5 were wise. The foolish ones did not bring oil for their lamps and when the bridegoom was long in coming, they all fell asleep; but when the bridegroom came, the wise virgins had brought oil and trimmed their lamps but the foolish ones had no oil. While they were gone to buy oil the guests went into the Wedding Feast and the door was locked. The final words of that parable are significant:

Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour. (Mt 25: 11-13)

By God’s grace, may we stay awake, realizing our need to pray always. By God’s Grace may we continually ask for more grace to be ready when He comes! May we not hear those words: “I do not know you” - but stay awake now to know Him in prayer that we may enter the Wedding Feast when He comes. Thanks again, Katie!


#5

Dear brothers and sisters,

This thread was intended to share the importance of Prayer in our lives. Today’s culture has become so “busy about many things” that it seems to have little time for prayer, and sad to say, little appreciation for the value of it – or more importantly – the necessity of prayer for living a supernatural life.

Baptism “re-created” us. We were born again by water and the Holy Spirit; we became “new creations” as members of the Body of Christ. A little baby cannot know all this but a baby needs to be nurtured by parents who can prayerfully guide the child to grow in supernatural faith, hope and above all Divine Charity.

Many years ago, teaching a first grade class, I was blessed in seeing how little ones were beginning to grasp the sense of God’s indwelling presence. Since they were only beginning to read, they learned many of their prayers by rote. Sometimes we sang the “Hail Mary” to help them memorize the words.

One time stands out in my memory when I asked a little girl if she would ever do anything that she thought God would not want her to do. She looked at me with surprise and said “Oh no!” When I asked her why, she simply said because “He’s my Father”. God taught that child in the depths of her heart and I believe her parents nurtured that faith in God as her heavenly Father who loves her. She prayed the “Our Father” with the supernatural faith infused into her soul.

No matter what our background may be, no matter how disfunctional our family may have been, as adults we can seek God present in us, to give us the grace we need to grow if we but ask for His grace in prayer. He has purified so many saints and they can help us by the example of their lives, and often by their writings.

A dear friend and sister in the Legion of Mary, recently asked me if I had ever prayed the 15 prayers of St. Bridget of Sweden. She asked me last Monday, on the Feast of St. Bridget. She told me how many graces had come to her family and to her, through these prayers, and so I asked her to send me a Link.

Here it is: http://mostsacredheart.com/prayers/st-bridget.html

I began to pray these prayers on Monday for our family and the families of the world. They are truly beautiful and have drawn me closer to Jesus and have been for me a means of “purification”. You may be blessed by them as well. If anyone does begin to pray these prayers, I hope you’ll reply to this thread and share your experience.


#6

My niece is 12 - Catholic school 5 years -
now in public school - one year - and doesn’t pray at night -
Month after month - too tired - imagine -
so last week I said - just make the sign of the cross - bless yourself -
then clasp your hands…
sad…at such a young age - and after 5 years of Catholic school -
I’m here to say - this fact.


#7

The title of this thread begs the question, to me anyway, what is the impurity that the path of our prayer discovers, and perhaps confronts? And the answer that comes to me is found in the juxtaposition of two realities: (1) the purity and potency of our Baptismal graces and gifts, set alongside (2) the natural, worldly habits we have picked up and embraced in our lives in this world, so far. We have in us, at the foundation of our daily lives, a mixture of the things of God with the things of this world, “natural” realities with the supernatural, the values of heaven with the values of a very confused culture.

If we are attentive in prayer, we can be led into His light - which we desperately need - to illuminate every dark corner of our souls, and to cast away from us all that is not of Him. I find the “Our Father” remarkably, incredibly potent in this work! Thomas Aquinas called this “the perfect prayer”! He’s right.


#8

Dear Seagull,

Thanks so much for your reply. Encourage your niece in any way you can. If she is your sister’s child try to talk with your sister about “family prayer”. If she is your brother’s child, try to talk with him.

My husband and I were invited to dinner by some new friends, for the first time. There was a blessing before the meal by the Dad, and after the meal (which the oldest daughter cooked, by the way) the family had the custom of everyone thanking the Lord for something special that God blessed them with that day. It was sweet to hear the youngest boy thanking God that my husband and I could come and have dinner with them! I think he was about 4 or 5 years old.

If your 12 year old niece is too tired, praying with the family can help. Weekends, hopefully, the family goes to Mass together. The Catholic School was always intended to be a “help” to parents, but Catholic parents are the primary source of their child’s faith formation. Parents are the primary examples for children. Parenting is no easy task!

Being a prayerful Aunt or Uncle, Grandmother, Grandfaither, Godmother or Godfather can also give children a good example to follow.

I’ve taught in both Catholic and Public schools and met prayerful women and men teachers in both types of schools. I’ve also met prayerful parents in both types of schools. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how best to encourage your niece. Pray for your niece that her heart may not become “hard” as so much of the culture these days has become.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your Faithful. Kindle in us, the Fire of Your Love.
Jesus, we trust in You!
Mary, Mother and Model of the Church, pray for us.


#9

Dear fide,

Thanks for your reply. At the Bible Study, when I heard the sentence which is the title of this thread, it blessed me especially because it “rang so True”!!! I wanted to start this thread because many times, here on the forum and in my daily interactions with others I often detect a lessening of value put on time spent with God in prayer. The Bible Study also included a reference to Martha and Mary, whcih helped me to see how easily I can neglect “the one thing necessary” ( cf Luke 10: 38-42).

Prayer is our relationship with God, begun in Baptism. By His Grace, we can speak to Him and we can hear Him speak to us in many different ways. Perhaps most often in listening to Scripture, we hear His Words and they can pierce us to the heart, when they convict us of our sins. We can also hear Him speak words of comfort and encouragement to keep us believing in His Love and hoping in His forgiveness.

As you pointed out:

…We have in us, at the foundation of our daily lives, a mixture of the things of God with the things of this world, “natural” realities with the supernatural, the values of heaven with the values of a very confused culture.

If we are attentive in prayer, we can be led into His light - which we desperately need - to illuminate every dark corner of our souls, and to cast away from us all that is not of Him…

The Our Father is indeed “the perfect prayer”! God gave St. Thomas Aquinas great wisdom for the Church. The day after our Bible Study, I spent a lot of time pondering the section in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Lord’s Prayer (Part Four, Section 2 - The Our Father) See HERE

Often as I pray, I remember also St. Teresa of Avila’s wisdom in teaching her sisters the two requirements of attention and devotion in prayer. Again, as you said:

"…If we are attentive in prayer, we can be led into His light - which we desperately need - to illuminate every dark corner of our souls, and to cast away from us all that is not of Him…


#10

My niece’s dad, my older brother, is a cop - doesn’t believe.
When my dad died, the night before, he claimed he saw an angel in the room -
After dad died, my brother laughed at that - claiming too much morphine -
My niece’s mom - told her daughter - she believes there’s a God - but doesn’t believe in Jesus.

The one thing that I find interesting -
my niece - takes pride - in being like their parents -
as if it gives her a mutual toughness.
Sad.


#11

Dear Seagull,

My heart goes out to you, your brother, his wife and your niece. There is scarcely a Catholic family in the world today that isn’t praying for some members of their family to return to God and to the Faith given to them at Baptism.

Cops can see so much injustice and cruelty, they can perhaps lose the fragile faith they had – but I know by Faith that God is full of Mercy and like the parable of the prodigal son, I believe God waits and looks for every child who moved away from Him to come back home. I believe He wants us to “pray them home”. He hears the cry of the poor and we need to acknowledge that without Him, we can do nothing. But with God, nothing is impossible! The Gospel account ot Jesus’ curing the paralytic, because Jesus saw the faith of his friends who brought him to Jesus, is good to remember.

No surprise in your niece’s wanting to be like her parents – we all want to be loved and especially in our early years, we want our parents love us, and we can try to imitate them for awhile. Families are in real crisis these days in so many ways, but the crisis of faith has seemed to come more rapidly than expected. God help us!

Let us keep praying for all those in most need of God’s Mercy and especially for those in our families! Thanks again for your reply.


#12

Dear Brothers and sisters,

So sorry not more have entered this thread or the more recent one I started on the “Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila. The title of that recent thread is a quote from ths great saint’s book on the interior Life we are given at Baptism, in which she compares the soul to a castle. She wrote:

“…the door to this castle is prayer”

So few seem to have a deep understanding of prayer. If persons realized their call to holiness, perhaps they would “value” prayer more. The Saints became saints by cooperating with the supernatural gifts given at Baptism. We hear Jesus telling us in John’s Gospel that, without Him we can do nothing – yet we do not really spend much time asking, seeking or knocking to open ourselves to learn from Him in prayer – at least it seems that way to me.

May God help us to ask, that we may receive the graces we need to live and remain in Christ. One of my favorite prayers is this one by Fr.Jean Jacques Olier, S.S. (1608-1657):

“O Jesus, living in Mary, come and live in your servants, in the spirit of holiness, in the fullness of your power, in the perfection of your ways, in the truth of your virtues, in the communion of your mysteries. Rule over every adverse power, in your Spirit, for the glory of the Father. Amen.”


#13

Thank you so much for posting this insightful thread, Maria Christi.

I agree with St. Teresa.When one enters the mansions and we develop a prayer life, we start to focus on what is important and the other distractions in life that lead us away from God no longer matter. Thier effect is loosened and we start to develop a detachment to things that do not come from God.

As one progresses, the focus becomes spending time with Our Beloved.


#14

Dear Katie,

Thanks so much for your reply. Sometimes it seems as if I’m shouting something into a canyon and I only hear my own echo. :slight_smile: Your reply was a gift from God assuring me that there are others who hear God’s call to holiness and are earnestly asking, seeking and knocking that He may open the door.

Yes, when, by God’s Grace and our cooperation with His Grace, we begin to enter into our souls we cannot at first hear Him dwelling in the deepest and most interior of the rooms in the castle but we begin to understand how we need to choose not to return to the exterior and the absorption in so many things that keep us from Him.

In Chapter 2 she begins to expain the many different “rooms” and the importance of “self knowledge” and how important it is to learn the Truth of who we are in the light of Who God is, for we are made in His image. As, by God’s Grace, He enables us to focus more on Him we learn more. I am so grateful for God’s work in all His saints for the good of every soul He has called to become a member of His Body the Church.

In reading St. Teresa’s words concerning self-knowledge I was reminded of St. Louis de Montfort’s 33 days of preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, and I am beginning that Journey today in order to re-consecrate myself on Sept. 8 - The Feast of Mary’s Nativity. Have you made that Consecration, Katie?

If you or others are interested, you may want to begin reading St. Louis de Montfort’s treatise on “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin”. The online version is HERE. God willing, I hope to begin a thread on this Preparation and Consecration, sometime today.


#15

Thank you so much Maria Christi.

I will be sending you a pm :slight_smile:


#16

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