Tag Archives: Catholic

Celebrate with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 17, 2017

 

bridegroom-silhouette-sketch-hand-drawing

Celebrate with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Such a fascinating, multi-faceted man the editors bring to us today. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born a devout Catholic and entered the Jesuits in 1899. He met two paleontologists and was so struck by this discipline that he chose to study it at the Sorbonne.

De Chardin was a prolific scientist and writer. Richard Foster notes his varied writing was of two sorts: scientific and spiritual treatises. De Chardin also brought the sacred into his scientific writing (which strikes me as a fascinating premise).

However, this excerpt is not scientific, but celebratory—and spiritual. De Chardin writes for a wedding, a sermon for the joining of a couple who have been raised a continent apart—in France and in Asia. He gives some background for both the groom and bride, in terms of both place and family.

“And it was then, Mademoiselle, in that very habitation of souls in which it seemed impossible that two beings should find one another, that you, like the princess in a fairy story, quite naturally appeared. That, among some thousands of human beings, the eyes of two individuals should meet is in itself a remarkable and precious coincidence what, then, can we say when it is two minds that meet?” [1]

Ah! Such remarkable writing! De Chardin is able to weave together a tapestry of words that seem so fair, so fine. He goes on to talk of the wonders, the glories of the universe, and describes all of these in such glowing language. Truly, sparkling words and phrases.

And, then—“If you want, if both of you want, to answer the summons (or respond to the grace, for that is the better word) which comes to you today from God-animated life, then take your stand confidently and unhesitatingly on tangible matter; take that as an indispensable bulwark—but, through and above that matter, put your faith in the bulwark of the intangible.” [2] And, finally, “At this very moment can you not feel this spirit, to which I am urging you, concentrating upon you; can you not feel its mantle spread over you?” [3]

Yes, my marriage was performed by a dear former pastor of mine. His word craft was good, certainly, but not one quarter as fine as de Chardin’s words! These words make me think of a good plain doughnut (my former pastor) versus an exquisite French pastry (de Chardin).

God’s blessings on all brides and grooms to be married in these next weeks. May they receive abundant blessings like those of de Chardin’s.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 322.

[2] Ibid, 323.

[3] Ibid, 324.

G.K. Chesterton and God’s Guidance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 9, 2017

g-k-chesterton5

G.K. Chesterton and God’s Guidance

I have been intrigued by G.K. Chesterton for some years. And, no. I still have not read any of his writings. (Although I do have one or two Father Brown mysteries on my shelf, waiting for me to read them.)

Born in a middle-class family, at first studying art and then English literature, he developed into an astute writer of apologetic essays and books. He became a Roman Catholic in midlife, and was called “Defender of the Faith” by the Roman Catholic church.

This extended excerpt by Chesterton is not from his later period, when he was all somber and serious. However, this is from his younger (and to his mature mind, more frivolous) period.

“For instance, we often hear grown up people complaining of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train. Did you ever hear a small boy complain of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train?” [1]

In this selection of pieces, Chesterton is writing in a light-hearted, breezy style. Yet, he is writing about people and events that shape our own understanding of Christianity, after World War I.

Chesterton wanted to bring up the length of the flood (or, was it the German word for the flood?) And then, something tongue-in-cheek happens. He had such a way with words (even as a younger man) that he was able to communicate matters of faith in a lighthearted way.

This extended selection is in this book partially to show that we need not be somber and sober all the time. A gentle reminder for those who are reading this book with their mouths constantly down-turned and somber.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 301.

Dorothy Day: One who Served Well

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, April 9, 2017

SERVE do something for those who can't repay

Dorothy Day: One who Served Well

A good many people know of Dorothy Day, of her love for the poor and her lifelong work in social settings that were gritty, ugly, even heartbreaking. She began as a journalist, converted to Catholicism, and started publishing a small newspaper called “The Catholic Worker” which shook large parts of the American society. (Especially the managers and owners of different companies and corporate leaders.)

However, some people do not know about how increasingly important Christianity had become to Ms. Day. “Her Christianity was deeply formed by prayer and study of the Gospels.” [1] Plus, she always strives to live exactly the way that our Lord Jesus lived, showing compassion, care and mercy to all she could, in such desperate and hopeless situations.  It takes someone with a strong stomach and constitution to read the words Ms. Day writes in her memoir.

“Yes, we have lived with the poor, with the workers, and we know them not just from the streets, or in mass meetings, but from years of living in the slums, in tenements, in our hospices…We have lived with the unemployed, the sick, the unemployables. The contrast between the worker who is organized and has his union, the fellowship of his own trade to give him strength, and those who have no organization and come in to us on a breadline is pitiable.” [2]

Ms. Day could not turn away from these horrible situations, duplicated time and time and time again. Instead, she suggests that people of all levels of society show strength and fortitude, through the most desperate places, happenings, and lack of resources. Why not give downtrodden, down-and-out Americans, a real opportunity? And, enough food, shelter and dignity to hold mind and body together?

Dear Lord, help me to sit with this example of Dorothy Day for a while, and then to act. To do, to listen, to walk with, to accomplish needed and valued gifts and activities. And at last, my Judge will be the King from Matthew 25. I know what my marching orders are. Lord, give me the strength, the willingness, and the love and mercy necessary. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 211.

[2] Ibid, 212.

Praying Like Father Louf

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 5, 2017

la-musique-lute

Praying Like Father Louf

Amazing man of prayer, Father Louf. Comes from the Catholic faith stream, Belgian by birth, from a Cistercian community. He wrote a short book, Teach Us to Pray: Learning a Little about God. In this compilation, Richard Foster makes a judicious selection from Fr. Loef’s writing.

Is Praying Difficult? Ah. If you ask ten different people that question, you will probably receive ten different answers to that exact same question. Let’s allow Fr. Loef to give an illustration: “The lute-player bends over his instrument …. The lute has turned into music; and the man who strums upon it is taken out of himself, for the music is soft and entrancing…. The lute is his heart, the strings of which are the inward senses. To get the strings vibrating and the lute playing he needs a plectrum, in this case: the recollection of God, the Name of Jesus, the Word.” [1]

If I tried to explain exactly why prayer can be difficult, I would probably get my tongue all tied up in knots. But, Fr. Louf was able to describe this illustration in a vivid word picture. The strings of the heart are strummed in prayer. And, this illustration works on many levels. “You need only … persevere in the Word and in your heart, watching and praying. There is no other way of learning how to pray.” [2]

This coming alongside of each other is truly a remarkable way to get our hearts to be awakened. “That Word has been turned over and over in our heart. It has purified us, cleansed us, and we have grown familiar with it.” [3]

Just so. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, continue to show us how to pray and meditate in Your word.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.
[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 31-32.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

All the Saints—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 14, 2015

prayer candles

All the Saints—in Prayer

When I say the word “saints,” what do you think of? What immediately pops into your head?

When I think of “saints,” two things come to mind, more or less interchangeably. First—coming from a Protestant background and upbringing, regarding my theology—I think of all believers. The Apostle Paul calls us all “saints.” It was not a special designation for him.

However, the second strong impression entering my mind is that of the Catholic and Orthodox tradition, where “saints” are particularly revered, especially-holy believers in Christ.

Either way, these ideas of saints can help me as I pray.

The verse for the day, heading today’s reading in my prayer guide, comes from Hebrews 12:1-2. Yes, that great cloud of witnesses helps me as I pray. And as I live my life. As I stand (or fall on my face, which is sometimes the case) before God.

I have many Catholic relatives in my extended family. My parents were both baptized Catholic as babies. I feel an affinity, some familiarity with Catholic believers, and I was born in one of the largest Catholic archdioceses in the country. This has aided me in my work and calling as a chaplain in hospitals and care centers in the Chicago area. Thus—I have been able to come alongside Catholic believers in difficult or traumatic situations, and walk with them. Pray with them. Cry to the Lord with them. Some of them have requested assistance from a favorite saint, several have asked me to pray the Rosary with them, and I agree with them in prayer before God.

I can also think of several Protestant “saints,” who have helped me so much as I have learned about prayer, over the years. Dear Miss Rose, now in God’s presence. A woman of immense faith and prayer if ever there was one. Several more dear ones, who have inspired me and nurtured me along the way. I am grateful beyond measure for their examples and lessons.

As I understand from the words of Rev. Howell, we are not supposed to come to God as extra-holy super pray-ers. Instead, what we bring to God “is brokenness and profound need, a virtually desperate desire to be loved, held, and swept up into the very heart of God.”[1]  This, then, is what I bring to God. This, then, is where the saints can gather round me, and cheer me on. Sometimes console me and sit with me, as I sit or stand or kneel before God.

Regardless, I am not alone. God is with me. And so are the company of saints. That great cloud of beneficent, loving witnesses, cheering me on as I journey with God through this life. That cloud of saints is with you, too. Praise God, they are right at our sides.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 50.