Tag Archives: Prayer

The value of self-denial

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Mount Calvary

Our Lord Jesus crucified

Our Lord invites us, if we would be his disciples, to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him. We do this especially in Lent but we should do it throughout the year. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture and of St Josemaria Escriva to consider how:

  • Jesus Christ, out of love for us, took up the cross in his passion and death, and he suffered more than we ever will
  • There are many reasons for, and benefits from, living self-denial
  • Self-denial is essential for holiness
  • We can live self-denial in many ordinary ways
  • We should accept in a spirit of penance the crosses life brings
  • Those who live self-denial find joy in this life and in the next

Souls of prayer

The agony in the garden of Gethsemane

Our Lord praying

Christ spent forty days praying and fasting in the desert before beginning his public ministry and he prayed intensely in Gethsemane on beginning his Passion. In this meditation we use these examples of Our Lord and texts of St Josemaria Escriva to consider:

  • How and why we should be souls of prayer
  • The different forms our prayer can take
  • The need to have regular times set aside each day for prayer
  • How to pay attention and fight distractions in our prayer
  • The need to persevere in our habit of prayer throughout our life

The value of temptations

Christ sends Satan away after His temptation

A depiction of Christ’s temptation

We all experience temptations. They are a consequence of original sin and of our being subject to the world, the flesh and the devil. But in addition to being sources of sin, temptations can also be sources of sanctity. In this meditation we consider:

  • Christ’s temptations in the desert, which are very similar to our own
  • Christ’s example in overcoming the temptations
  • How we can use temptations to grow in sanctity and human virtues
  • What we can do to overcome temptations

With Christ in Lent

Face of Christ in the Passion

A depiction of Jesus Christ’s passion

Lent presents a splendid opportunity to grow closer to God spiritually, to accompany Our Lord through the Cross to the Resurrection. In this meditation we consider how:

  • Lent symbolises our life on earth with its trials and tribulations  and Easter symbolises the joy of our life with God in heaven
  •  In Lent we quicken the pace of our life towards our encounter with Christ at the end of our life
  • Our prayer and fasting with Christ in his forty days in the desert strengthen us to resist temptations, as Christ did
  • Christ’s love for us “to the end” moves us to show our love for him by living Lent well
  • Lent is a time for repentance and the resolution to try harder to avoid sin
  • We can live Lent through the three traditional ways of prayer, fasting and works of charity

Living the Beatitudes

The Sermon on the Mount

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, giving the beatitudes during the Sermon on the Mount.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us the eight Beatitudes, eight attitudes or dispositions that should characterise every follower of Christ, of whom they are a portrait. In this meditation we consider how:

  • The Beatitudes should characterise every Christian
  • They contrast notably with the ways of the world
  • If we live them well we will grow in holiness
  • We will show the world a better way to live
  • We will find the true happiness we are seeking

Beginning a new year

At the beginning of another year, we use texts of Scripture and St Josemaria Escriva to pray about what our goals and resolutions might be, especially that most important goal of growing in holiness so as to deserve eternal life with God in heaven. We consider:

  • The very reason for our existence is to know, love and serve God on earth in order to be happy with him forever in heaven
  • We should make good use of every moment of the day since we don’t know how long God has given us on this earth
  • Many souls depend on the life of each of us
  • Holiness is a struggle, a battle, against the world, the flesh and the devil
  • We should have the determination of athletes, who discipline themselves and train hard to win a crown that fades, whereas ours is imperishable: eternal life.

Self-giving at Christmas

The visitation, when Mary visits her kinswoman Elizabeth

Mary visits her kinswoman, Elizabeth.

The first Christmas gift was Jesus Christ himself: “So much did God love the world that he sent his only-begotten Son.” In this meditation we use Mary’s visitation to her kinswoman Elizabeth and other texts of Scripture to consider how we can respond to that gift by:

  • Giving ourselves to God through our life of prayer, penance and charity
  • Growing in joy by knowing God close to us
  • Bringing Christ to others, as Mary did, by our generous  self-giving to them
  • Bringing joy to others in the Christmas season by bringing Christ to them through our smile, our generosity and our kindness

United in the Communion of Saints

A depection of the Communion of Saints

Communion of Saints

One of the most consoling truths of our faith is the reality of the Communion of Saints – the Church triumphant in heaven, the Church suffering in purgatory, and the Church militant on earth, all helping one another. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism, St Bernard, St Thomas More, St Therese of Lisieux and St Josemaria to consider how:

  • The saints in heaven “fix the Church more firmly in holiness” by their example and prayer for us
  • We should have as the goal of our life to be with them for all eternity
  • The souls in purgatory suffer greatly and are exceedingly happy, relying on our prayer for them and interceding for us before God
  • In the Church militant, we are helped by the prayers of all in this Communion and we should feel responsible to help the others by our struggle for holiness and our prayers and works.

Devotion to the Souls in Purgatory

Purgatory is a reality but because we cannot see the souls being purified there we tend to forget them. In this meditation we pray about the importance of having great devotion to the holy souls. Using texts of Scripture, the Catechism, Pope Benedict XVI, St Thomas More, St Josemaria, St Augustine and others, we consider that:

  • It is difficult to go straight to heaven when we die because the soul must be perfectly purified
  • The souls in purgatory suffer greatly from the pain of fire and from not being able to be with the God they love so much
  • At the same time they are exceedingly happy
  • From the earliest days, the Church has prayed for those who have died
  • Our devotion to the souls in Purgatory helps them and makes it easier for us to avoid going there ourselves

The Rosary, a powerful prayer

The Rosary, which developed out of Christian piety over the centuries, has shown itself to be a very powerful prayer. In this meditation we consider how:
  • The Rosary gradually developed over the centuries
  • St Dominic used the Rosary to win over the heretics of his day
  • The Rosary has been credited with winning military battles, including that of Lepanto
  • Following Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, the Rosaries said for the conversion of Russia helped bring down the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe
  • The Rosary is powerful in uniting families
  • The  Rosary helps those who say it to grow in holiness