When Prayer becomes Mortification

What I look like when I pray

I first started praying the Liturgy of the Hours in the mid-winter of 2008, a few months after my reversion to Catholicism. At that time it was all exciting and new, and I looked forward to my prayer times every day; but that's not why I adopted the Liturgy of the Hours as a personal devotion. And then, when I became a Lay Dominican, I necessarily embarked on a life of diligent prayer. Per the rule, I am to pray a significant fraction of the Liturgy of the Hours, a daily rosary, daily mass … [Read more...]

The Desolation of the Draggin’

Dragon Statue

The Anchoress wrote last week about her experience of desolation in Penn Station. She was people-watching, a favorite activity, and then everything changed:I wouldn’t presume to say that anything was being communicated to me, but I nevertheless had a glimpse — or an overwhelming “sense” — of something. In that brief flash I knew that hovering over us, near us, within us, all about us, was an awful, unstoppable ache of love and sadness; a sense of “Oh, my people! How often I have wanted to ga … [Read more...]

Wishful Thinking vs. Prayer

large_4265355050

It occurred to me after finishing this post that perhaps the individuals in question believe that affirmations actually change objective reality, as opposed to one's attitude. It seems that there are people who believe this.In my view, though, this is to confuse wishful thinking with prayer. Prayer—I'm speaking particularly of prayer of supplication—isn't simply a matter of warm positive thoughts, prayed with intensity, as though I can will something to happen without taking concrete act … [Read more...]

Listening to God Redux

I don't know whether Tom McDonald's latest post was inspired by my post on Listening to God or not, but it's well worth your time. My post focused narrowly on my personal experience in prayer, and on the human dimension. (You can't say everything at once, darn it!) But as Tom points out, every instance of human prayer is a response to a conversation initiated by God, however it seems at the time. … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Time

So you've begun to pursue the interior life. You're learning to respond to the Lord's nudges. Maybe you've even asked Him to help you hunger and thirst for righteousness. So what happens next?It's like this. There's this person you've been bumping into. Maybe you meet them at the grocery store, or in the hallway at work, or at the gas station. And you find that when you bump into them, you have one of those neat conversations that just goes on and on, even though you both really need … [Read more...]

UPDATED: Listening to God

His Masters Voice

I've often been told that prayer is talking with God, not talking to God, and so you can't just talk: you have to listen, too. This is usually followed by the suggestion that I spend time just sitting and listening. I've tried that, but it never seems to work out that well for me, I think because it's never been all that clear to me what I'm supposed to be listening for. God's voice, sure. If I'm listening to God then I'm hoping to hear His Voice.But what does God's voice sound like? … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Feelings

When you embark on the interior life, you'll find that feelings come with it. Sometimes you'll feel that God is so close you can practically touch him. Sometimes (alas) you'll feel so bored you'd rather do anything else—almost. Sometimes even more than almost.The thing is, the interior life isn't about feelings; it's about an objective relationship with Jesus Christ. It's about knowing Christ and loving Christ, which is to say it's a matter of the intellect and of the will. It's about c … [Read more...]

On Being a Conduit of Love

Goldfields_Pipeline_SMC

Receiving God's love is kind of like tuning in on a radio signal. God's love is always there: fifty-thousands watts straight out of paradise, and you can catch the signal anywhere on earth. And we're natural receivers, we men and women; God designed us to pick up on the signal with high fidelity. But we're almost all of us badly out of tune with that signal: we pick up it fitfully, now and then, here and there.Now, love is naturally expressive of itself, says St. Thomas, and it seems to … [Read more...]

The Pony Principle

Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Many years ago I formulated what I call the Pony Principle, which is this: if you really want a pony for Christmas, ask your parents for a pony. You probably won't get it—but if you don't ask for a pony, you certainly won't get it.Or, to put it less colorfully: ask for what you really want, even if it seems unreasonable. Of course, you have to ask cheerfully, and you have to be willing to take no for an answer; and when you get "No!" for an answer you have to take that cheerfully as well. … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X