Prayer and Fasting for Christians in Near and Middle East

This morning, I read this and felt a huge interior push to take up a fast and prayer for these brothers and sisters of ours:The silence of our friends – the extinction of Christianity in the Middle EastThe last month and a half has seen perhaps the worst anti-Christian violence in Egypt in seven centuries, with dozens of churches torched. Yet the western media has mainly focussed on army assaults on the Muslim Brotherhood, and no major political figure has said anything about the s … [Read more...]

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God in the Balance; Loving Dark and Light

shutterstock_128909486 fallencrucifix

Regardless of our religion -- whether we are Catholics or Evangelicals or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist -- the spiritual life challenges us to find balance. One of the reasons I was attracted to the Rule of Saint Benedict was because in ora et labora there is a prescription for balance. In the recitation of the Divine Office, we not only sanctify our time but we also set a pace for the whole day of prayer; work; prayer; work until -- if we are good Benedictines (and I am not one) it all flows … [Read more...]

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Pillar of Cloud, Water of Life: All of a Healing Piece & Peace

baptismofoursavior

For a little while longer, we are still in Christmas, but every day the mysteries of the season seem to wither a little, like the leaves of the poinsettias; the expectation of Advent seems far away, and in just a few days we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, and enter -- with some sense of refreshment, because after a time we long for the comforts of what is routine and regular -- into Ordinary Time.The Baptism of the Lord is being presaged in the readings and prayers of the Divine Office. … [Read more...]

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My Prayer at Adoration

When I go to Adoration, it is such a privilege and such a humility. I go there in poverty -- unworthy of anything, but willing to be open, because I trust that all God wants of us is our willingness. Always with the reminder jangling in my brain: Weakness is sown, strength rises up.It is part-and-parcel of the great paradox: when I am weak, then I am strong.I am weak, often at my weakest, when I go to Adoration. But I know my prayer there -- even though I have nothing of myself, am … [Read more...]

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Learn the Divine Office in Lent

christian prayer breviary

Well, Day 1 of Lent was pretty rich. Got to lector at Mass for one of my favorite readings and psalms, which was neat. Got to spend more time at a doctor's office than I wanted to for something so minor, but that was good, as it gave me a chance to finish Robert Hugh Benson's Lord of the World, (free on Kindle, kids!) and I think I needed the downtime. The quiet allowed a deeper submersion into Lent, but I still haven't gotten that book recommendation post done, sorry.Speaking of deeper … [Read more...]

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Prayer Podcast: 7 Nights of Compline

Compline for Sunday Compline for Monday Compline for Tuesday Compline for Wednesday Compline for Thursday Compline for Friday Compline for Saturday … [Read more...]

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A Most small-c Catholic Drama

Over at Pajamas Media, I have a piece that you might call an addendum to my weekend article at First Things.In 2009 an Arizona woman, pregnant with her fifth child and suffering from pulmonary hypertension (an often, but not always fatal complication), consulted with her doctor and the ethics committee member on call — a Catholic Sister of Mercy — and obtained an abortion at the St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.As the story has gone public, the reactions have been predictable across r … [Read more...]

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The Crying out of Flesh and God

oratory autumn

Sometimes the things you done a thousand times can bring new results; the prayers you've said a million times bring new insight.My Oratory has an assortment of Holy Icons and small pewter statues, an old standing crucifix, and a second-class relic of St. Philip Neri, who is my Patron for this year. Generally, as I begin my morning prayer, I ponder what is before me. Currently I have an Icon of the Resurrection up, and before it a small pile of tumbled stones, reminding me of the … [Read more...]

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Prayer is ruining me for blogging…

I love my oratory. It's so nice, so restful, so mine. Going there to pray every day ("going there;" it's on the other side of my desk) just...shapes the whole day.But it's really playing hell with my blogging and the direction of the blog.I mean, here's my morning: I shower, get dressed, wrap the towel around my wet head (hey, it's a handy headcoving!) and then go to my oratory. I light tea candles, one before each Icon, one before the Crucifix, one before my little pewter statues. … [Read more...]

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St. Therese & Our Own Genius

Ste. Thérèse de L'Enfant Jesus et de la Sainte FaceFrom the Responsory for today's Office of Readings:From the very beginning, O God, you came to me with your love, which has grown since my childhood - Its depths I cannot fully grasp.O Lord, how great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. - Its depths I cannot fully grasp.Coming directly after Therese's nearly ecstatic words in the second reading, the quiet acknowledgment of ongoing mystery and unplumbable depths i … [Read more...]

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