Sun Chat: Perseverence in Prayer

Bemoan Yourself to Our Lord

 

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On Sunday we will chat about the importance of perseverance in prayer.
We continue our series with Part II, Chapter 9: “Concerning Dryness in Meditation” from An Introduction to the Devout Life. Here Saint Francis helps us see past our difficult times in prayer.

Should it happen sometimes, my child, that you have no taste for or consolation in your meditation, I entreat you not to be troubled, but seek relief in vocal prayer, bemoan yourself to our Lord, confess your unworthiness, implore His Aid, kiss His Image, if it be beside you, and say in the words of Jacob, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me;” or with the Canaanitish woman, “Yes, Lord, I am as a dog before Thee, but the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.”
Or you can take a book, and read attentively till such time as your mind is calmed and quickened; or sometimes you may find help from external actions, such as prostrating yourself folding your hands upon your breast, kissing your Crucifix,–that is, supposing you are alone. But if, after all this, you are still unrelieved, do not be disturbed at your dryness, however great it be, but continue striving after a devout attitude in God’s Sight. What numbers of courtiers appear a hundred times at court without any hope of a word from their king, but merely to pay their homage and be seen of him. Just so, my child, we ought to enter upon mental prayer purely to fulfil our duty and testify our loyalty. If it pleases God’s Divine Majesty to speak to us, and discourse in our hearts by His Holy Inspirations and inward consolations, it is doubtless a great honour, and very sweet to our soul; but if He does not vouchsafe such favours, but makes as though He saw us not,–as though we were not in His Presence,–nevertheless we must not quit it, but on the contrary we must remain calmly and devoutly before Him, and He is certain to accept our patient waiting, and give heed to our assiduity and perseverance; so that another time He will impart to us His consolations, and let us taste all the sweetness of holy meditation. But even were it not so, let us, my child, be satisfied with the privilege of being in His Presence and seen of Him.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. How can you find encouragement and  purpose when going through a “desert” time of prayer?
  2. Do you find consolation in the Biblical prayer using Jacob’s words: “He will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me”? Why or why not?
  3. What are your methods for getting through those time when your relationship with God seems less than ideal?
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Freedom-Point 2 St Francis de Sales

img_03905So loving is God’s hand as it handles our hearts!  So skillful is it in bringing its strength to us without depriving us of freedom, and in imparting to us the movement resulting from its power without hindering the movement of our will!  He adjusts his power to his sweetness in such wise that just as in what concerns the good his power gently gives us power, so his sweetness powerfully maintains the freedom of the will.  “If you had known the gift of God,” says the Savior to the Samaritan woman, “and who it is that says to you, ‘Give me to drink,’ you perhaps would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water.” . . .  It is as though he had said, “You would have the power to ask, and you would be aroused to ask, but you would in no way be forced or constrained to ask.  It is only perhaps that you would have asked.  Your liberty to ask for it or not to ask for it would have remained.”

TLG 1, 2:12, 133

Chatting about: The Presence of God

Chatjune26

Questions to Ponder:

  1. How do we open our eyes to the presence of God in all things, even the mundane?
  2. What keeps us from speaking to God in prayer as we speak to a friend that we can see?
  3. Why does St. Francis suggest to use his considerations “one at a time, and that briefly and simply”?  What benefit does this have to our mental prayer?

 

 

VisitationSiste: Hi Carol Anne and Lisa

Carol Ann:  I have been reminded over and over that foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head, 7:28 PM

VisitationSiste: Except hopefully in our hearts016, 7:28 PM

VisitationSiste: and we reach Him there by prayer9 PM

Carol Ann: Yes, I think he’s busy building a castle in there, figuratively speaking!

Jun 26 2016, 7:29 PM

Lisa C: He is filling my heart more and more

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Well, now to entering His presence. First of all, we do not have to enter His presence. We are always in His presence. We need to open our eyes to that presence of God in all things by engaging our mind in that recognition. It begins in the mind and then moves to the heart if enough time is given to seeing and feelin6, 7:34 PM

Carol Ann: Next up is for me to start discerning which charism(s) is/are mine and how to use them35 PM

VisitationSiste: We need to let His Presence live in usPM

Lisa C: One thing about the reading was confusing. St Francis quoted David “If I climb up to Heaven, Thou art there, and if I go down to hell, Thou art there also!” This confuses me, because I thought that hell is separation from God. , 7:36 PM

Carol Ann: Is it because nothing exists apart from God? People in hell have eternally separated themselves from God, but God does not cease to exist

Jun 26 2016, 7:36 PM

Lisa C: I know Jesus went to hell when He died, but I think He left there.

Jun 26 2016, 7:36 PM

VisitationSiste: David might have used another word like gehenna or sheol or something not truly hell- I don’t know tho

Jun 26 2016, 7:37 PM

Lisa C: Yes, Mother we should look up what word he used.

7:39 PM

Ruth (guest): Hello Lisa, Sister, Carol Ann and Judy, I am well. Still a bit overtired — probably the anemia but I am active, mostly and managing well. I start outpatient PT tomorrow.

Jun 26 2016, 7:40 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Carol Ann, there is a little book entitled “Discover your Spiritual Gifts” by C. Peter Wagner and published by RegalBooks from Gosepl Light in Ventura, California. You can reach them at www.regalbooks.com. You might find it helpful even though the author is not

Welcome | Gospel Light

Jun 26 2016, 7:40 PM

Ruth (guest): This weekend we had what they call a “retreat” at the Guggenheim, a big old camp on Lower Saranac Lake.

Jun 26 2016, 7:40 PM

Guest8394 (guest): Catholic.

Jun 26 2016, 7:41 PM

Lisa C: The four methods for noting the presence of God: I can say that for my whole memory I have experienced the first three. Now since my ninth Communion with my First Friday Novena I have been blessed with the fourth.

42 PM

Lisa C: Mother, it is very comforting

3 PM

Carol Ann: Lisa, I am so happy for you!

Jun 26 2016, 7:43 PM

VisitationSiste: Always the Blessed Sacrament is the best way for me but I have noticed that nature also brings me to the Lod

Jun 26 2016, 7:44 PM

VisitationSiste: By the way on Jul 10 and 17 I will not be here but in Annecy France, God willing

4 PM

Carol Ann: Are you going because of Leonie?

Jun 26 2016, 7:44 PM

Lisa C: How wonderful, Mother, what will you do there?

45 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Regarding the four considerations, St. FdS encourages using them one at a time and briefly, because each consideration can stand alone to prepare us for prayer. They should be brief so that we do not spend our whole time preparing for prayer rather than actually engaging in prayer. This would be akin to being at Mass and saying numerous prayers to prepare to receive the Eucharist, but remaining in the prayer and not receiving the Eucharist.

Jun 26 2016, 7:45 PM

VisitationSiste: 2 purposes- one, a retreat at our Monastery and the other a workshop on the Treatise on the Love of God

Jun 26 2016, 7:45 PM

VisitationSiste: They are struggling too, Lisa

Jun 26 2016, 7:45 PM

Ruth (guest): Interesting, Judy, that he suggested publishing your meditations. Don’t get discouraged if you have to make a big collection of rejection notices before you find a publisher who will publish your book. Lots of authors have had to do that.

Jun 26 2016, 7:45 PM

Ruth (guest): Lisa, what is the fourth way?

6 PM

Lisa C: “The fourth way is simply to exercise your ordinary imagination, picturing the Saviour to yourself in His Sacred Humanity as if He were beside you just as we are wont to think of our friends, and fancy that we see or hear them at our side. But when the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar is there, then this Presence is no longer imaginary, but most real; and the sacred species are but as a veil from behind which the Present Saviour beholds and considers us, although we cannot see Him as He is.”

Jun 26 2016, 7:47 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Or like filling the bathtub with water of the perfect temperature, putting in bubble bath or fragrant salts, getting the softest and fluffiest towels, putting on relaxing music and maybe even lighting cancles, but never getting into the but.

Jun 26 2016, 7:47 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Oops! that should be candles.

 

Carol Ann: There is so much wonderful art these days that depicts Jesus in the imagination, in Biblical scenes and in ordinary contemporary life

VisitationSiste: Using the imaginationfor meditation can reveal points of Scriptures one mite not see otherwise

Jun 26 2016, 7:50 PM

 

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I love to picture Jesus in the monstrance. It makes Him very present to me, and I love to be in that Eucharistic Presence when I have the opportunity.

PM

Ruth (guest): So glad for you and the sisters, Sr. Susan Marie.

Jun 26 2016, 7:51 PM

VisitationSiste: Prayer leads to Love and Love helps us do the Will of God

7:52 PM

Lisa C: I am so sure that God sent you to do His important work that I know it will be possible to solve the problems

Jun 26 2016, 7:52 PM

Ruth (guest): I think being around other people who respond to God’s will — who express love — is so helpful, too.

Jun 26 2016, 7:52 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Ruth, I am prepared for a long and arduous search for a publisher and to expect many rejections.

 

Carol Ann: There is a lot of author support at catholicwritersguild.com

Jun 26 2016, 7:53 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) thanks for that info, Carol Ann!!!

4 PM

Carol Ann: we got tired of complaining there were no resources for Catholic authors, so we incorporated and made onePM

Ruth (guest): Good idea Carol Ann, and some of the bloggers can probably give you ideas, too: Catholic Stand has many contributors. Maybe individual meditations could be “published” — i.e. by internet there.

Jun 26 2016, 7:55 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) You put this group together yourself?

Jun 26 2016, 7:56 PM

Ruth (guest): We? So that was your work, with others you know/

PM

Carol Ann: Well, there were ten or fifteen of us in an online critique group. we were always being turned away from Christian guilds for being Catholic

Jun 26 2016, 7:57 PM

Ruth (guest): Interesting Carol Ann.

Jun 26 2016, 7:58 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I’m impressed, Carol Ann!!

Jun 26 2016, 7:58 PM

Carol Ann: I had a small part, others took the lead with the paperwork, writing the bylaws, serving as officers, etc. I started out writing for the radio show we tried, then moved over to the Seal of Approval committee as an evaluator and then submissions coordinator. This year I’m riding herd on the judging for our Catholic Arts & Letters award

Jun 26 2016, 7:58 PM

Ruth (guest): Years ago I was turned away from a Christian mission organization in which a good friend (Lutheran) from Medical School was working in Nigeria. He wanted me to come join him. My Catholic parish was even going to pay for my health insurance and small stipend.

Jun 26 2016, 7:59 PM

Ruth (guest): The reason they gave: “We’ve never before had a Catholic.

Jun 26 2016, 7:59 PM

Carol Ann: I have a BA in Linguistics, and the Wycliffe Foundation turned me down. Not that I blame them, but they sort of won that argument already!

Jun 26 2016, 7:59 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Well, don’t they know that there is always a first time?

Jun 26 2016, 7:59 PM

Ruth (guest): And they did not want to break that tradition, it seems. I was just too Catholic for them.

Jun 26 2016, 8:00 PM

Carol Ann: they do know, I think, but it’s not really on their radar

6, 8:03 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Back to tonight’s topic. the second question is about people failing to speak to God in prayer as to a friend. I believe that this is so because they perceive Him as being “out there” somewhere rather than within as He truly is by virtue of our Baptism and reception of the Eucharist. He promised that “Anyone who loves me will be true to my word and my Father will love him; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him.’ (in the Gospel of John

Jun 26 2016, 8:03 PM

VisitationSiste: 2. What keeps us from speaking to God in prayer as we speak to a friend that we can see?

2016, 8:03 PM

Ruth (guest): Yes, prayer. And since you were praying about it, something really good came out of it, even though it was not the good that you saw. God works that way — for all those who love him.

 

Lisa C: Nothing does, I talk to God all day , 8:04 PM

VisitationSiste: Sometimes people don’t hear God well and th 04 PM

Lisa C: It helps that He listens to me

Jun 26 2016, 8:05 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) And Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 3 “Are you not aware that you ae the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells IN you?” The presence of God is within us, no farther away than our own hearts. So communicating with Him is easy. He is not distant.

Jun 26 2016, 8:05 PM

Ruth (guest): I, too, say THANK YOU to him many, many times per day

 

Ruth (guest): Sometimes, if I am grumbling about something or other, he listens to that,too, and often make makes me laugh!

Jun 26 2016, 8:06 PM

Carol Ann: Me too–there is so much to be grateful for, and once you start trying to list those things, the list becomes longer and longer of its own accord

 

Mary Roberta Viano: Hello!

Jun 26 2016, 8:07 PM

Ruth (guest): Hi Sr. Mary Roberta.

Jun 26 2016, 8:07 PM

Carol Ann: Hi Sr. Mary Roberta!

Jun 26 2016, 8:07 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I think that I have said before that I love those surprise moments when Jesus sort of taps my shoulder and reminds me of His presence. And I become greatly aware of His presence. I love those moments. Hi Sister Mary Roberta.

:08 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: and I like to remember that it’s thanks to Him that I have another breath to breathe!

Jun 26 2016, 8:08 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: We spent some time planning Sr. Mary Agnes Smythe’s 90th birthday party on July 6th.

Jun 26 2016, 8:09 PM

Carol Ann: what fun!

Jun 26 2016, 8:09 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I sometimes begin by thanking Him for giving me life, and for the parents who truly wanted me. Then, I go through my life and mention the many things for which I am grateful.

Jun 26 2016, 8:09 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: She wants steak and potatoes (good Irish that she is!) and a blue coat and dress (we can’t figure those out).

PM

Mary Roberta Viano: We were calculating that we’ll have 5 reaching 90 or in their 90’s this year!

Jun 26 2016, 8:11 PM

Ruth (guest): Yes, I don’t know if I have ever felt the “tap on the shoulder” but there have definitely been times that he has helped me change my perspective — in a good way.

Jun 26 2016, 8:11 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: I guess religious live long lives!

Jun 26 2016, 8:12 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I read of so many religious who live very long lives. It must be the rarified atmosphere in which they live.

Jun 26 2016, 8:12 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: Yes, I’ve had those AHA moments, too, Ruth – often during our Eucharistic Adoration.

Jun 26 2016, 8:12 PM

Carol Ann: which is the psalm that talks about us still being green & full of sap in old age? It’s in the liturgy of the hours a couple of times a month.

Jun 26 2016, 8:13 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: One Psalm says a long lifetime is 70 or 80 for those who are strong.

PM

Mary Roberta Viano: nothing is said about 90…

Jun 26 2016, 8:14 PM

Lisa C: Adam and Noah lived more than 800 years

Jun 26 2016, 8:14 PM

Lisa C: Moses was 120

Jun 26 2016, 8:14 PM

Carol Ann: no, this one just says old age. you’d think I would remember it after all the repetitions.

Jun 26 2016, 8:14 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I think that life expectancy has increased since the time when the Psalms were written.

Jun 26 2016, 8:14 PM

Ruth (guest): Interesting Sr. Mary Roberta. Blue. My favorite color, too. God once gave me blue a bright deep blue as a sort of “transitional object.” I saw it everywhere and always praised him simply for blue.

Jun 26 2016, 8:14 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: I don’t have a concordance on hand to check the Psalm number.

Jun 26 2016, 8:15 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: It’s Our Lady’s color, Ruth.

M

Mary Roberta Viano: In SFdS’s four considerations to place oneself in God’s presence, I was glad to see the use of imagination as number 4.

Jun 26 2016, 8:17 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: Did you talk about the 4 before I came this evening?

Jun 26 2016, 8:17 PM

Ruth (guest): Yes. It started one time, when severely tempted during prayer — at a healing prayer service, I turned to a stained glass window and praised God, for each color one after another and then returned to the blue . . .

Jun 26 2016, 8:17 PM

Carol Ann: yes, mpstly about three and four

Jun 26 2016, 8:17 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: I love Francois Mauriac’s imaginative Life of Christ – fully based on Scripture.

Jun 26 2016, 8:17 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I checked the Concordance and it appears to be Psalm 92.

Jun 26 2016, 8:18 PM

Carol Ann: Bless you, Judy. Maybe this time I’ll remember!

Jun 26 2016, 8:18 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: and I just heard Sheen’s Life of Christ praised, but there are so many good ones

Jun 26 2016, 8:19 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: Besides the Bible, I think it’s important to always be reading a good life of Our Lord

0 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: Was that a Catholic concordance, Judy, because my childhood King James numbers the Psalms differently?

Jun 26 2016, 8:21 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I recall having read Romano Guardini’s “The Lord” many years ago. I will have to track it down again.

2 PM

VisitationSiste: Did we do this one/ 3. Why does St. Francis suggest to use his considerations “one at a time, and that briefly and simply”? What benefit does this have to our mental prayer?

Jun 26 2016, 8:22 PM

Ruth (guest): I use my imagination often as a help, both in prayer and sometimes in other situations. Someone I know was saying how she could not lie still for an MRI — and how the noise bothered her. I told her how at first it bothered me — some of it sounding like machine gun fire — but then I pretended to be at a construction site. The noise then “became” construction equipment — power hammers, rivoting guns, etc. and I “watched” a building going up — all in my imagination. She said she would try that.

Jun 26 2016, 8:23 PM

Carol Ann: I find that mental prayer, if i can stay undistracted, leads to a more contemplative praye

Jun 26 2016, 8:23 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Yep, I did that one a bit ago.

Jun 26 2016, 8:23 PM

Ruth (guest): Judy, a friend gave me that book, in German.

Jun 26 2016, 8:24 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: I was glad when I became Catholic that I could depend on the tried-and-true prayers and didn’t have to laboriously make up my own.

Jun 26 2016, 8:24 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) That is a gift from the Lord, Carol Ann. Not everyone reaches contemplation

, 8:24 PM

Lisa C: The secret of an MRI, keep your eyes closed from before you go in until you come out, and say the rosary the whole time

Jun 26 2016, 8:25 PM

VisitationSiste: St Jane de Chantal talks about a simple gaze on God that Visitandines are called to

 

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I find doing a meditation to be helpful during an MRI.

Jun 26 2016, 8:25 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: I remember a priest-friend told me that a farmer-friend of his said he loved sitting before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. He said, Our Lord just looks at me and I look at Him.

Jun 26 2016, 8:25 PM

Carol Ann: it always amazes me when it is finished, it seems like stepping out of time, and i am unaware of anything

PM

Lisa C: Can anyone’s mind focus on more than one of St FdS’s methods at the same time?

Jun 26 2016, 8:27 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: yes, Mother – being humbly quiet before Our Lord is probably the best prayer of all

Jun 26 2016, 8:27 PM

Carol Ann: not me, though sometimes the static scenes I imagine morph into movies

Jun 26 2016, 8:27 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I believe that the Cure of Ars tells the story of a man whom He saw in church frequently, just sitting there. He asked the man what he was doing and his reply was the same–I look at Him and He looks at me.

Jun 26 2016, 8:27 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: that way, He can speak to me…

Jun 26 2016, 8:27 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: and I just have to listen…

Jun 26 2016, 8:27 PM

Ruth (guest): I’ve tried that, too, Lisa. Many decades. But sometimes the noise intruded too much. I still find the rosary hard to pray when not with others. A priest once suggested praying the Hail Marys and meditating on the mysteries SEPARATELY.

Jun 26 2016, 8:27 PM

Lisa C: I do not meditate much at all, I converse with God more

016, 8:28 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: My Protestant prayer was made up of so many words and not much listening to God speak, so now I want to listen, more than speak.

Jun 26 2016, 8:29 PM

Lisa C: I can read scripture or listen to it, but meditation just does not really work

Jun 26 2016, 8:29 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) For me, I believe that the silent prayer before the Lord is the most beautiful and meaningful. It is the prayer of the heart rather than of the mind.

Jun 26 2016, 8:29 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: right, Judy

9 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: It always seems that my words are so inadequate.

Jun 26 2016, 8:29 PM

Lisa C: Yes, conversing includes silence to hear God, just saying meditation does not work well for m

:30 PM

VisitationSiste: To me “being with”is most important PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I have found using words unsatisfying and have turned to the prayer of the heart.

Jun 26 2016, 8:30 PM

Ruth (guest): To me, there is no prayer that surpasses, the Mass.

Jun 26 2016, 8:30 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: As SFdS wrote to SJFdC: “Go to prayer with great meekness of spirit, without wanting to do anything there, save to receive from Our Lord what He will give you.”

Jun 26 2016, 8:31 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: true, Ruth!

Jun 26 2016, 8:31 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Amen! My that hour went awfully fast!

Jun 26 2016, 8:31 PM

Lisa C: Yes, being with is a prayer …I constantly ask Jesus to stay with me

Jun 26 2016, 8:31 PM

Carol Ann: praying the Rosary or the Chaplet thoughtfully can also lead to contemplation & the meaning behind the words

2 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: SFdS added: “Our Lord wishes to despoil you of everything so that He alone may be all things to you.”

Jun 26 2016, 8:32 PM

VisitationSiste: Yes the rosary is a crucial prayer

PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) I like to sing hymns to keep my focus on the Lord.

Jun 26 2016, 8:32 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: and singing is praying twice, according to St. Augustine

016, 8:33 PM

VisitationSiste: I am going to Night prayer now! God bless!

Jun 26 2016, 8:33 PM

Ruth (guest): Singing to the Lord! Love it.

Jun 26 2016, 8:33 PM

Carol Ann: Good night Sister, thank you!

Jun 26 2016, 8:34 PM

Lisa C: God be praised!

Jun 26 2016, 8:34 PM

Ruth (guest): Good night.

Jun 26 2016, 8:34 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: and again SFdS:the best prayer we could possibly make is absolute acquiescence in the will of Our Lord.

Jun 26 2016, 8:34 PM

Guest8394 (guest): (Judy) Having spent this time “talking” about prayer, I think that I would like to go and engage in some prayer now. Good night everyone! Have a blessed week and may you find His presence everywhere you go.

Jun 26 2016, 8:34 PM

Carol Ann: i’m always shocked at how fast this hour goes by

Jun 26 2016, 8:35 PM

Carol Ann: God bless us every one!

Jun 26 2016, 8:35 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: Good night! Trusting in your prayers this week, you are in mine.