Pope Benedict XVI on Configuration to Christ
Two things, above all, are asked of us: there is a need for an interior bond, a configuration to Christ, and at the same time there has to be a transcending of ourselves, a renunciation of what is simply our own, of the much-vaunted self-fulfilment. We need, I need, not to claim my life as my own, but to place it at the disposal of another – of Christ. I should be asking not what I stand to gain, but what I can give for him and so for others. Or to put it more specifically, this configuration to Christ, who came not to be served but to serve, who does not take, but rather gives – what form does it take in the often dramatic situation of the Church today? CHRISM MASS, HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI, Saint Peter's Basilica, Holy Thursday, 5 April 2012.
A theologian who does not love art, poetry, music and nature can be dangerous. Blindness and deafness toward the beautiful are not incidental; they necessarily are reflected in his theology. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report (p. 130)
God surrenders Himself to us on the altar, allowing Himself to be consumed. He asks us to surrender ourselves to Him on the altar of life.
I am saved (Eph 2:5–8), I am being saved (1Cor 1:8), and hope I will be saved (1Cor 3:12–15). I'm working out my salvation (Phil 2:12) with hopeful confidence in Christ (Rom 5:2).
Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.—Oscar Wilde.The Golden Manual: being a Guide to Catholic Devotion
A simple but powerful definition of prayer.
Prayer is, at root, simply paying attention to God (p. 121).
- That the rites may express clearer their orientation to God, to Heaven, to contemplation (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 2 and 8).
- That the sanctity of the texts and rites may be clearer expressed (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 21).
- That there should not be innovations, unless they are organically connected with the existing forms and unless they bring authentic spiritual utility (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 23).
An astonishing minimalism in gestures of adoration and reverence. Generally there is in the modern practice of Communion in hand almost an absence of every sign of adoration.
A gesture as one treats common food, that means: to pick up with one’s own fingers the Sacred Host from the palm of the left hand and put It by oneself in the mouth. A habitual practice of such a gesture causes in a not little number of the faithful, and especially of children and adolescents, the perception that under the Sacred Host there isn’t present the Divine Person of Christ, but rather a religious symbol, for they can treat the Sacred Host exteriorly in a way as they treat common food: touching with his own fingers and putting the food with the fingers in one’s own mouth.
A numerous loss of the fragments of the Sacred Host: the little fragments often fall down in the space between the minister and the communicant because of no use of Communion plate. Often the fragments of the Sacred Host stick to the palm and to the both fingers of the person who receives Communion and then fall down. All these numerous fragments are often lying on the floor and crushed under the feet of the people, even so they don’t notice the fragments.
An increasing stealing of the Sacred Hosts, because the manner to receive It directly with one’s own hand effectively facilitate very much the stealing.
There is, therefore, no room for doubt that all the faithful of Christ may, in accordance with a custom always received in the Catholic Church, give to this most holy sacrament in veneration the worship of latria, which is due to the true God. Neither is it to be less adored for the reason that it was instituted by Christ the Lord in order to be received. For we believe that in it the same God is present of whom the eternal Father, when introducing Him into the world, says: And let all the angels of God adore him (Heb 1:6).
- The truth about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic mystery was deeper penetrated by the Church (cf. ibid.).
- The urgency of a greater exterior reverence (cf. ibid.).
- The feeling of humility towards this Sacrament on behalf of who receives It (cf. ibid.).
- It is about a tradition of many centuries (cf. ibid.).
- It guarantees in a more efficacious manner the solemnity and dignity of the moment of the distribution of Communion (cf. ibid.).
- It prevents in a more efficacious manner from the danger of profanation of the sacred species (cf. ibid.).
- By the traditional manner is retained in a more diligent way the care of the Church that no fragment of the consecrated bread might be lost (cf. ibid.).
- The diminishing of the reverence towards the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar (cf. ibid.).
- The profanations of the same Sacrament (cf. ibid.).
- The alteration of the right doctrine and the Eucharistic faith (cf. ibid.).
- the danger of the defect of reverence,
- the insinuation of wrong opinions about the Holy Eucharist,
- other improper things.
Lectio Divina [divine, or sacred, reading] is the name given to a spiritual tradition among Christians over the last two thousand years, in which they attentively and prayerfully read the word of God.Although there is an element of study in Lectio Divina, it is not the same as Bible Study, or exegesis, where one seeks to interpret the sacred text through analysis, and with the help of the work of scripture scholars. In Lectio Divina we seek not to master or grasp the sacred text, but rather through it, prayerfully and silently, to come into the presence of God. We seek to be humbly attentive to God’s Holy Word, to savour it, and to let it enter into our heart as much as our heads, so that it may transform us.One approach to Lectio Divina is simply to move systematically though a book of the Bible, but it never involves worrying about “covering” a certain quantity of text: what matters more is the quality of our humble attentiveness. We choose a small portion of the sacred text, and reflect prayerfully upon it.Lectio Divina is not intended to increase our intellectual knowledge of the Bible [though it also has that effect]; instead, it is intended to draw us closer to God, and to transform our attitudes and behaviour.—Cardinal Collins.
Part Four: Christian PrayerSection One: Prayer in the Christian LifeChapter Three: The Life of PrayerArticle One: Expressions of Prayer
2712 Contemplative prayer is the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more. But he knows that the love he is returning is poured out by the Spirit in his heart, for everything is grace from God. Contemplative prayer is the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son.
2713 Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gift, a grace; it can be accepted only in humility and poverty. Contemplative prayer is a covenant relationship established by God within our hearts. Contemplative prayer is a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, "to his likeness."
"Christian prayer," says Cardinal Ratzinger, "flees from impersonal techniques or from concentrating on oneself, which can create a kind of rut, imprisoning the person praying in a spiritual pritvatism which is incapable of a free openness to the transcendent God." The person who comes to prayer looking for a psychological quick-fix may well never encounter God.—from an article at Catholic Culture.
Mother of Perpetual HelpContemplative intimacy does not come about by techniques — neither oriental nor occidental. Centering-prayer does not bring about contemplative prayer. It can’t; it’s a technique. Emptying the mind is just not the way to go. It’s abnormal to empty the mind; the mind is made to be filled. It’s only when we are really open to the Spirit, a deepening conversion and so on, that God begins to give the kind of communion with Himself that we cannot produce. When we get to prayer and are living with a deeper conversion, God begins to give us at prayer-time a loving awareness of Himself and that grows. It’s not something a technique can produce. No technique of any type can produce that. It has to be given by God and then received that is why it is called infused contemplation. When we are ready for it by deep conversion, He (the Holy Spirit) is given.—Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer, dvd, Disc 4, Segment 1.
O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on thee, for, in all my needs, in all my temptations I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary.
O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion fill my soul when I pronounce thy sacred name, or even only think of thee. I thank God for having given thee, for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely pronouncing thy name: let my love for thee prompt me ever to hail thee, Mother of Perpetual Help.
Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for me and grant me the favor I confidently ask of thee. Three Hail Marys
Prayer to The Sacred Heart
Glorious Heart of Jesus united to the Father and radiant with the love of the Holy Spirit, my heart yearns for Your sustaining grace. Make Your home, O Lord, within my own arid heart. Free my heart, most merciful Jesus, from every obstacle to Your blessing of peace. Cause it to beat only for You. Fill my soul, I humbly implore You, with a fervent desire to serve You in all things at all times. Purify my heart so that I may see You and enjoy the light of Your Presence now and for all eternity. O Sacred Heart of glory, fill my heart with the light of Your resurrection so that with hope and love born anew others may be attracted to Your light and be drawn into Your loving embrace. Amen.
Venerable Fulton Sheen
- The Rosary is the best therapy for these distraught, unhappy, fearful, and frustrated souls, precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of three powers: the physical, the vocal, and the spiritual, and in that order.
- Every person carries in his heart the blueprint of the one he loves.
- Love is a mutual self-giving which ends in self-recovery.
- Leisure is a form of silence, not noiselessness. It is the silence of contemplation such as occurs when we let our minds rest on a rosebud, a child at play, a Divine mystery, or a waterfall.
Additional Words of Wisdom
Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.—St. Augustine
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.—Ps. 37:5-6
Love God, serve God; everything is in that.—St. Clare of Assisi
Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.—St. John Damascene
For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.—St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Enjoy yourself as much as you like – if only you keep from sin.—St. John Bosco
No one heals himself by wounding another.—St. Ambrose
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ, by whose grace you are saved.—St. Paul, Letter to the Ephesians 2:4-5
The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.—St. Vincent de Paul
Prayer is, at root, simply paying attention to God.—Ralph Martin
The Most Blessed Sacrament is Christ made visible. The poor sick person is Christ again made visible.—St. Gerard Majella
When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.—Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.—St. Clare of Assisi
Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.—St. Francis of Assisi
The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.—St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)