The mountain. What does this mountain signify? If we read the Gospel, we find various meanings. The mountain is, above all, the place where Jesus prayed, the place where he was alone with the Father. The mountain is his word.

To go to the mountain of Jesus means, then, to wander on the majestic mountain of his words.

Joseph Ratzinger, Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year, ed. Irene Grassl, trans. Mary Frances McCarthy and Lothar Krauth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992), page 316.

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Where is your mountain? The place you go to to get away from the noise and business of the world and be alone with God.
How often do you go there? Once in a while, rarely, or on a regular basis?

I live in the Archdiocese of Detroit, there are no mountains anywhere near me. I suspect this is true for most people. So where shall we go?
To pray in an Adoration Chapel or Church, before the Most Blessed Sacrament is the highest mountain we could hope to climb. Praying before the Real Presence of Jesus is to be present with Him, in a way that is not possible anywhere else.

On days when this is not possible, some other place or time would be fine to encounter Jesus. I prefer the early morning, 5:30 am. At that time the house is quiet and still, as is the neighborhood and even the city. Find your place, your time and pray to Jesus on your mountain.

My picture above is from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, North Carolina.

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PadrePio

My wife and I went to the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan today, to venerate the relics of St. Padre Pio. It was a grace-filled experience.  In honor of this event, I have a passage from the book “Praying the Psalms with St. Padre Pio” by Eileen Dunn Bertanzetti

“The most afflicted souls are those who are closest to the divine Heart. And you can be sure that Jesus has chosen your soul as that which is most dear to His adorable Heart. You must hide yourself in this Heart; you must pour out your most ardent desires there, and in this Heart, you must still live those remaining days which Providence grants you; you must die in this Heart when the Lord wishes.

Without fully understanding it you are hidden in this Heart. …In this Heart you are, you live, and you move.”

 

For my review of this book, please see the following link:

https://stagesofprayer.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/praying-the-psalms-with-st-padre-pio/

Our human life is spent looking at the outside of things. It is rare we look inside things.

As part of our spirituality, we need to look inside ourselves. We need to try and look at our immortal soul. So how do we “see” something that is the invisible soul? An examination of conscience. This is typically done before receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation but can be done on a daily basis also.

“Conscience is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths”.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1776, quoting “Gaudium et spes” paragraph 16)

In an examination of our conscience we pray and ask Jesus to help us see the state of our soul; it is ugly from vice/sin, or beautiful with virtue/holiness?

 

Note: I took these photos, photography is one of my hobbies.  To see all the pictures of these orchids see the following link https://goo.gl/photos/vXFCWHtKtB157tf39

August 15, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I completed reading the entire Bible on Pentecost Sunday, 2011. Since that time I have been studying and teaching the Bible, and there are certain verses in which God speaks to me.  I highlight these verses in yellow in my Bible and re-read them, pray with them and contemplate them.  I also try to memorize them.  The following ten verses speak to me about a vocation.

  • Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?  And who shall stand in his holy place?   Psalm 24:3
  • And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
  • Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,   and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:4–5
  • And he (Jesus) said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Matthew 4:19
  • As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.  Matthew 9:9
  • Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  Matthew 16:24
  • Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you;  Matthew 28:19–20
  • If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.  John 12:26
  • And he (Jesus) said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Luke 10:2
  • Philip went down to a city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ.  Acts 8:5

I have some personal news to share: I have been accepted by the Archdiocese of Detroit into the first year of Deacon formation.  I return to Sacred Heart Major Seminary for classes in a few weeks. It is important to note, that after each year of formation the Archdiocese Deacon Formation Team will review and evaluate whether I should continue into the next year of formation.

My purpose in this blog has never been to write about myself, but to write about a life of prayer.  The ten verses above are not just for a man discerning a vocation to Holy Orders as a Priest or a Deacon.  All Christians are called to a vocation, to serve Jesus and His church, with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that have been uniquely given to each of us.  So all of us need to pray and discern what that vocation is: marriage, single life, religious life, Priest or Deacon.  Our prayer of discernment should also help us find who we are called to serve: the homeless, the poor, the sick, the dying, the disabled, the elderly, the young, the unborn, the addicted, the physically hungry or the spiritually hungry.  All of us are called to a vocation as disciples of Jesus Christ.

I have a vocation prayer to share, it is a simple summary of the ten Bible verses above:

Jesus calls me, I hear Him. Jesus leads me, I follow Him. Jesus is my King, I serve Him.

I have been leading/teaching Bible Study classes for my parish since 2011. My most recent class was St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.  It was an eight-week study and the last three of my talks were recorded.  The main purpose of this talk is to teach people how to pray by looking at how St. Paul prays.  

My talk notes are here:

And the youtube video is here. It is 30 minutes.

Are you struggling to find the words to pray? Not knowing what to say or how to say it?
Prayer is a part of our spirituality, it is part of our relationship with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Just start by saying hello “Good morning God, thank you for the new day.”, tell God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), that you love Him. Prayer can be that simple.

Second, ask God for help with your prayer (pray about your prayer). Dormant does not mean dead. No matter how long it has been since the last time you prayed, today is a good time to restart a life of prayer. Start with something simple “Jesus, I love you”.

A personal note: the same principles can be applied to my dormant (six months) blog. It is time for me to restart my writing.

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his mercy endures for ever! Psalm 106:1

 

In all my temptations, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In all my weakness, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In all my difficulties, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In all my trials, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In all my sorrows, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In all my work, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In every failure, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In every discouragement, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In life and in death, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In time and eternity, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Essential Catholic Prayer Book, Liguori Publications 1999,  page 87.
 sacred-heart-trust

In my weekly hospice ministry, I pray this a lot with/for patients.  While it is a prayer that brings an inner peace for those who are terminally ill and may have a few weeks to live, it is also a beautiful prayer to those who have a few decades (or more) yet to live.

In everything, I place my trust in you, O Sacred Heart of Jesus.
 (My short version of the prayer.)