Saturday, November 30, 2013

Does Yoga Help Meditation?

The truth is that yoga is a system of Hindu philosophy which includes strict spiritual discipline, body harmony and the releasing of self-healing, energies to gain control over the forces of one's own being to attain union with the deity or the universal spirit. Mind-emptying techniques are not Christian prayer. This  type of prayer makes no sense in Christianity. There are also dangers involved in going into altered levels of consciousness.

The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in other religions.She has sincere respect for their rules and teachings. However, she proclaims and must ever proclaim Christ, 'the way, the truth,and the life', in whom God has revealed himself, and in whom men find the fullness of religious life.

As Christians, we are not to practice non- Christian religions or mix in with ours (syncretism). When we practice syncretism, the line between truth and error becomes blurred. the pleasant experiences that result from these techniques can gradually start to replace the sacraments, and a person can loose sight of God as creator and Savior. The Lord loves people of all faiths. However, he wants us, as Christians, to look for opportunities to bring them to the True Faith.

The Vatican has released a document: "Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water and Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age." which specifically identifies the following as New Age movements: Zen,Yoga, Enneagram, Wicca, the Higher Self, the True Self, ALC's, the "god within" and TM (Trascendental Meditation). Many of these beliefs or practices have made their way into personality development programs and workshops. Catholics attend these events trusting them to be good programs, However, the Vatican document states that these new age beliefs and  practices cannot be accepted by those who are faithful to Christ and his Church. They contain grave error, and their beliefs are contrary to the Catholic faith.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

(1) How is Christian meditation practiced? (2) How is it different from other kinds of meditation?

(1) Christian meditation which is integral to spiritual growth consists of a rational examination of God's truths, commands, mysteries or events from Holy Scriptures. Cristian meditation is intent upon God and his Word; not as means to an end, but as an end in itself. Always to be with God in one's thoughts, to be in a state of constant prayer (meditation) is the kind of prayer which the saints were perfect in. "Happy the man who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night" ( Psalm 1:1-2).

(2) Occult meditation is a relaxation of the mind and senses. Its goal is an opened and emptied mind which gazes at nothing and waits for what it doesn't know. It strives towards philosophical enquiry and realization of oneness with the universe and God. The one who actively practices such meditation claims to be above desires or attachments to possessions. The Christians, on the other hand, in his meditation is mentally active and thoughtful, yet, striving towards peace and intimacy with the triune God. The psalmist captures this perfectly: "I will meditate on your precepts, and consider your ways. Make me understand the ways of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds. I have more understanding than all my teachers when your decrees are my meditation" (Psalm 119:15,27,99). The Christian, through prayer and meditation can better handle anxieties, trials and temptation.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Does the church have an approved means of meditation that can we use?

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola which is a program of meditations, prayers, considerations, and contemplative practices can help Catholics become more fully alive in their faith. The Ignatian method of prayer uses visual imagination to draw nearer to God. These Exercises are divided into segments which focus upon a different theme-human sin; Christ's death on the cross; and Christ's risen life. A key theme throughout the Spiritual Exercises is discernment and the need to discern between good desires and evil desires in one's life.
Add caption

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Does the Church have an approved means of meditation that we can use?

The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola which is a program of meditations, prayers,considerations, and contemplative practices can help Catholics become more fully alive in their faith. The Ignatian method of prayer uses visual imagination to draw nearer to God.
 These exercise are divided into segments which focus upon a different theme - human sin; Christ's life on earth, Christ's death on the cross and Christ risen life. A key theme throughout the Spiritual Exercises is discernment and the need to discern good desires and evil desires in one's life.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How is Personal Prayer Important for Spiritual Growth?

St Paul urges us to "pray constantly" (1Thes 5:17), but to make progress we must- first, foremost and always - set aside regular private time for personal prayer. Every spiritual master in the history of the Church has taught that holiness begins and ends in personal prayer - even if we participate in public liturgies or other group prayer - we will never draw close enough to the Lord.
Private, personal prayer is the way we open ourselves to grace by unmasking our hidden nature and revealing our true selves to God. In silent prayer we grow in faith. We are transformed.
 In this context, I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture
accomspanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with openness of heart.The ultimate goal of personal prayer is mystical union with God.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Should Prayer Follow a Pattern?

Prayer needs silence - not so much an absence of sounds, but an inner silence in which all worries and mental distraction are quelled and the soul finds a sense of peace. Also, if we are to do justice to prayer, it is better to follow a pattern or a discipline for praying, however we must guard against the pattern becoming routine, rigid , monotonous and meaningless.

Normally we should begin our prayer with an Act of Humility, for it is fitting that when about to converse with God,we should recall what we are.

After this Act of Humility, we should read a few lines from the Bible and meditate on them, then make a profound and prolonged act of faith in some fundamental truth or other: God: his perfections, his goodness, or Christ: the mysteries of his life, his passion, his glory, or again our Christian duties, our vocation - the duties of our state to be accomplished with ever greater holiness, our last end; and sin.

This gaze of faith on the truth and the goodness of God gives spontaneous rise to an Act of Hope. The soul desires beatitude,eternal life, the peace promised by the heavenly Father to those who follow Jesus Christ.

The Act of Hope, in its turn, disposes us to an Act of Charity. Our prayer for others is very often efficacious.

The souls in purgatory are waiting for our prayers.
We should also pray for hardened sinners and intercede for all who need our prayers. In this culminating point of prayer  the knowledge of faith, the love of  hope, and that of charity tend, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to fuse in a gaze of faithful and generous love,which is the beginning of contemplation.

 Gradually it introduces us into the intimacy of Christ, the intimacy of love. Nothing can better correct our defects of character, give us a lively desire to resemble him who said to us: "Learn from Me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your soul." Prayer thus made renders our hearts more and more like the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for one imitates, even without being aware of it, those whom one loves truly and deeply.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Why is Family Prayer Impotant?

The importance of family prayer cannot be underestimated. Only by praying with their children can a father and a mother implant a firm faith that will not die.The family is the "domestic church" where God's children learn to pray "as the Church" and to persevere in prayer. The Lord said, " For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt 18:20). The family that prays together invites Jesus in their midst.The presence of Jesus guarantees the efficacy of the prayer. By offering their joys and sorrows in prayer, the Lord grants them the grace to live with each other in charity and peace.They can bear with one another's weakness in patience and kindness by putting the well-bing of the others first. A family that prays together, stays together, especially in these challenging times. If you have not already developed the tradition of praying together, begin today.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What is "prayer in action?

 LOVE is prayer in action. Prayer is never an escape from direct involvement with the many needs and pains of our world. Prayer challenges us to be fully aware of the world in which we live and to present it with all its needs and pains to God.It is this compassionate action. Prayer and action go together. If prayer leads us into a deeper unity with the compassionate Christ, it will always blossom into concrete of service. And if concrete acts of service do, indeed, lead us into a deeper solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the dying,and the oppressed, these acts will always thrive with prayer. in prayer we meet Christ, and in him all human suffering. In service we meet people, and in them the suffering Christ. Mother Teresa was a woman of prayer and her prayer was expressed by the action of which we all are aware.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What is a "Holy Hour"?

The holy Hour is an hour (roughly sixty minutes) spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament - as we firmly believe in the real presence of the Lord there. The Holy Hour is the literal answer and positive response to the question of the suffering Jesus at the "Garden of Olives" (Gethsemane), a question addressed to St. Peter. "Aren't you capable of watching (staying awake) with Me for One Hour?" So the Church, fostered this devotion to Christ Present in the Blessed Sacrament, especially on Thursday evenings (to remember the Holy Thursday) and on the Holy Week Thursday. The Franciscan Fathers at Gethsemane celebrate the "Holy Hour" every Thursday evening with prayers, hymns, remaining awake with the suffering Jesus. (see also Hebrews 5:7)