Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spirituality For Catholic Jedi, Part Five

We are exploring spirituality for Catholic
Jedi by examining three related themes:
First: What Is “The Spiritual Life?”
Second: What Is Prayer?
Third: How Should We Pray?
We continue with the Second Theme: What is prayer?

Our Lord Jesus calls you and me to abide in Him. He calls you and me to an intimate, personal relationship with Him. This relationship is a matter of experience.

By experience I do not mean a passing emotional state, but experience as a personal involvement.

The Lord calls you to experience Him, to experience a PERSONAL relationship with Him.

The Lord calls you not only to know about Him, but to know Him as a person.
  • The essential expression of our personal relationship with God is called prayer.
  • The essential activity that allows us to experience our personal relationship with God, is called prayer.
AND prayer is quite simple: Essentially, prayer is remaining in the Lord "unprotected," with no defenses, no masks, no disguises, no camouflage.

The Gospel Of Saint John points out that we share in God's own divine nature when we remain in Our Lord Jesus and His love --- like branches on a vine [John 15: 1-11]. Because, in fact, the Holy Spirit of Christ unites us to him.

As we hear in the First Letter Of John [1 John 4:13-15]: “By this we know that we are abiding in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His own Spirit. . . . Whoever confesses that Our Lord Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

The only begotten Son of God gives His Holy Spirit to human beings -- especially to those who are united with Him in faith. On THEM, He bestows all kinds of holiness:
  • He makes them relatives and sharers in His and the Father's nature;
  • He nourishes them with love;
  • He pours into them the knowledge of all virtue and goodness.
To enable us, to give us the ability to pray, Our Lord Jesus and the Father send us their Holy Spirit. And, through the Spirit, the Father and Son come to us and dwell in us -- as The Gospel According To John [John 14:23] says: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

This divine indwelling changes us: We exist in a new way, in the Holy Spirit:
  • We are enabled by the Spirit in us to know and love God in a personal way.
  • We call this new way of existing, “grace.”
Prayer is, above all, God’s grace, His gift.

My prayer, even though it is my own activity, is a gift from God by which I enter into an interpersonal relationship with Him:
  • A truly personal relationship in which I know and love God;
  • And a truly personal relationship in which I accept God's knowledge and love of me.

Praying is about dropping all the defensive camouflage and shields, to stand naked before God and remain in Him.

Be very cautious with too much reading about prayer, too much talking about prayer, too much thinking about prayer: Reading, talking or thinking too much about our praying can be used by our sinful human nature to shield us from the Lord, hide us from Him, make us partially present to Him! Prayer calls for our TOTAL presence to the Lord, that He may take possession of us. And He will!

The purpose of prayer, the reason you and I even exist: is to stand exposed before God and remain standing before Him. But we have to WANT to stand before God -- we have to want it with an overpowering desire.

So . . . do YOU want to stand surrendered before God? When you sit yourself down to pray, ask yourself: WHAT DO YOU WANT? If you want God to take possession of you, then you are praying. That is fundamentally what prayer is!

Prayer is not always easy. But it is simple: If you desire to stand surrendered before God, then stand there; absolutely nothing else is needed.

Praying is simply abiding in the Lord -- being poor, with no defenses, and with a willingness to be trimmed clean to bear more fruit.

To Be Continued . . .

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Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.