The Prayer Process

In The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, Matthew Kelly addresses how a dynamic Catholic is identified. The dominant qualities are:
• PRAYER
• STUDY
• GENEROSITY
• EVANGELIZATION

The most dominant quality among Dynamic Catholics is a daily routine of prayer. He notes that when we are spiritually healthy, nothing bother us.

A daily routine refers to a specific time and a place to prayer. Dynamic Catholics have a routine within their routine. When they sit down to pray each day, they don’t just see what happens. They tend to begin their time in very specific ways: by reading the Bible, praying the morning prayers of the Church, reading from a favorite spiritual book, etc. Dynamic Catholics universally begin their day with some type of prayer, even if the main time they set aside for prayer is later in the day.

God speaks to us in the silence. Spending time in the classroom of silence is indispensable in our quest for spiritual growth. Most Catholics have never been taught how to develop a daily routine of prayer.

A Dynamic Catholic sees a connection between the joy and fulfillment in their lives and their efforts to walk with God and grow spiritually. At some point, Dynamic Catholics have become convinced that a life with prayer is better than a life without prayer.

If you want to start a regular prayer routine, you are encouraged to start with The Prayer Process:

GRATITUDE: Begin by thanking God in a personal dialogue for whatever you are most grateful today.

AWARENESS: Revisit the times in the past twenty-four hours when you were and were not the best-version-of-yourself. Talk to God about these situations and what you learned from them.

SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS: Identify something you experienced today and explore what God might be trying to say to you through that event (or person).

PEACE: Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed (against yourself, another person, or him) and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.

FREEDOM: Speak with God about how he is inviting you to change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be the-best-version-of-yourself.

OTHERS: Lift up to God anyone you feel called to pray for today, asking God to bless and guide them.

FINISH by praying the Our Father.

Stewards Find Hope in the Cross

Do you ever think about how you experience the cross of Jesus Christ? Do you ever think about the power of that cross in your daily life? Is the cross even relevant to your life? It is to stewards of the Lord, who recognize the hope Christ brings through the gift of his cross. They acknowledge that for them, the cross is their only hope.

Being good stewards of our life in Christ is not easy, but to embrace the cross is not only countercultural, it seems absurd. Then again, we cannot avoid what Jesus said to his disciples: “If you wish to come after me you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me. For if you wish to save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake you will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).

The cross is more readily embraced by people of faith who suffer, are poor, broken, or are the victims of such things as violence, oppression or natural disasters. They see the cross as the hope that no matter what has happened to them, God will see them through. The Father did it for Jesus who hung on the cross, so surely their sufferings will be redeemed by Jesus’ sufferings.

Where people possess much material abundance, comfort and leisure, how¬ever, there is a tendency to de-emphasize the cross, to draw away from it. They can’t touch it or feel it so they wish to “save” their lives by looking to other things: power, wealth, fame, relevance, being the center of attention. What is preached about the cross from the pulpit sounds good, but in reality something more tan-gible is desired.

Christ emptied himself completely in humble obedience, allowing himself to suffer and die out of compassion for the world (Philippians 2:6-11).

Good stewards follow his example and work day-to-day to empty themselves and live com-passionately; most noticeably by sharing their lives with others.

Just last week we experienced the Easter triduum, the climax of our liturgical year. As we continue in this Easter Season, let us ask the Holy Spirit for an even deeper awareness of the cross in our lives.

Let us find hope in the cross and pray that as we embrace it, we too will experience in a special way the joy of new life in the risen Lord.

The Experience of Easter

We are an Easter people. The joy of Easter is celebrated not only during the liturgical season we call Easter. It is celebrated every day of the year. The Mass is the Paschal Mystery, and every time it is celebrated, we participate in the sacrifice, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As St. Paul teaches, we die with Christ and rise with Him in the Holy Spirit. We are transformed into new creations. We are renewed.

Stewards of God’s abundant gifts hold dear the promise of renewal and pledge themselves to the work of reconciliation, healing and proclamation of the risen Lord. For Christian stewards, each day is a new dawn for living in the light of Christ. There is much about dying and rising with Christ that we do not know; much about the Paschal Mystery we do not understand. But stewards of God’s love are always open to learning more; to being called out of their ignorance and into the light of faith which comes with an ever-deeper understanding of its peace and joy.

Easter is a good time to reflect on how we experience the joy of Christ’s peace. It is also a time to ask ourselves how we can experience the gift of Easter each day of our lives.

On a personal note, I want to thank everyone who has been praying for my sister and brother-in-law, Sally & David Frey. They have been on the Prayer List, the intention of Masses, and on personal prayer lists as well.

Dave had been sick for 15 years, and critically ill for the last year. Two weeks ago my sister told me that they were bringing him home to die and she needed me with her. [I was gone from the office for 10 days, and I truly appreciate your patience and understanding.]

We prayed for God to be merciful and accept David into his loving care as quickly as possible. He passed away surrounded by his loving family just two hours after returning home.

I was so grateful that I was able to be there as a support for my sister and the extended family, but most of all for Dave.

I kept reminding myself and saying to the family that death is what we as Christians live for. It is through dying that we are born to eternal life. Dave is the lucky one. He has achieved his goal and now he is one of the angels in God’s presence.

It is fitting that this happened just before I had to prepare this Easter bulletin. I am reminded on this day that Jesus lived that he would die. During his time on earth he was fully present to those around him as he continues to be every day and especially when we celebrate the Eucharist.

I pray that each and every one of us keep this in our minds each and every day. We are born with unique gifts and talents that are intended to be shared with abundance as we prepare ourselves for Eternal Life.

Have a Blessed Easter!