Friday, November 6, 2015

Time Alone with God: Indispensable Path to Man's Only Goal

https://carinyademaria.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/fra_angelico.jpg By Dr. Raul Nidoy

Discover a key secret on how ordinary people like you can become a saint. 

Download the one-page Executive Summary here. PDF here.





WHAT IS MENTAL PRAYER?  
Mental prayer is loving God by spending time alone with him. It is a heart-to-heart talk with God. It is a conversation with the person who loves us most. It is also called prayer with our own words, interior prayer, personal prayer, or quiet time with the Lord.
WHAT IS MAN’S ONLY GOAL?  
God.  Since he is love, he designed you to be one with him: to be a saint. In uniting yourself to him by loving him with all your heart, without reserve, as Jesus asked, you attain the highest possible happiness now.

WHY IS GOD IMPORTANT?
Because he is our Creator, the source of everything we are, everything we own, and all the good we do; our Sustainer, for without his conserving power we vanish; our Sole Satisfier, the only one who as Infinite Goodness and Beauty can satisfy all the longings of our heart. God is our End-goal and Purpose without whom our entire life will be meaningless.
Jesus, God the Son and our Savior, is the one real center of our life. He is not only important. He is the only thing important. All the rest of the “important things” (our family, relationships, virtue, career, health, possessions, leisure, etc.) get their importance on how much they lead us to him.  This is what Jesus told Martha who was concerned with many urgent and important things: “The one thing necessary” is to direct our whole heart to Jesus. He is the one Measure of the worth of everything, especially our lives. And not to be totally one with Jesus, not to be a saint, is in the end the only tragedy and failure.
WHY IS MENTAL PRAYER INDISPENSABLE TO REACH HOLINESS?
Because we become one with God only through love. And we grow in love only by allowing God to love us, to pour himself into us through the sacraments such as frequent confession and Mass, and through intimate dialogue with him. Since we were made from nothing, we can’t reach God without God. To go up an infinite distance, we need to be lifted by an infinite elevator. We are swept up to God, only if we are in close contact with God.
Thus, Jesus our model spent time alone with God as part of his routine. The saints who followed him taught: “Mental prayer is the breath of life for our soul. Holiness is impossible without it.” (St. Mother Teresa)  “All saints became saints through mental prayer.”(St. Alphonsus de Liguori)  Sanctity, said Benedict XVI, is "nothing other than to speak with God as a friend speaks with a friend, allowing God to work, the Only One who can really make the world both good and happy." Everyone, even children and the weakest sinners, can have a daily heart-to-heart talk with God, and so everyone can become a saint.
WHAT ARE THE BASIC ACTS OF MENTAL PRAYER?
Only two:         
1) Be aware of God’s presence. He is the living God, the majestic Owner of the universe and our loving Father, who is everywhere and is “more intimate to us than we are to ourselves” (St. Augustine)   
2) Love and be loved by him: direct your whole heart to God who is Love.  Simple.


WHAT PRINCIPLES SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT PRAYER?  

Pope Francis said: The most important subject we have to learn is love. And what is important in love is not loving, but allowing ourselves to be loved by God. 1st principle: The primacy of God’s action: What matters most in prayer is not what we do, but what God does in us. He is the source of all our activity, he sanctifies and heals us. He is fire who warms us even if we don’t do or feel anything special. So, just be there with him and allow him to love you. Look at his love, Jesus’ loving gaze, his eyes. “God loves us” is the summary of all the truths in the world. God’s love is the center of all. Just allow God to act. 2nd principle: Primacy of love above everything. Prayer is not a matter of studying and thinking at lot, but about loving a lot. And true love means receiving God’s love: "In this is love, not that we loved God, but he loved us first." (1 Jn 4:10) We have to shift from (a) wanting to be the center through our activity to (b) putting God in the center, his rightful place. We accept the fact that we came from nothing and are full of defects, and allow God to pour himself to us.  A prayer focused on loving and trusting, and nothing else, might be less grand in our sight, but is better in God’s.  3rd principle: God loves us and gives himself to us through Jesus’ humanity. Contemplating all the details and words in Jesus’ life story in the Gospels is a key 
HOW LONG SHOULD MENTAL PRAYER BE?  
Start with 5 to 10 minutes a day. Since you won’t get to know anyone within such a limited amount of time, the bare minimum is 15 minutes daily which you have to build up over time. “One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord.” (CCC 2710) To say “I don’t have time” is to prefer created activities over their very origin and purpose, the one End-Goal of all activities. When we are with God, we arrive and rest on The Goal; he gives us the big picture and multiplies our time.

HOW ELSE CAN I LOVE GOD IN PRAYER?

Listen to what God says and discuss it with him. Aside from what we hear in our conscience, we listen to God when we read and reflect on (1) his Word, the Bible, especially the Gospels where we see Jesus act;   (2) the teachings and liturgy of his Church, his Body; and (3) the writings of his saints. Many saints always had a spiritual book handy for prayer.  

Share your thoughts and the events of your day. Talk to God about “yourself—joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions—and Love and reparation. In a word, getting to know him and getting to know yourself—‘to get acquainted!’” (St. Josemaria)  When you meditate on the Bible stories about Jesus, imagine yourself present there and apply them to your daily life. 

Call Jesus by name and call God “Daddy.” A simple way to pray, called the Jesus Prayer, is to keep on repeating the name “Jesus”, or the phrase “Jesus, I love you.” You can use the name Jesus uses to call God: “Daddy.”

Do the acts of prayer. A-adoration, C-contrition, T-thanksgiving, S-supplication. Pattern your desires after Jesus’ “Our Father”, the most perfect prayer which has seven perfectly ordered petitions.

Discuss with God how you can improve your relationship and your daily life. God will inspire you to be a better child of God, member of your family, worker and member of society. Formulate specific steps and make a firm commitment to put them into action.

Remember: “Prayer is not about this or that: it is about God’s desire to give us the gift of Himself, the gift of gifts.” (Benedict XVI) How could we “be centered on the gifts rather than the Giver?” (CCC 2740)


HOW CAN I FIRE UP AND SUSTAIN MY PRAYER?
Internalize the deepest truths about prayer, God and yourself.      
This means living in reality, not in a fantasy world of our own making

(a) Most important of all is to receive God’s love. True love of total self-giving is the bottom-line of life and of prayer. And since God’s infinite power is the source of all of ours, love is a matter of allowing God’s love to fill us. So our main task is to receive God: his caress, his mercy, his fire, his wisdom, and his liberating will. Our prayer has greater value when we humble, entrust, abandon, and submit ourselves to God’s action and truth. The basic attitude of the greatest saint, Mary, is: Be it done. Ask like a child for this attitude and you will receive.                                                                                         
 (b) The greatest in the Kingdom are the littlest children. Mary was favored by God for he loved her “lowliness”. “God resists the proud and gives his grace to the humble,” those who know their weakness and trusts God as his littlest child.                                                                         

 (c) We live as we pray. The quality of our life depends on the quality of our prayer. To have the best quality of life, offer the best quality prayer.                    

(d) We pray as we live. If we don’t have a sincere desire to love God with all our heart as he commanded, our prayer will fall into a rut. However, if we truly direct our whole heart, mind and strength to God the whole day –struggling to do his will in our ordinary life and material setting—God will give himself to us.                                       
                              
Do it at a fixed time at the best time.  Love is commitment to give the best.  For love is willing the good of the other, not feelings that come and go.  
Never give up. Love is fidelity. “Be loyal and you will end up madly in love with God.” (Bl. Alvaro)
If you can, pray in front of the Eucharist. It is where Jesus’ living body is.  
Get a coach. To be a real athlete requires a coach. How much more the most important quest of our life? The Christian life is a battle – against the devil, sin, our evil urges. A spiritual director will guide us and pray for us.
HOW DO I BATTLE THE 3 Ds? 
In all battles, the first step is ask God for his omnipotent help.
(1) Distractions. Talk to God about the events or people that cross your mind. If distractions are persistent, check whether these matters have become higher priorities for you than God. If so, ask God to purify your heart of attachment to creatures. “Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.”
(2) Dryness. We pray to please God; not to please ourselves. Praying without emotional thrills transform us into a grain of wheat which dies, bearing much fruit.  Faithful prayer no matter how distracted and dry is more meritorious and fruitful than fervent prayer done only when we feel good. (See Jacques Philippe) If dryness is due to a heart entangled in sin, the battle requires a plea for conversion and the confession of our faults.
(3) Discouragement.  Repeated falls should remind us that the sick, not the healthy, need a physician. Be patient and trust God to take you up to a higher level of childlike humility each time you are deeply sorry and begin anew. (CCC 2729; 2731; 2737)  
HOW DO I START?
“Put yourself in the presence of God, and as soon as you have said, 'Lord, I don't know how to pray!' you can be sure you've already begun.” (St. Josemaria)

This article integrates the key ideas from Jacques Philippe’s Time for God and the Wikipedia article on Mental Prayer that I wrote in 2007 as Marax

Download the one-page Executive Summary herePDF here.

These one-page leaflets have started going viral around the world. One leaflet was posted in the website of the Archdiocese of Westminster in London ("The Mother Church of England"), in the Corpus Christi Parish in Canada,  in Kenya and in Macau. To get the full collection, please visit see this: One Page Leaflets for New Evangelization Starting to Go Viral!

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