Full Contact Faith During Lent: Prayer

3 PIllars of Lent

This is part of a 3 part series on the 3 Pillars of Lent.  Read the parts on Fasting and Almsgiving for more ideas on how to make your faith Full Contact this Lent!




While it may seem sometimes that being a Catholic Christian is a passive, primarily mental activity, the reality is that being a follower of Christ is a full-time, full-contact sport.


As Father Sergius Halvorsen points out, St. Paul often uses sports imagery when speaking about what it means to be a true disciple of Christ.



He says that he does not run aimlessly, nor does he "box as one beating the air." Rather, he "pommels" his body and subdues it. (1 Cor 9:24-7)...[he] encourages us to "run with perseverance the race that is set before us" (Heb 12:1) because our goal is a heavenly prize.

St. Paul points out that athletes exercise self-control in all things in order to be victorious (1Cor 9:25).  If athletic discipline was obvious in St. Paul’s day, then it should be even more obvious in our culture with its preoccupation with professional sports.  The athlete cannot pigeonhole his or her athletic life.  One cannot eat junk food and sit on the couch throughout the off-season and expect to make the team. Similarly, Christ challenges us to follow Him three hundred sixty five days a year, which means that we lead a life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. 



Cardio Training: Prayer


In the same way that cardio-vascular exercise strengthens our physical heart, prayer strengthens our spiritual hearts. To pray means that we take time every day to intentionally still our minds and focus on the person of Jesus.  We listen to God speaking to us in the silence, or in His Word and we talk to him.  Just like with cardio workouts, the more time we spend in prayer strenghtening our spiritual hearts, the easier it becomes to have longer sessions with greater intensity.


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Prayer opens our hearts and minds to the love of God, and allows us to be filled with the grace which God abundantly pours out upon us.


Epiphany Home Blessing

What is a blessing?


Blessing a home recognizes God's goodness in providing for us a home to live in, invites God to be present within our home, and dedicates our home to God. A blessing isn't a magic formula that makes our homes holy; our homes become holy because of how we act inside them. Rather, it asks for God's protection over the mind, body, and soul of those who live there. This kind of blessings bestows what the Church calls actual grace — the divine energy which the soul needs in the countless emergencies and difficulties of our daily struggle with the devil, sin, and our own fallen nature.* Having our home blessed helps draw us closer to God, to Whom it is dedicated; and acknowledges that our home does more than just benefit our bodies by providing the tangible things like warmth, heat, shelter, etc. A blessed home can benefit our souls as well.


Epiphany Home Blessing


The Feast of the Epiphany has, for centuries, been a traditional time for families to bless their homes. This tradition likely came about because the Three Wise Men visited the home that the Holy Family had established in Bethlehem (before the flight to Egypt - after which they settled in Nazareth). The visit from the Wise Men blessed the home of the Holy Family because they came in humility to honor and pay homage to the Christ Child and because they were the first to not only seek Jesus, but also to recognize Him as the Messiah. The Epiphany home blessing tradition has been more popular in Europe than in the US, but many American Catholics have taken up the practice as well.


Advent: Are you Unprepared to be Prepared?

A Season of Preparation, Holy Waiting, and Hopeful Anticipation

advent week 1


It's the First Sunday of Advent, but you wouldn't know it at our house. The wreath and calendar are still packed away in the basement. I have made no plans for what additions I will make to my prayer life for the next few weeks. Apart from the fantastic seasonal nail art I helped my 7 year old with last night, I have not even discussed the season of Advent with my children.


advent nail art
Advent nail art gives a whole new meaning to wearing your faith on your sleeve!

The wreath lighting at Mass this morning made me realize that I had procrastinated too long. Advent has started, and I'm not ready.


Then came this morning's social media onslaught. My news feeds were filled with blog posts, book reviews, youtube videos, and list after list of the best ways to enter into the season...


 

Praying with Children

Tip #1: Foster Your Own Prayer Life

prayingwithchildren


Life makes many demands on today's families and lives are often full and hectic. Finding the time for prayer can seem difficult - especially if you aren't sure where to begin or how to pray as a family. Praying and growing together as a family is a gift that will sustain each member of your family throughout the storms of this life and one that will prepare you all for the next life.


Tip #1:  Foster Your Own Prayer Life


From the newborn who sticks out her tongue after watching Mom do it, to the toddler who snags dad's phone and pretends to send a text, to the child who gathers his friends to play school, children learn best through imitation. It is no different with prayer.


Making time to foster your own prayer life and letting your children see you pray does more to teach them about the value of prayer than any book, DVD, or religion class lesson ever can...


 

What is Burning Hearts Disciples?

The Story Of How We Came To Be


My husband and I fell in love all over again.
This time we fell in love with Jesus and the richness, depth, and beauty of our Catholic faith.



Over the past few years, I discovered my life changing drastically.  Retirement, moving, becoming an empty-nester, and an abundant blessing of grandchildren brought change in my circumstances that caused changes in my faith life as well.   I started to become more aware of the questions I had about my faith and was confronted with questions from other Catholics and non-Catholics that I realized I could not answer.


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Grandmother discipleship means sharing the faith with all 9 of my little loves!

With much help from my husband, I started pouring myself into trying to find the answers.  The more I studied, the more I wanted to study. As a cradle Catholic, I was shocked and embarrassed at how much I didn't know. I was also grateful to discover how many good solid Catholic resources there were available to aid me in my learning. For example, my husband showed me how to listen to podcasts and download MP3's. This technology made it so easy to fit in the time for prayer and learning about my faith in our very busy lives.  Even better - many of these resources, like the podcasts, were free or nearly free.


The more I studied, the more my faith grew, and the more I fell in love with Jesus. I became very passionate and on fire with wanting to share this 'new love' with friends and family. I was convinced that if other Catholics could learn what I had, they too would be on fire for Jesus and the Catholic faith...

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