Sunday, October 25, 2009

From Charismatic to Mystical Prayer

I am on Book Three of David Torkington's Trilogy.

Book One introduced me to prayer. I learned that even priests needed to exercise their prayer muscles. The author shared a simple but powerful prayer based on the Our Father, which I should have written somewhere in one of my journals.

Book Two started out slowly but turned out to be exciting. To use that word, "exciting", in a book on prayer is probably strange for some, but that was exactly how I felt. The author captured my very doubts and needs about prayer, and answered, albeit not directly, why my prayer life had taken all those twists and turns. It reminded me that I had to be patient in waiting for what was in store in this spiraling journey to deeper prayer.

Last Friday, I got hold of Book Three. The title itself is very interesting. "The Mystic: From Charismatic to Mystical Prayer".

It took me two years to finish the first two books so I do not expect to finish the third one any faster. These books are meant to be meditated on and savored. I am looking forward to the discoveries waiting to be unraveled in this book.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Decoding My Prayer Life

From "The Prophet: The Inner Meaning of Prayer" by David Torkington. Not an easy read, but definitely worth it for those who are searching for something more in their prayer life.

When a beginner is passing through his first fervor, everything seems easy. Prayer is full of sweetness and light, and so it is often helpful to impose some physical mortification with moderation, such as fasting, so that their empty stomachs can remind their arrogant minds of their human weakness, that their early success in prayer can easily make them forget. When a person is languishing in a spiritual desert, as you will soon find out for yourself, there's more than enough dying to be done without insisting on further self-imposed mortifications that can easily break the camel's back long before the next oasis comes into view.

When the spiritual traveler finally comes to settle in the promised land, he has such an abundance of everything that he desires, that he must needs express his gratitude in the language of true love which is sacrifice. Beginners always make the mistake of trying to copy the great ascetical practices of the saints: their heroic virtue, their self-denial, their almost super-human love towards others, without realizing that all this is but the outward expression of a love that fires them from within.

x x x

Here is the principle. Don't give up anything you like or enjoy, save sin - except in so far as it prevents you from having consistent quality time each day for prayer, for it is there that you will learn how to open your heart to the love that will eventually enable you to do all, and everything, that is quite impossible without it. Don't let your youthful enthusiasm kid you into believing that it is all too easy. When love begins to purify the dross that is within you, you'll suddenly find that it is all too difficult. (From pp. 93-94.)

Readers of this blog since 2003 might see shades of the spiritual journey described briefly above in my posts. As a young, radically renewed Catholic, I jumped into things with so much passion and fervor. I reached a point, however, of recognizing that I was trying too hard, that perhaps God was not asking all that I had given up from me. I am slowly moving in my spiritual travel towards a quieter, less activity-centered expression of faith, and I am grateful for the resultant intimacy in my relationship with God.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

You Are Anxious and Worried About Many Things

This is the Gospel reading for today. It spoke to me. Sharing it with all of you.

Lk 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

Friday, October 02, 2009

Jesus Calms the Storm

We Filipinos need no other reminder than this. When the Lord commanded the wind to cease, it obeyed Him.

He can and will calm Pepeng and other storms for us. We just need to put our faith in Him!

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”

36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.

37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.

38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41)