‘Prayer’ Category Archives
by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, Prayer
In his first Christmas message as Pope, Pope Francis focussed his prayer on the Christian message of “Peace on Earth”:
“Prince of Peace, in every place, turn hearts aside from violence and inspire them to lay down arms and undertake the path of dialogue.
“Child of Bethlehem, touch the hearts of those engaged in human trafficking that they may realise the gravity of this crime against humanity.
“Grant that migrants in search of a dignified life may find acceptance and assistance. May tragedies like those witnessed this year with so many deaths at Lampedusa never occur again.
“Help and protect all the victims of natural disasters, especially the beloved people of the Philippines, gravely affected by the recent typhoon.”
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In addition, the Pope commented that peace “is not a balance of opposing forces . . . .
“Wars shatter and hurt so many lives . . . the many children who are kidnapped, wounded and killed in armed conflict . . . all those who are robbed of their childhood and forced to become soldiers.
“Peace calls for daily commitment starting from God’s gift from the grace which he has given us in Jesus Christ.
“I invite even non-believers to desire peace . . . a desire that widens the heart.
“Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace.
“Today I voice my hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God the Father, who has given us Jesus . . . .”
by Arnold Jago in Prayer
Help us to remember the birth of Jesus,
That we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds and the worship of the wise men.
Close the door to hate, and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings. Teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be your children and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts . . . forgiving and forgiven.
For Jesus’s sake
On the Friday corresponding to today in the year AD29 or 30 (approx.) a Jewish itinerant preacher was crucified at Jerusalem.
As a result, millions of us today attended liturgies, marched through streets and prayed a lot — and called it “Good Friday”.
That makes sense if this Jesus was, in fact, God incarnate.
If not, it’s more of an indulgence in nostalgia, wishful thinking etc.
* * *
Was Jesus God?
Can such a thing be proved?
What kind of evidence “proves” anything?
Can you prove that the earth goes round the sun?
Few people have the expertise to do so.
The rest of us believe because impressive people say it does — second-hand evidence at best.
But it satisfies us that the earth almost certainly does go round the sun. (The experts only know it second-hand, too, if you think about it.)
There’s second-hand evidence that Jesus died and rose again. Those best placed to know whether it was true continued saying it was despite knowing they’d killed if they persisted.
* * *
There’s a comfortable world out there based on capitalism, media brainwashing and celebrity-worship — which is threatened by the existence of a unique Christian religion.
If all religions are equal, that’s acceptable. All equally true means all equally false – i.e. equally irrelevant.
But Christ didn’t do equality.
“No man comes to God except through me,” he said.
Meaning what exactly?
You must decide that for yourself.
But it certainly means that those who need to dominate your mind and that of your children need the Christian faith to disappear.
It won’t disappear while people think seriously about Christ and his death and resurrection.
On Christmas Eve I attended a church that most Sundays is lucky to be half full.
On Monday it was standing room only – with two more Masses that day still to come.
Special occasions can bring out faith which at other times wavers.
* * *
A man came to Jesus saying: “Master, my son is possessed by a devil which seizes him, making him foam at the mouth and fall to the ground. I asked your disciples to drive it out but they could not.”
Jesus answered, “O unbelieving generation, how long must I bear with you? Bring him to me.”
Immediately the spirit threw the boy down and he rolled about foaming.
The father said, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible.”
With tears, the father replied: “Lord, I do believe: help my unbelief.”
Jesus took him by the hand, lifted him and he stood up.
Later the disciples asked: “Why could not we cast it out?”
Jesus said: “This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”
(Saint Mark’s Gospel)
* * *
It seems Jesus had no problem with shaky faith — but disliked failure of self-discipline in those claiming to be true disciples.
Composer, John Rutter, recently said, “When I take a sacred text, I believe every syllable of it while I am setting it to music . . . when I have finished I go back to being agnostic . . . .” (Limelight magazine, January 2013)
Sad . . . but are we not all a bit the same? May God strengthen us.
May our Christmas faith (or almost faith) grow and develop in the coming New Year.
by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, God, Happiness, Modern Church, Prayer
Words from Psalm 118 form part of the Sunday morning (Prime) meditation for Catholics using the Divine Office prayers:
“I have been delighted in the way of thy testimonies, as in all riches.
“I will meditate on thy commandments: and I will consider thy ways . . . .
“I have run the way of thy commandments, when thou didst enlarge my heart.”
* * *
The Psalm-writer says he is “delighted” by the commandments.
How come, then, that those of us who consider ourselves God’s friends too often are less-than-delighted about obeying them.
With friends like us, God hardly needs enemies.
Our problem is our shrunken hearts – aspiring to nothing better than money, popularity, comfort and stress-avoidance.
God wants to move into our hearts.
They will need enlarging all right.
God will achieve that the moment we decide we really want to share in his nature – and are prepared to pay the price.
The price is obedience.
by Arnold Jago in Faith, God, Prayer, Sacraments
When somebody’s actions are deemed to insult the Prophet Mohammed or Allah, there follow threats of beheadings etc.
Without doubt it’s a serious fault to mock or belittle other people’s beliefs.
But does God need our homicides to defend his greatness?
Muslims would answer, Yes.
Christians would answer, No.
In truth, Islam and Christianity have virtually nothing in common — this being but one example.
* * *
The Supreme Beings to which the two give allegiance are diametric opposites.
From a Christian point of view, Allah seems not a god at all.
(1) At worship Muslims kneel, using words of prayer. They listen to words from a holy book. No statues, no ikons, no depictions of historical personages or events related to God having incarnated Himself.
2) When the words are finished, Muslims go home. For Christians, the words merely lead up to the climax which is an action — an action that God himself performs (through the agency of the priest) — a Sacrament. God himself makes himself personally, sacramentally, present. The believers share in the action, sharing (consuming) the Body and Blood of Christ.
3) Through the Sacraments, the Christian believer is granted a share in the divine life of God himself, the Divine Trinity. There is no such belief in Islam.