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When Prayer Stops

Discussion in 'On prayer itself' started by padraig, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Sometimes older people repotedly come to priests in confession and seek for advice because, they say they can no longer pray. They try to say the roasry , for instcne but find that they get, 'lost'. For instance they say, 'Our Father' , or 'Hail Mary', but can go no further for once they satrt to think of God they get so wrapped up in this there prayer becomes simply being in the moment .

    The priests assure them that this too is prayer ,just a different form , this being the , 'Prayer of Quiet' , of Conetmeplative Prayer and whis mean that they are going forward in the spiritual journey, rather than ,as they thought, going backwards.

    (Not only older people experience this , but youngf people also may, people opf every age, but as it tends towards the latter point of the spiritual journey you might expect it in the first place in older people) .

    The problem here is rather like the beatings of the wing of the humming bird, who's wings beat so quickly that they do not see to be beating at all.

    Booklady, fallen saint and josephite like this.
  2. CrewDog

    CrewDog Guest

    I truly believe that The Lord does not care if you get some Prayer or devotion "Exactly Right" or at 6AM/3PM "on the dot". There are people here who think that those that add their own request inside the Hail Mary or Our Father is committing sacrilege or destroying the "White Magic" somehow. I'm guessing that The Lord just likes to hear from us as we go through our day.... in simple prayers, things and ways.

    fallen saint likes this.
  3. padraig

    padraig New Member

    When my mother died, Denis, I found a little prayer book she must have used for so many, many years. It was pretty battered and held together with tape. But it served her down the years. At her funeral a lady I did not know , who knew my mother since she was a child came up to me and siad with great force. 'Padraig I knew your mother form she was a child, she was a very,very good person, a;ways. She looked around at the corwn and went on to say that people always siad things like this at funerlas but that in my mothers case it was true, that even whenshe was small the other chidlren respected her as somene good.

    My mother told me a story that when she was married and began to have the first of her ten children she was concerned she had little time for prayer. But she went to a holy old priest in confession and the priest laughed and siad, #Your children are your prayer now' My mother said this was such a relief to her and she lived this.

    Everyone travels such different journeys, I think my mothers was a very simmple and direct road. Ahh those little old prayer books and rosaries! Highways to heaven!!

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  4. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I ama fraid my own prayer journey was not so simple and untroubled, it was rather like a grizzly bear cub whoe big daddy had to pick him up in his jaws and came him a very good old shaking from time to time, still does in fact. But bad old sinners like myself need a good shaking from time time to time. Does us good. :)
  5. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I had a dream last night which I think touches on all this. I dreamt I was a young man whose father had just died . I dreamt I had stayed with my father and mother all my life and been thier favourite (Just like Jospeh in the many coloured rain coat) and that although my brothers and sisters were angry and maybe a bit jealous of me and had loads of whom turth to tell me , none dared do so whilst my parents lived. However in my dream I was in a room with two of my brothers who told me they were about to tell me a lot of very,very harsh truths about myself that they could not while my father lived. They were both so very,very angry.

    But in my dream I was so innocent I did not even fear the coming big kick in the teeth, I was so innocent I couldn't even guess.

    To some extent you know I think prayer can be a little like that, of being picked up by daddy grizzly bear and given a good shake. For the Good God is not a pussy cat , he is not to be held on our laps and petted and cuddled. We have to let God of His leash at times and let him be the great good old grizzly bear He is. We have to trust when He picks us up in His great big jaws and gives us a good shaking He is doing it for His own good reasons and ours and that He will set us down safely back to Earth safely...errr..sooner or later.:D


  6. Booklady

    Booklady Archangels

    Everyone travels such different journeys, I think my mothers was a very simmple and direct road. Ahh those little old prayer books and rosaries! Highways to heaven!!

    What a beautiful thing to say, Padraig, but so true. We sometimes don't measure up to our "ideal" of what we should be, like St. Therese, for instance. We forget that we each have our own different journey that leads to our Lord, and be glad of that.

    Bless you.
    padraig likes this.
  7. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Thanks Booklady. The path of a married person is so different from a single one, their path to God. Most of our saints have been single up to now.

    Also this present world is so different from much that has gone before. We are reentering Paganism. A whoe new world.
  8. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

  9. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Imagine, if you will a word of complete perfection. Were there is no ill health , no poverty or money worries. Were are every problem is fixed for us as soon as it arises and our every wish catered for. But instead of a blessing such a world might well be a curse. For without challenge there is not growth. We in the rest for instance have made ourselves our own Gods , we seek to create our own perfections. We have dumped God because we no longer feel we need Him.

    Compare this situation to that of the Early Church who were slaves, the outcasts the lowest of the low who really did need God big time. If they were in any doubt of their need for God the great persecutions would have assured them of this.

    It is the same in our won personal Spiritual Lives. If the Holy Spirit left us to be we should quickly become spiritual couch potatoes and vegetate in still and sameness. We would move nowhere and rot in the spot victims of our own laziness.

    But the holy Spirit, praise is name is the most enthusiastic ass kicker and delights in knocking folks over to rise them up again. ..and is quite prepared to punch people on the nose over and over again to force momentum .
  10. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I remember a few years after my conversion having the wonderful time of it with my prayer life and one of the things I used to love to do was to count. I had said so many rosaries each day, taking so many minutes. I spent so many hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament . I had my little pile of book for devotions and I especially loved the ones such as those with promises . So I could count up how many souls I had got out of purgatory. etc. I was in a way Mr Superhero devout Catholic. It was as if my soul were a garden tended in perfect weed free well counted rows. A huge success story. Hat was until the Holy Spirit showed up and wrecked burnt, flooded and destroyed the whole lovely lot and cast me out to walk in the desert.

    Don't get me wrong I look back down the years at that period with a real affection and joy. But if the Holy Spirit had not kicked over the sand castle I suppose I'd still be there in the same place counting up by daily rosaries.:)
    Jackie and Mario like this.
  11. Mario

    Mario Powers

    And just when you thought you were doing so well, Padraig. :rolleyes: As the Little Flower once wrote:

    . In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself (CCC 2011).

    And from the Gospel of Mark:

    1: 12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.
  12. padraig

    padraig New Member

    It all reminds me of a building site, Terry. The bigger the building the deeper the foundations need to be. So if God wants to build He has to build a bigger hole in the grund of our hearts and in order fro a new building to be built the old ones have to be brought down.

    One thing I have always loved about our Catholic Faith is our deep understanding of mysticism of the systematic study of the growth of holiness. Our Protestant sisters and brothers for instance don't really have this (on the whole) . I think it must be hard for someone experiencing some events in their spiritual lives to have no reference points at all , no one to turn to at all. But the key thing to remember in all this is that when everything is taken from us it is a superb preparation for God to give everything to us.

    St Thomas Moore was such a good example of this. A genius class brain. The top job in the country as Chancellor. A loving family. Riches. Famous. Even a deep love for the Church.

    But there was about St Thomas at this period a certain hardness, though he was very devout and honest. For instance he openly rejoiced when Protestants were burnt and executed as heretics,.. The change in Thomas came when he lost everything he had and was thorn in prison. It was only when he was broken and hung upon the Cross of martyrdom , emptied that God could come in and fill him. Very touchingly it was so very,very clear how much he loved life and wished to live.

    It is the same with us in the Great Darkness that has fallen upon us. We are all of us to be deeply tested by this, but like St Thomas we are, all of us called to be great saints, even if in our heart of hearts we may not want to be saints if the price is so high.
  13. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Either we see ourselves in the mirror of God's truth in this life or in the life to come.

    Much better the great pain of facing this in this life for if we are to do so in the world to come we will do so engulfed in the flames of Purgatory.
  14. Mario

    Mario Powers

    I believe you are right in this, Padraig, for the Holy Spirit desires our hearts to be unstained, pure, polished, and turned only toward the Lord, so as to perfectly reflect His refulgent glory!

    There is much crud in my soul that still needs to be dealt with!:eek:

    Like brass candlesticks on the altar that are in need of much polishing prior to the Holy Sacrifice- may Mary prepare us and make us presentable to Jesus!(y)

    Safe in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary!
    PotatoSack likes this.
  15. padraig

    padraig New Member

    You are greatly blessed in understanding your need for forgiveness Terry. Did you ever notice in the Liturgy as mass the Church leads us to asks for forgiveness ? I tried to count one time but quickly lost count as it is over and over and over again. . One thing I do know that it is quite one thing to say the words and yet quite another to even begin to enter the full realization. It seems to be an endless see, this self knowledge of sin. Hardest of all being the shock to the system of being shown things we never even knew existed. It reminds me of entering a cold sea . Very, very bracing. Yet there is a rich joy to it , far, far, far better to know than not to. A pearl beyond price. A source of joy at the end of it all. But very humbling.

    I would say this humbling is one of the very greatest marks of a true prayer journey. On the other hand a lack of true self knowledge is one of the surest sings of lack of prayer.

    I remember one psychiatrist commenting that sometimes his patients screamed in pain in discovering some of the things inside them. I can very well believe it. Freud comments that the end point of analysis is, 'To share in the generalized unhappiness'. The spiritual journey is much , much deeper than this but one could say that our journeys end is to share in the general joy of heaven, a much better prospect.

    The greatest fruit of this inner journey is a deep graining of humility which is so rare and precious.

    May the dear God always burn our poor souls with the fire of His truth.
    Mario likes this.
  16. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I don't mean to be off putting to people in pray but if there is not or has not been pain even great, great pain in the prayer path I would tend to question its authenticity. In other religions ,such as the East they tend to talk of burying or loosing pain. Not so on the true path were the Cross is buried up to the hilt in the heart.

    The Cross is always. always, always at the centre of everything. The paradox being that this Cross is the very source of all our joy.
    josephite and Mario like this.
  17. Mario

    Mario Powers

    It is interesting that you bring up Thomas More. I'm currently reading an examination of his life entitled, A Portrait of Courage, by Gerard B. Wegemer. The foundation on which More built was an impeccable life of integrity, which was publicly known. Add to that Thomas' wisdom in remaining silent concerning Henry VII demand to be acknowledged as head of the Church of England, along with his sense of humor, and you have the making of a great saint. And finally, as you noted, came the softening of his heart through the crucible of imprisonment.

    As much as I love Mary and the Little Flower, it is wonderful to have documented proof of a saint who was a man's man. St. Thomas More, pray for us!

    Safe in the Flames of the Sacred Heart!
    padraig likes this.
  18. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think what I like best about St Thomas is his warm humanity, his ordinariness if you like. Sometimes with others this does not comes across so well. So very much a family man. So much of our time too in that he died defending the Sanctity of marriage. As did many others.

    It was his response to God given circumstances that made him a saint. Rather like Mother Teresa when she too responded to a specific call to walk into the slums of Calcutta.

    I wonder how many people who might have ee great saints simply refused to open the doors of our hearts. When Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts may we not be found wanting
  19. Light

    Light Angels


    One of the Christian Praise & Worship" songs that is implanted into my brain is

    The chorus line " I'll never know how much it costs, to see my sin upon that Cross" and I reckoned, I would try to better appreciate that awful cost. Even if I know a smidgen more than I did before, I will never know the enormity of the cost. How can a finite mind know?

    God Bless
  20. padraig

    padraig New Member

    'I never know how much it cost!'

    How true. At night times when I awake I go in prayer to the Passion, nearly always to the Garden of Gathesemane for which I feel a special affintiy. I feel a pecial kind of guilt at the Cross for my heart feel like stone. I feel it should melt and I would pour out words . But all I can do is sit and watch as Jesus asked the apostles to do.

    This reminds me of my mother when my brothers died. At their funerals she never cried and when I asked her why she told me how much she wanted to but never oculd cry but was unable to , perhaps because of a very harsh upbringing from my grandfather.

    But prayer is not weighed by emotion thank God. Often we can only do what we can which is sit with Him and watch and pray.....but the Cross is suich a mirror to hold up to our souls..to see our sins...

    Stay here with me,
    remain here with me,
    My heart is nearly broken with sorrow,
    Father if it be possible,
    Let this cup pass from me!!

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016

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