Prayer and the Expanding Heart

Discussion in 'On prayer itself' started by Mark Dohle, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. padraig

    padraig Powers

    St Monica's Feast Day was just last week, along with that of her son, St Augustine. Her husband was called Patricius (which comes from the Latin Patrician , the Latin Ruling Class and is also derived the Irish name Patrick and the modern word Patriarchy or the rule of men. Patricius certainly knew how to rule he was abusive and foul tempered towards Monica almost her entire life and very intolerant of her Christian Faith remaining a firm Pagan almost until his death. I can see why the young Augustine left home forst chance he got.

    Augustine of course was the bad boy of bad boys, Including bringing his live in girl friend home. Monica not only prayed for his but followed him right round the world to Rome and Milan no matter how her bad boy son tried to flee from her. She clung to him like a limpet.

    She must have thought she won the lottery when both her husband converted on his death bed and her son in Milan at the hands of St Ambrose.

    One of the most moving accounts in all Catholic literature was when the night before leaving for Africa St Augustine recounts that he and his mother stayed up all night talking about heaven . St Monica died a few days later. But that one night both of them were in heaven discussing heaven.

    She got her answer to prayer a million times over. But boy did she have to work at it.

    A great saint for praying mothers.

  2. gracia

    gracia Archangels

    Thank you, Padraig.
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  3. padraig

    padraig Powers

    I believe women and men are differnet not only in physical things but spiritually different. I mean our spirits are different too. God did not Create them men and women as casual sexual reason there are deeper causes at work here.

    But one difference is this. women have a far , far deeper capacity for enduring certain kinds of suffering than men have. They have a kind of stickability when a certain kind of chips are down.

    A example of this is in the life of Jesus and the Passion. We see Our Lady and the Holy Women following Chrsit and the Disciples. We never really hear from them at all. But when the Apsotles and the rest fled the women stuck it out. It was no accident that it was a woman , Mary Magdalen who first saw Jesus. I think that there are certain circumstances in life were al lyou can do is stand and bear it. I think women are much better at thsi kind of thing than men. This is what makes them , well one of the reason why, they are so very central to the family.

    I used to count at Mass the proportion of women to men. I worked it out at about 80% women to 10% men in every Church in every country I went too. I think this is part of this stickability women have. They still cling to Jesus.

    I am not saying women are superior to men or men to women. But in this enduring quality I believe they have this huge edge on men. A certain rock-like quality. They stick with it.

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  4. Mark Dohle

    Mark Dohle Powers

    Yes, I agree, we just need to live the mystery, pray, hope and trust.

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  5. Seagrace

    Seagrace Archangels

    And if and when the tears come, let them fall.
    Tears don't mean we've lost hope.
    Tears help wash away the grit.
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  6. gracia

    gracia Archangels

    True! It helps release anger, sorrow, grief, longing. And makes it easier to keep going.
  7. Mario

    Mario Powers


    I believe you speak well of the balance between the fear of the Lord and the Mercy of God.

    When I was Siena College this Catholic lived a pagan lifestyle. It wasn't until I carried at least 100 lbs. of guilt that I would consider approaching the confessional. I was very selfish, but I still had some residual Fear of the Lord in my heart. Did that mean I was willing to give up my reproachful lifestyle? By no means! The confessional was only my insurance policy. There was no desire to amend my life. If I had died in those years, what would have been my eternal destiny? I honestly can't say. I knew in my head the truth, but I was unwilling to let Jesus sit on the throne of my heart. I did not love Him. I was not pursuing the Divine Will, let alone living it.

    Too close for comfort!:eek:

    Safe in the Flames of the Sacred Heart!
  8. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Powers

  9. Pax Prima

    Pax Prima Archangels

    I like how St. Augustine puts it. Thank you for this.

    "For if men hear at all, they usually hear only bodily groaning and know nothing of the anguish of the heart from which it issues."
    "Yet there is another, interior kind of prayer without ceasing, namely, the desire of the heart."

    I have been reflecting on the nature of being. Everything in our being is seemingly autonomous. The growth of our bodies, our heart beats, breathing, healing, desires, impulses and I believe even most actions and reactions. But when someone keeps their heart focused on God, the seed of the word multiplies in the heart and we become more Christ like. So our being and nature begins to reflect that of God. The idea that we have control over many actions which are autonomous I believe is an illusion.

    I also remember hearing a story about how when healing miracles started to happen around St. Charbel, his brothers asked him how he did it. St. Charbel said he simply prayed for people to be healed and they would heal. There were no special prayers, no rituals, just simple petitions.

    Last edited: May 27, 2024
  10. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Powers

    Something that fascinates me is the idea of the central role of the heart in the process of human salvation: the sacrifices that please God are a contrite and humiliated heart; the afflicted heart is a figurative and real element of a victim soul; the heart that incessantly cries out for the presence of God becomes a true inner sanctuary, something that we experienced intensely during the pandemic, when the Holy Eucharist was taken away from us.
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  11. St. Philip Neri had an expanding heart
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  12. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Powers

    There are many people who were somewhat disillusioned with the Church and gradually lost their faith, but they still miss the time when they fully believed in God, which now constitutes an immense inner emptiness. Faith gives a new meaning to everything, even illness and death. I wonder if the heart that misses God, even with a lack of faith, constitutes the initial spark of a fire, a small cry that will be rewarded in the future. Perhaps the dark night of the soul is the same dark valley that many people go through, inside and outside the church; however, in the case of the saints, guided by the lamp of the knowledge of God?
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  13. Pax Prima

    Pax Prima Archangels

    I think it is possible. The Church teaches about baptism by desire which for me is incredible. St. Paul spoke about the unknown God, how the Athenians worshiped God without knowing Him. I am positive that the heart that cries out for God while being unaware will be heard by Him.

    I also notice how when God is rejected, he comes to other peoples. Like how Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico just after the reformation. I get the sense our Lady and our Lord is really focused on Muslims right now as the west is in decline.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2024
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  14. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Powers

    Perhaps, before the eyes of God, there is a distinction between those who truly seek God and those who reject his presence or find his commandments or ordinances too burdensome.
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  15. Mario

    Mario Powers

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  16. Pax Prima

    Pax Prima Archangels

    The first commandment of Jesus is to seek the Kingdom and the promise is that everything else will be added. I have no doubt whatsoever that God will provide for those who genuinely seek Him out.

    I was just listening to the channel "thegodzone" because he is expounding on Isaiah. The host explains how he gets all sorts of people coming onto his channel, some for good and some for evil. He also explained that he could prove God exists easily, but those whose hearts are darkened will never see it. He said it is the same with the scriptures, as long as someone has a dark heart the scriptures wont be open to them. The Word will literally not open up to them because their hard heart is in the way. Jesus tells us the same. The Bible for me becomes more incredible with each passing day.

    The only problem for me is that I prefer commentary to go along with the bible, otherwise I often don't know what is going on.
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  17. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Powers

    St. John Chrysostom
    Saint John Chrysostom here speaks of the gift of prayer from the heart as continual conversation with God that proceeds from longing for God. Prayer is a grace that lifts the soul into the heavens where it embraces God and brings both joy and light to the soul.

    The highest good is prayer and conversation with God, because it means that we are in God’s company and in union with him.

    When light enters our bodily eyes our eyesight is sharpened; when a soul is intent on God, God’s inextinguishable light shines into it and makes it bright and clear. I am talking, of course, of prayer that comes from the heart and not from routine: not the prayer that is assigned to particular days or particular moments in time, but the prayer that happens continuously by day and by night.

    Indeed the soul should not only turn to God at times of explicit prayer. Whatever we are engaged in, whether it is care for the poor, or some other duty, or some act of generosity, we should remember God and long for God. The love of God will be as salt is to food, making our actions into a perfect dish to set before the Lord of all things. Then it is right that we should receive the fruits of our labors, overflowing onto us through all eternity, if we have been offering them to him throughout our lives.

    Prayer is the light of the soul, true knowledge of God, a mediator between God and men. Prayer lifts the soul into the heavens where it hugs God in an indescribable embrace. The soul seeks the milk of God like a baby crying for the breast. It fulfills its own vows and receives in exchange gifts better than anything that can be seen or imagined.

    Prayer is a go-between linking us to God. It gives joy to the soul and calms its emotions. I warn you, though: do not imagine that prayer is simply words. Prayer is the desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not given by man but brought about by God’s grace. As St Paul says: For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself intercedes on our behalf in a way that could never be put into words.


    If God gives to someone the gift of such prayer, it is a gift of imperishable riches, a heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. Whoever tastes that food catches fire and his soul burns for ever with desire for the Lord.

    To begin on this path, start by adorning your house with modesty and humility. Make it shine brightly with the light of justice. Decorate it with the gold leaf of good works, with the jewels of faithfulness and greatness of heart. Finally, to make the house perfect, raise a gable above it all, a gable of prayer. Thus you will have prepared a pure and sparkling house for the Lord. Receive the Lord into this royal and splendid dwelling — in other words: receive, by his grace, his image into the temple of your soul.


    Saint John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople, died in the early 5th century and was one of the greatest fathers, doctors, and preachers of the Early Church. This post is an excerpt from one of his homilies on prayer as the gift of continual conversation with God (Supp., Hom. 6 De Precatione: PG 64, 462-466). It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Lenten Friday after Ash Wednesday. The accompanying biblical reading is taken from Exodus 2:1-22.

    For more great ideas for the Lenten Season, see the 40 DAYS OF LENT section of the Crossroads Initiative Library.

    Originally posted on Feb 15 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2024
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  18. Pax Prima

    Pax Prima Archangels

    Excellent meditative exegesis on scripture regarding the heart, this is possibly the best video I have ever encountered. That or the Holy Spirit is speaking to me through it.

    The speaker also confirmed for me that when Jesus told us about the parable of the sower, Jesus was also referring to when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden. The ground would then produce thistles and thorns for them. Before the fall Adam and Even only knew good, after they knew good and evil. They then knew worry and deceitfulness after the fall which are the thorns and thistles.

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2024
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  19. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Powers

    Still on the central role of the heart in human Salvation, the devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary both have a symbolism suggesting that the path to perfection involves the element of the Heart. The parable of the seed that found good soil shows the heart as a battlefield between good and evil, but the grace of a contrite heart is a path to the Triumph of the Gospel message within us.

    Psalm 147:3-4
    3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

    4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

    I also think, as I mentioned earlier, about the lives of people who have had some disillusionment with the Church and gradually lost their faith, yet still miss the time when faith gave a new meaning to things; what comes to mind is that they are "exiled hearts," lost sheep, who similarly to the Jews in Babylonian captivity, in some way lament the spiritual dryness and the long distance from the former spiritual homeland. Finally, I believe that the heart is an element that eliminates distinctions between humans. After all, when it comes to organ donation, even a wealthy, greedy, and unrepentant person will not mind receiving a transplant from a poor worker, because they follow the human view that the primary function of the organ is to keep the body alive and functioning. However, they often do not know the more glorious function of this organ, which is to be the receptacle of the Grace of contrition that brings eternal life.
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