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Showing posts from January, 2021

Chapter 4

For February 5 CHAPTER 4. Praying in Loving Faith (97-124) Read the following digest of quotations. Then reflect upon the questions further below. Quotations "... feelings are not totally reliable in assessing where God is or where we are in relation to Him. We should not try to suppress or control our feelings. What we must do is savor or endure how we feel, at the same time taking the focus off ourselves and putting it onto Him. What is needed is faith." (99) "The point of prayer is not to produce feelings or experiences that I like or that are encouraging to me. The point of prayer is not even primarily what God has to say to me or what I have to say to Him. The point of prayer is a loving relationship with God. Within that relationship I can say or express anything I want, but I should do so in faith that remains passionately open to Him and whatever He may be doing, without letting it lead back to absorption in myself. It is a diversion if I try to figure out what H

Chapter 3

For January 29   CHAPTER 3. SILENCE AND PRAYER  (63-95) Read the following digest of quotations. Then reflect upon the questions further below. Quotations "In the ambiguity of human silence, silence can act like a wall that keeps us out... On the other hand, silence can be the fruit of the deepest intimacy. Behind silence there can be defensiveness or condemnation, but there can also be unconditional love. When we know there is unconditional love, the silence takes on a radically different quality. Rather than me keeping silence, this silence keeps me. We can think of the example of a mother's silent love for her baby, or we can think of the silent love that is shared by lovers who know and love each other so completely and who for periods of time have no more need of words. Those are the examples of the silence that God is drawing each of us into with himself." (72) "There is a breakthrough when we discover that God's silence is never ambiguous. God's silenc

Chapter 2

For January 22   CHAPTER 2. EXPERIENCING PRAYER AS A RELATIONSHIP (27-61) Read the following digest of quotations. Then reflect upon the questions further below. Quotations "The best way to open up to vulnerable intimacy with [God] is to make a profound act of humility and to open our hearts wide to Him. As explicitly as possible, we should offer our entire selves to Him, every part of us, especially the parts we consider poorest and ugliest. To Him it is all precious. We do this with our mind and heart, and we also do this with our bodies by our posture. We can enter into prayer with a prostration or spend time on our knees. We can open our arms to signify the openness of our hearts or simply open our hands to express our receptivity." (30-31) "The desert fathers described the mind as being like the great spinning grindstones in a flour mill. These stones are mighty wheels that keep turning to grind up whatever is put into them. If they go dry, the stones can be damaged

Introduction and Chapter 1

For January 15 Feel free to skip below to the questions if you have already done the reading  INTRODUCTION  (xxiii-xxxviii) “Human vulnerability is the unifying thread that passes through all of our prayer. It is the meeting point of God and man. This is because God is vulnerable too.” (xxix) “Contemplation is nothing else than a mental attitude of loving, simple, persistent attention to holy things…. Prayer is called meditation until it has produced the honey of devotion; after that it changes into contemplation…. Thus as bees draw nectar from the flowers, we meditate to gather the love of God, but, having gathered it, we contemplate God and are attentive to His goodness because of the sweetness that love makes us find in it.” (Quoting St Francis de Sales, xxxiv) “With this in mind, our focus in this book is on the contemplative dimension of prayer, understood as vulnerable, attentive, loving presence in the relationship between God and man.” (xxiv)   “The journey of the Christian lif

Welcome and Orientation

What is this blog for? A parish book study of Personal Prayer: Receiving the Father's Love  by Thomas Acklin OSB and Boniface Hicks OSB (Emmaus, 2020) . What is the goal of this book study? To engage our lives of prayer through reading and discussing a recent publication on the nature and practice of prayer.  What is the format of this book study? Twofold: (1) Weekly, a Digest  of a new book chapter, posted on this blog. Each Digest will comprise select quotations from the relevant chapter and questions for your reflection and commentary. The Digest will prepare you for the video segment of the study, and will be available throughout the week. (2) Weekly, a Zoom  Presentation  livestreamed on Fridays at 3pm ET for about 15-20 minutes. Each Presentation will continue to be available after the livestream has concluded. Links to both will always be available on our main parish website . What if I am unable to obtain a copy of the book? No worries! Simply follow each week's Digest