This life is difficult, frightening at times, and even risky. But you can find peace in God.
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Since the Easter Vigil, we have been celebrating the most joyful time of the Catholic liturgical year. The Easter season fills us with immense joy, peace and hope
On the Fifth Sunday of Easter we hear these beautiful words from the Gospel: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” (John 14.1)
Faith is a gift that we receive at our Baptism. It is an infused virtue that allows us to see in a superior way. Faith does not contradict reason; rather it enlightens our reason. The gift of faith allows us to see the invisible in the visible world.
Faith allows us to see the loving presence of God in nature. It is the gift that allows us to see Jesus in our neighbor. Faith allows us to hear the voice of God through the Holy Bible. The gift of faith assures us that Jesus is really and truly present in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church.
It is true that the adversities of life can challenge our faith. Many times we seek instant solutions for our problems. Faith allows us to be calm and patient, since it is faith that allows us to trust. God does not have an email address. He is not as fast as a microwave oven. He does not work like instant oatmeal. God is different because he is eternal.
Of necessity, the gift of faith needs to be cultivated if it is to flourish. We must cultivate our faith through prayer, study, and a well disciplined spiritual life. Moreover, the best way to cultivate the gift of faith is through our daily encounter with our Eucharistic Lord. The Eucharist is the mystery of faith.
The Eucharist must be the center of our spiritual lives. Daily Mass, adoration, and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament will ignite the fire of faith and provide us with the strength that we need to journey every day towards eternal life.
Moreover, aside from a deep Eucharistic life, a deep life of prayer is essential for us to have. Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is a continual being in love because God is real and personal. No matter what might be going on in our lives, we must always pray, and pray daily. Prayer is the air that we breathe.
When I speak to you about a life of prayer, I am not referring to the mere saying of prayers. I am talking about something much deeper. There are different types of prayer. One form of prayer is vocal prayer and another form of prayer is mental prayer. There are two types of mental prayer. One form of mental prayer is meditation and the other form of mental prayer is contemplation.
Meditation and contemplation are quite different. The person who meditates usually uses the Scriptures or some other spiritual book. Contemplation does not employ any books at all. Contemplation is the prayer of the heart. It is the prayer of being in God’s presence. It is a gift from God. It is the prayer of allowing God to pray in you. My website contains a short e-book that explains Contemplative Prayer in easy terms that everyone can understand.
You do not have to live in a monastery to be a contemplative. Everyone can be a contemplative. No matter what your profession may be, everyone has the possibility of having a deep relationship with Jesus.
One of the greatest challenges that we encounter is our inability to see and to listen to God. We are caught up in the distractions of daily life that prevent us from really encountering God.
Our busy lives require refreshing times of prayer throughout the day. If we fail to incorporate prayer into our schedules, we will be overcome by the difficulties and challenges of life. Prayer feeds faith. Saint Teresa of Avila, the famous Spanish mystic, once wrote: “Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough.” (Poesías 30)
A serious life of contemplative prayer is very important for the times in which we live. The traditional structures of support that have made our lives comfortable and easy are presently engulfed in confusion, but transformation is slowly taking place.
God is moving us away from clinging to things, people and institutions. He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, to the journey into the night of naked faith. He is calling us to cling to him, and only him. This journey is difficult, frightening at times, and even risky. But, those who embark upon the journey will be transformed into living witnesses of the God of love.
My dear friends, this may sound a bit extreme, but I have reached the conclusion that the only way that we will be able to handle the challenges of our times and the difficulties that are to unfold is through the exercise of daily contemplative prayer. This is true because contemplative prayer allows us to experience the peace that only God can give us.
Faith allows us to be calm and patient, since it is faith that allows us to trust. “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14: 1).
Fr. James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org.