Fr. Rick’s Pastoral Messages 12/9/20
Last week I asked you to consider in your Advent Reflections and Prayer the 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy as presented by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. Taking up from last week, listed below are 4 and 5.
After each work of mercy there are also suggestions and words of advice for living them out in our daily lives.
COMFORTING THE SORROWFUL
Be open to listening and comforting those who are dealing with grief. Even if we aren’t sure of the right words to say, our presence can make a big difference.
- Lend a listening ear to those going through a tough time
- Make a home cooked meal for a friend who is facing a difficult time
- Write a letter or send a card to someone who is suffering
- A few moments of your day may make a lifetime of difference to someone who is going through a difficult time
Forgiving others is difficult at times because we do not have God’s limitless mercy and compassion. But Jesus teaches us that we should forgive as God forgives, relying on him to help us show others the mercy of God
- Let go of grudges
- Saying sorry is something we learn as kids, but how often do we really mean it? Forgiveness transforms hearts and lives
- Participate in the Sacrament of Penance
- Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet
INTO THE DARKNESS; INTO THE HEART
Recall that at the beginning of Advent we were reminded that as we approach the shortest day of the year, we are also approaching the darkest day of the year. Advent is the time to enter more deeply into the natural darkness and quiet of this season where we can give the Holy Spirit the time and space needed to ‘fathom’ the depths of our hearts. Please consider the excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church below. Numbers refer to footnotes listed in the original pages.
Prayer as covenant
2562 Where does prayer come from? Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole man who prays. But in naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain.
2563 The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.
2564 Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.
Prayer as communion
2565 In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Kingdom is “the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity . . . with the whole human spirit.”12 Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him. This communion of life is always possible because, through Baptism, we have already been united with Christ.13 Prayer is Christian insofar as it is communion with Christ and extends throughout the Church, which is his Body. Its dimensions are those of Christ’s love.14