Importance of Prayer | Deep Calls to Deep

Deep Calls to Deep – Going further in Prayer

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Ever since I was a little boy, prayer for me was always a personal affair. I use to get bored ‘reciting’ formal prayers during mass. I just could never seem to connect with God. I felt the only way I could get connected to God is by naturally talking to him, in the same way, you talk to a friend.

And this might be true for many of us, it is a way of praying and it is an effective way, but what I want to share is one moment of my life which really helped me realize the power of formal prayers. One day during my 15th Std Exams, I was really stressed out and there were just a few hours left for my paper to start.

I had this routine of studying in a small garden at around 7 am in the morning. Our papers were usually at 12 pm in the afternoon, so I had plenty of time to revise. Now this garden was about 5 mins away from my house so I usually use to talk to God in my head whilst walking towards the Garden. This was the daily norm for me

And I remember this so vividly because that day, I just asked God that please give me a formal prayer for this paper because I felt like I needed to say the right words rather than just have a conversation.

The very moment this thought struck me, something in my mind urged me immediately to freeze my leg, so I did and when I looked down on the road, I was about to step on something.

When I looked down, I saw a small picture of Baby Jesus on the road which I was about to stamp if I wouldn’t have stopped my leg midway. I lifted the picture up and flipped it to see what it was and what I found really CHANGED MY LIFE

I saw a prayer titled – “Prayer before studies” on the back and that just blew my mind! You won’t believe how excited I was to say the prayer and I was so happy to have found it. I think I was so excited to see God reach out to me that my paper went well too!

So I know for a fact that formal prayers are important too and what I learned from the book deep calls to deep helped me in my daily prayers as well.

I am going to share the 5 finger technique with you so that it helps you too, This is one of the methods straight out of the book. The author, however, explains numerous ways of praying and you can decide what works best for you.

So here is the technique and we will begin from the back. For starters, the weakest fingers are for praying for people or things, what that means is, myself being on the last finger and my neighbor or friend being on the fourth finger.

The middle finger, which is the longest stands for Thanksgiving, which I should do more often. The index finger being next is for pointing at my own faults and not for blaming others. It represents the prayer of confession and contrition.

And the last is the thumb, which is actually the first finger and the most significant one, as it is for God himself. The Prayer for adoration and praise.

So you always start praying from the thumb towards the last finger, in that order.

This method really got me excited about prayers and I just couldn’t wait to try it practically in my life.

Like this, there may be a prayer cycle that you follow which is completely alright in its own way.

But today, what we really need, is to focus at a deeper dimension of prayer.

By that, I mean not getting your prayer mixed with any kind of disturbances and daydreams.

We are defined by the relationship we share with our Father and that can be achieved only through Prayers.

So if you are seeking to do the same, this book will help you move from Prayers to Prayer by exposing you to a renewed path of praying.

You can buy the Book, “Deep Calls to Deep” for just Rs.90 at http://www.stpaulsbyb.com
For a Video on Deep Calls to Deep, you can visit our Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvdAAzANWww

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Why do we Observe Lent?

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Lent might seem pretty confusing to most Non-Catholics, hey it’s a confusing time for a lot of Catholics too.

For some it might be an opportunity to go on a diet, for others, it might be a chance to grow that beard without escaping the wrath of their parents. But let me tell you, the season of Lent is so much more than this.

Lent is a time of prayer, repentance, and recommitment leading up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter. It spans for a period of 40 days not counting sundays, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, that is one day before Easter

Although it began as a Roman Catholic tradition, Christians of various denominations participate in Lent.

Why Do We Fast on Lent

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Lent begins with humility on Ash Wednesday. It is a day when people are imprinted with ash on their forehead in the form of a cross, to remind them of their mortality and complete dependence on God.

It also is a constant reminder of the many sacrifices of Christ which purifies us and makes us worthy to go to God.

Why 40 Days?

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The 40 days is a symbolic representation of the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, fighting and enduring the many temptations of Satan before he goes on to start his ministry.

Forty is a significant number in the Bible. For instance, Moses waited for 40 days to receive the Law on Mt. Sinai.

The people of Israel rambled in the wilderness for forty years before they could enter the promised land.

Similarly, Elijah journeyed for forty days to meet God at Mount Horeb and most importantly, Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness.

How to Prepare for Lent

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Let the season of Lent not be just about fulfilling your scheduled ‘sacrifices’. It is the intent behind it that is important.

When you sacrifice, let your heart be in the right place. The Bible, in fact, tells us indirectly not to frown, or put on a show when you are fasting, smile, make it seem like you have just had a feast, don’t let people know that you’re sacrificing, God already knows everything.

Let it not be about obligation, let it be about cleansing yourself for God. Trust me, when Easter comes, you will experience the joy of the Holy Spirit that will change your life.

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Saint Camillus de Lellis

Mario Pucci has made an extraordinary effort by providing us with a book on, ‘The Saint of the Red Cross’. This book dwells on the life of Camillus de Lellis as a lay person and his journey to being the disciple of the Almighty.

Camillus de Lellis was the son of Camilla de Lellis and Giovanni de Lellis, who was born on the 25th of May 1550. His father was a noble who spent more time on the battlefield and was rarely home. Camillus’s mother gave birth to him when she was around the age of sixty.

As and when the people around the neighbourhood received the extraordinary news of her pregnancy they started to call her by the nickname Saint Elizabeth, which she didn’t quite approve of.

One night when she was dreaming, she saw a line of boys dressed up in attire which had across imprinted near the chest and ropes around their waist. The line was lead by a tall boy, who held a flag with a Cross on it too and that’s when a voice spoke to her saying the words, ‘That’s your boy’, which threw her back into a state of complete surprise. That caused her to make him swear that he would always keep God in his heart and live by his laws.

Due to her growing age, de Lellis lost his mother. He then joined his father, Giovanni and fought in a war against the Turks.

After serving for a good time in the army, he took up a job in a friary because of a wound on one of his legs. About that time, his good nature overtook his temper, which became the driving force behind his conversion.

Eventually, de Lellis realized his call for a religious conversion was strong enough, so he pursued that endeavour with the help of his confessor.

St Camillus strongly believed that the love we spread amongst others always weighed down selfish nature.

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Later as the years passed by, Camillus shifted his attention to the needs of the sick, the major problem being the negligent treatment they received in the hospitals. He engaged in directing the wealthy as to how they could assist the sick and the needy.

The Mission of St. Camillus was purely evangelization of the sick and the poor. His story has proven to be inspiring to many folks. Nevertheless, if you’re wondering about why we call Camillus de Lellis, ’The Saint of the Red Cross’ this book is sure to unravel this and many other mysteries about the Saint.

buy st camillus de lellis book here for the whole story

To know more about Saint Camillus and his extremely inspiring journey get the book here

Divine Renovation Review

A Guidebook For Parishes to Embrace their Mission of Transformation. (1)

For many, a church is simply a building wherein religious practices are held, whereas for some it is an escape from the chaotic world into a peaceful locale.

Well, what really makes a church are the people. Where people are gathered in harmony together to worship the Lord, is what a church really is.

Perhaps today, the efforts of the parishioners and the pastors are been driven towards a drier state. And this happens in a good amount of parishes which are both in the urban and rural areas.

So the question that arises now is, how do we as a community establish strong grounds to become an effective outpost or a really good frontier of the Great Commission and the New Evangelisation?
This book was published for this very reason.

It is a blueprint offered by Fr James Mallon who focuses on how badly the world needs Jesus and how we as a parish can give our best in this endeavor.

Divine Renovation is proving to be an attempt to not only guide many priests and pastors but the parishioners as well to join in this amusing mission of Christ.

The tools provided in this book will be of great assistance to priests and the parishioners, as it provides a step by step guideline to judge the effectiveness of the practices that have been carried on in the past and in the present as well. It also has many activities such as questionnaires, charts, graphs etc.

Nevertheless, it will help in overcoming all the basic problems that are faced by almost every parish.

Knowing that this mission is a continuous work in progress, it won’t only require the efforts of the parish priest alone. This is a revolutionary journey that the church has to participate in, as a whole.

Although the parish head that is the priest or the pastor has to be prepared to lead the way at all times. Thus it can further, result in being influential on all the parishioners to take the measures that may be required.

To find out more, click here:

Divine Renovation: From a Maintenance to a Missional Parish

 

 

 

Marriage: A Sacrament of Christ’s Love

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A Sacrament of Christ’s Love Christian marriage that is raised to the dignity of a sacrament is modeled upon Christ’s love for the Church. In marriage, therefore, spouses are called upon to give visible expression to Christ’s love for the Church by leading a life of sacrificial love. “Christ our Lord has abundantly blessed this love, which is rich in its various features, coming as it does from the spring of divine love and modeled on Christ’s own union with the Church” (GS 48). Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and ends with a vision of the ‘wedding feast of the Lamb’ (cf. Gen 1:27; Rev 19:7, 9). Sacred Scripture speaks of marriage and its ‘mystery’, its institution, and the meaning God has given to it. It also speaks of its origin and its purpose… the difficulties arising from sin, and its renewal in Jesus Christ.? The Old Testament describes God’s love for his people as similar to the love of a husband for his wife. The New Testament also compares Christ’s love for his Church to the love of a husband for his wife (cf. Eph 5:21-33). He unites himself indissolubly to his Bride, the Church.

The Catholic Church teaches that “Marriage is not a purely human institution, despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes.”8 All cultures uphold the greatness of matrimonial union. “The well-being of the individual person and both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life” (GS 47). Hence marriage is not a tangential issue in Christian life. It is right at the heart of the Christian mystery. It serves to illustrate Christian mystery by means of its striking analogy. No analogy is really adequate in its attempt to communicate Christ’s love for the Church. Yet, speaking of marriage and the family, Pope John Paul II states, “In this entire world there is not a more perfect, more complete image of God, Unity and Community. There is no other human reality which corresponds more, humanly speaking, to that divine mystery.”

God’s love for his people is central to Judeo-Christian religious tradition. “The communion of love between God and people… finds a meaningful expression in the marriage covenant which is established between a man and a woman.” This “communion between God and his people finds its definite fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the bridegroom who loves and gives himself as the savior of humanity, uniting it to himself as his body.”

We cannot understand the Christian mystery unless we keep in mind the “great mystery” involved in the creation of man as male and female and the vocation of both to conjugal love. According to the analogy, God’s eternal plan for us is to “marry”y. He wanted this eternal plan to be so present to us that he stamped an image of it in our very being by creating us male and female and calling us to marriage.

“For this reason,” St Pauls in his epistle writes, “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church”

This union is both creative and transformative. The self-emptying of the spouses in “conjugal love reaches that fullness to which it is interiorly ordained, conjugal charity, which is the proper and specific way in which the spouses participate in and are called to live the very charity of Christ who gave himself on the cross. In a sacramental marriage, the husband lays down his life to serve her husband, as a visual reminder to the world that God the Father sent his only Son, “not to condemn the world, but to save it”, and that the Son freely laid down his life for us, and as his Bride, we choose to lay down our lives to serve him.

This excerpt is taken from the Book “Love in Crisis”.

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What does the Devil normally do to Lead Astray?

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Since the devil is called the “Seducer”, we need to pose the question: how does he lead the human person astray? St Thomas Aquinas masterfully tells us that the devil tries to persuade us to consent to sin through the power of rationalization or blandishment that is, the devil tries to get us to deceive ourselves in the art of choosing an apparent good. In Gently including people to turn their attention to a particularly attractive sin, Satan tries to catch everyone in the false belief that the sin is a question is at least not all that bad; and, that seeming good which is manifested by an appearance of a delightful outcome, is still very needful for personal fulfillment. In any case, the evil one is the expert at getting us to evade reality.

Therefore, the need to develop a prayer life so that each and all can face reality as it is and not as anyone desires it to be. It is not by accident that the greatest ends “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” but if someone chooses a sinful action, he lets that person have the freedom and the consequences of that choice, the purpose behind the difficulty of temptation:409. This drama situation of “the whole world is in the power of the evil one” makes man’s life a battle:The Whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the power of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.

This excerpt is taken from the Book “The Hidden Enemies of the Priesthood.”

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Spiritual Fruit

Children and grandchildren are a concrete, visible sign of fruit in the lives of parents.Obviously, it’s not only my parents or even parents in general- we all are producing fruit that can be seen.However, we rarely take the time to reflect and think about the type of fruit our lives are producing.This is unfortunate because our spiritual well-being is directly related to the type of fruit we produce.Some fruit is good and some are not but we need to be aware that our lives are producing fruit each and every day.I suppose the question we need to ask I the fruit we produce is ripe or spoiled.Is it a sweet orange or a sour lemon?

In Galatians, Saint Paul writes about the difference between good and bad fruit- a fruit of the flesh versus fruit of the Spirit.It’s significant that we give reflection to this.The fruit our lives produce can be seen, and the fruit our life produces impacts everyone from our mailman, grocery clerk, friends, children, and spouse.

If you are known by your fruit, then what do people know about you?
Also, our fruit can be a type of measure for our spiritual growth.
Often people come to me feeling stuck in their faith life and don’t feel like they are making any progress. I often ask them how one measures spiritual growth and progress.
“Is there an app for that?”
“Is there something that allows you to take yo
spiritual temperature or measure your growth?”
“A divine dipstick?”
One of the ways we can determine if we a growing in the spiritual life is by the fruit. I begin asking them about the type of fruit their spiritual is producing.
If you want to see how you are growing in spiritual life or determine “how you are doing” take a  look at the fruit of your life. Is your life produce more fruit of the flesh or of the Spirit? The two radically opposed to each other and only that of Spirit leads us closer to God.

Saint Paul writes that the desires of the flesh opposed to those of the Spirit (Gal 5:18). Anyone who has ever tried to diet, exercise, or go to a movie without consuming a trough of popcorn knows to be true. “Why do I do the things I don’t want to do and don’t do the things that I want?”

We all live with this tension. The flesh, the body, has desires; some of them are good and necessary such as the desire for nourishment or food. When Saint Paul is addressing the desires of the flesh this isn’t the type of which he speaks. Rather, the desires of the flesh are destructive, disordered, and ultimately lead us away from Christ. Paul says very clearly that the desires of the flesh are against those of the Spirit and the ability to recognize this conflict is God’s grace.

For some people, just realizing that there is this tension, or this battle between the flesh and the Spirit, is transformative. This tension that exists between the Spirit and the flesh is just that, a tension. I’ve met people who think that if they were holy enough they would not have to deal with this tension or any temptation. The truth is that the tension one experiences does not mean that a person is bad or not Necking God. Simply because we have desires that tWell1 to be at odds with God’s will does not make us kid. It only brings into light the struggle in which We find ourselves. How we respond to these desires: now, that’s the issue!

This excerpt is taken from the Book “Breath of God”

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EASTER ENCAPSULATES THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST By Ladislaus L D’Souza

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Easter is a feast that celebrates the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation for His human creation. With His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ paving the way on Good Friday, Paradise Lost [because of the sin of disobedience of our First Parents, Adam and Eve] became Paradise Regained [effect of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus]! The Resurrection of Jesus which we celebrate at Easter comes through as concrete history.

 

Origins of Easter — The word Easter ostensibly comes from a pagan figure called ‘Eastre’ (or Eostre) who was revered as the goddess of Spring or goddess of the East (from where the sun rises) by the Saxons of Northern Europe and honored with a festival called Easter during the spring equinox. Her insignia was the hare (a symbol of fertility), hence the Easter Bunny! The Lily, a flower generally in glorious bloom during Spring, and mentioned frequently throughout the Bible, is poignantly significant of Easter, its magnificent whiteness symbolizing the purity of new birth.

 

Social implications — The new birth Easter is associated with is the Resurrection of Jesus to life on the third day of his death. Seen in the context of India, the Resurrection implies the certainty of an entry for the common man into Eternal bliss assured by the Saviour—hope that keeps one from giving in to despair when faced with painful life situations—an incurable illness, lack of employment, loss of life-partner, etc.

 

The Peace of Paradise — Factually, for peace to prevail truth, justice and peace must be given their due. “Foolish” as we all are, we tend to miss the tree for the wood. “So slow to believe the full message of the prophets” (Luke 24:25), we tend to overlook the fact that we “enter into his glory” (Luke 24:26) not merely by suffering with him but by upholding the right to truth, ‘truth’ itself being the Son of God whom Pilate mindlessly put to death. Significantly, with the fostering of justice comes the right to celebrate Easter.

Physical Aspects of Prayer

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My comments do not imply that you should quit contemplation if you suddenly feel a desire to pray with words ess the devotion of your spirit openly. It is completely acceptable for phrases such as, “Good Jesus, lovely Jesus, Jesus,” and similar comments to be expressed. May forbid that you misunderstand me.
God wants us to serve him properly with both body and together. Both physical and spiritual rewards accrue. Sometimes God will stir the bodily senses of his devout ts. The sweet consolations of God do not arrive h the windows of our senses, but inwardly, rising and springing up out of the abundance of spiritual joy and out of true I devotion. The person experiencing them need not be suspicious of these good and natural pleasures.

The consolations worthy of our suspicion come suddenly outside ourselves, with an uncertain origin. Be cautious ding such external pleasures because they may be good evil. If you follow my instruction by avoiding physical and psychological stress, the consolations that come to you will neither evil nor harmful. Why? Because this comfort, this out wakening of love in a pure spirit, comes from God done, rather than an illusion or a mistaken notion.

I will not attempt now to tell you how to distinguish between good or evil comforts, sounds, and pleasures. You can find this topic discussed in another book a thousand times better than I could express it. For that matter, that other book contains everything I say here, but I will not let that discourage me from preparing this guide for you.

Constantly practise this simple, devout stirring of love that I have described.This love will inform you whether the sensual pleasure you experience is good or evil.Even if the pleasures confuse simple love, in the beginning, you will not be able to pay much attention to them until you reach certainty about them, either inwardly by the Spirit of God, or outwardly by the guidance of your spiritual director.

The Above excerpt is taken from the Book “The Cloud of Unknowing.” 

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Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Baptism in the Holy Spirit? What is it? Even though I was an active Catholic, I had never heard the term.Heck, in seventh grade I won the local catechism bee but never had that question.I asked one of the other Netters who a[ppeared to be pretty normal but also seemed to know what was going with the whole baptism in the Holy Spirit thing.She had that it was really just being “filled with the Holy Spirit.” She told me that I could read more about in the scriptures.that, to me, sounded like a pretty good place to start.

I began reading the scriptures and found that being baptized in the Holy Spirit (or words similar) is mentioned in each of the $ gospels as well as the Acts of the Apostles. (See Mt 3:11; MK 1:8; Lk 3:16; Jn 1:33; Acts 1:5.) John the Baptist made it clear that he baptized in water but that Jesus would baptize in the Holy Spirit. It became apparent to me that what I experienced as a baby might be different than baptism in the Holy Spirit.

In his gospel, Luke said that we would be baptized in the Holy Spirit and in fire. Again in the Acts of Apostles, Luke has Jesus instructing the apostles — go back to Jerusalem and wait for the “promise of Father” and the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1. When I read the various accounts of the baptism in the Holy Spirit I didn’t necessarily have a be understanding of exactly what baptism in the H Spirit was, but I was able to see that it was important. F It seemed to be something that Jesus intended for and it changed people.

Scripture states clearly that Jesus came to bap us in the Holy Spirit. It seemed to me that if this is of the reasons Christ came, then perhaps I was missing something. As I made my way through scripture, I was also able to see the effects of the baptism with Holy Spirit. From my reading the Acts of the Ap it appeared to me that the disciples experienced baptism in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is clear that the baptism of the Holy Spirit enabled apostles to do something that they were unable to do before. Before Pentecost, they were locked room paralyzed by fear and after experiencing Holy Spirit they boldly proclaimed Jesus. Som changed in them.

Slowly, I was beginning to see more clearly what the baptism in the Holy Spirit might be about.It seemed to be about power.the disciples’ experience of the Holy Spirit gave them the power to escape the confines of a locked room where they were bound by fear.It gave them the power to witness to Jesus’ resurrection and the ability to faithfully live the Christian life.

A few days passed with me asking lots of questions and staying away from Steve who still had the “Laying of hands on me” as his goal-an idea that was still bugging me!

The Above excerpt is taken from the Book “Breath Of God”. Order Now!!!

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