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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Mary’s Experience with Angels

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In her own life Mary experienced the coming of Angels as messengers from God and helpers on earth. She did so first during the Conception and Infancy of her Son Jesus. At the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel announces to her that she will be the Mother of the Messiah who will be the Son of God. In the light of the knowledge that Angels were from God, she believes the Angel’s message and consents to become the mother of God’s Son.

She then hears from Joseph of the messages he receives via the Angel of the Lord concerning her mode of conception and, later, the way to outwit the wicked Herod. At the Visitation, Mary meets her cousin Elizabeth who also benefited from an Angelic mission. After the birth of Jesus, shepherds,  alerted by an Angelic choir come to meet the Child and to tell Mary and Joseph what had been told to them about Him. Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart” (Lk 2: 19 f) – including the appearance of the Angels!

Mary was also familiar with Angels by the fact that Jesus alluded to them at various times in his preaching. In addition to having intimate dealings with the Angels (Mt 4:11; Lk 22:43), Mary’s Son mentioned them as real and active beings.

He showed that they watched over human beings and always view the face of His Father (Mt 18:10), which no human can do. Moreover, their life escapes subjection to the flesh (Mt 22:30).

They are at Christ’s service, and He can demand their intervention during the time of His Passion (Mt 26:53). They will also be the executors of the Last Judgement (Mt 13: 39, 49; 24:31), and they always share in the Divine Joy when sinners repent (Lk 15:10). Hence, Mary was well versed on the subject of Angels.

The above post is an Excerpt from the book Dictionary of Mary

This is an interesting book that is equal to a short summary about the Blessed Virgin Mary!
Written by foremost Marian scholars, it defines very simply yet lucidly the most important Catholic teachings about Mary.
This book is truly indispensable to all who sincerely desire a better understanding of Our Blessed Mother and who wish to derive the benefits accruing from true devotion to her.

Find out more: Dictionary of MARY

Psalms of Mercy

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The Psalms have a strong attraction – to believers and non believers alike – because they reflect our deepest experiences as human beings. They are full of the highs and lows of everyday life, the triumphs and losses, our strengths and weaknesses, the beautiful and the painful. They also point to our human search for a merciful and loving God.

Praying with these ten Psalms of Mercy will help us come more deeply into God’s presence and reveal God’s mercy and tenderness for each one of us.

The Psalms of Mercy is one of a series of eight books, the official catechetical resource for the Jubilee of Mercy created by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization at the request of Pope Francis.

As Pope Francis says, we are, as a Church, called to “echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love.” These books are a guiding light for individuals  and parishes to answer that call.

Saint of the Day: St. Benjamin

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St. Benjamin, Martyr (Feast Day – March 31) The Christians in Persia had enjoyed twelve years of peace during the reign of Isdegerd, son of Sapor III, when in 420 it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of Abdas, a Christian Bishop who burned the Temple of Fire, the great sanctuary of the Persians. King Isdegerd threatened to destroy all the churches of the Christians unless the Bishop would rebuild it.

As Abdas refused to comply, the threat was executed; the churches were demolished, Abdas himself was put to death, and a general persecution began which lasted forty years. Isdegerd died in 421, but his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with great fury. The Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.

Among those who suffered was St. Benjamin, a Deacon, who had been imprisoned a year for his Faith. At the end of this period, an ambassador of the Emperor of Constantinople obtained his release on condition that he would never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.

St. Benjamin, however, declared it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. Although he had been liberated on the agreement made with the ambassador and the Persian authorities, he would not acquiesce in it, and neglected no opportunity of preaching. He was again apprehended and brought before the king. The tyrant ordered that reeds should be thrust in between his nails and his flesh and into all the tenderest parts of his body and then withdrawn. After this torture had been repeated several times, a knotted stake was inserted into his bowels to rend and tear him. The martyr expired in the most terrible agony about the year 424.
Source: catholic.org

Saint of the Day: St. Berthold

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Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite Order. He was born in Limoges, France, and proved a brilliant student at the University of Paris. Ordained a priest, Berthold joined his brother, Aymeric, the Latin patriarch of Antioch, in Turkey, on the Crusades.

During this time he had a vision of Christ denouncing the evil ways of the soldiers. At the time, there were a number of hermits from the West scattered throughout Palestine.

Some accounts hold that in 1185 he came to Mount Carmel, built a small chapel there, and gathered a community of hermits who would live at his side in imitation of the prophet Elijah.

This community has been thought to have given rise to the Order of Carmelites, but this is not supported by evidence and is discounted by historians of the Order. Berthold lived out his days on Mount Carmel, ruling the community he had founded for forty-five years until his death in 1195
Source: Catholic.org, Wikipedia

Saint of the Day: St. Margaret Clitherow

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St. Margaret Clitherow, a woman of great beauty and zeal was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, to protestant parents. She married a well to do grazer John Clitherow, with whom she had 2 children. Her charming personality and cleaver mind led her to harbor fugitive priests. Due to this she was imprisoned by hostile authorities.

She was constantly tested and forced to denounce her faith however Margaret was relentless and stood firm in what she believed in. After multiple attempts to make her deny God, she was finally sentenced to death on March 25 1856. Her death sentence was to be carried out in a gruesome manner by getting her pressed top death.

The extent of her holiness and faith in God can be seen when she writes a letter to her friend saying “The sheriffs have said that I am going to die this coming Friday; and I feel the weakness of my flesh which is troubled at this news, but my spirit rejoices greatly. For the love of God, pray for me and ask all good people to do likewise.” Her feast day is celebrated on March 26th.

Verse of the Day: Matthew 6:24

No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money Matthew 6-24

One of my favorite verses from the Holy Bible. So often in life we focus on the pursuit of  money and neglect  God. We may not do it on purpose but it is a reality that we cannot ignore. Our thoughts and actions might revolve around the pursuit of materialistic things and at the end of the day, there is a feeling of emptiness.

While it is important to work on your business or daily needs in life,  we should always remember who our creator is. Jesus so rightly says that ” No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money”.

The need of the hour is to give your best at what you do but always be focused on God and not get lost in the material temptations of the world.

 

 

Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Enda

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Legend has him an Irishman noted for his military feats who was convinced by his sister St. Fanchea to renounce his warring activities and marry. When he found his fiancee dead, he decided to become a monk and went on pilgrimage to Rome, where he was ordained.

He returned to Ireland, built churches at Drogheda, and then secured from his brother-in-law King Oengus of Munster the island of Aran, where he built the monastery of Killeaney, from which ten other foundations on the island developed.

With St. Finnian of Clonard, Enda is considered the founder on monasticism in Ireland. His feast day is March 21
Source: catholic.org