Prayer & Spiritual Life

Last night my wife and I were watching an episode of Sherlock Holmes on TV. He has always been one of my favorite characters and I can remember reading all the stories to our kids as they grew up. On TV I think Jeremy Brett does the best portrayal and it is always a delightful evening to cuddle up and watch another episode.

Last night we were watching “The Copper Beeches” and Sherlock was interviewing a young lady. Her case bored him. But as her story developed, Sherlock became intrigued. He leaned back and said, “Pray, continue.” 

SherlockPrays.jpgMy wife hit the pause button! “What did he say?” We listened again. Sure enough, the Great Sherlock used the word pray when talking to a woman.

But doesn’t “pray” mean worship? In our old Evangelical Protestant days we assumed PRAY was synonymous with WORSHIP. But that was because we were ignorant of our own English language (blame the public schools). 

In the English language, the word pray is much less ostentatious than we Evangelicals blew it up to be. Here is what Wiktionary says,  

1. To petition or solicit help from a supernatural or higher being.
2. To humbly beg a person for aid or their time.
3. (Christianity) to talk to God for any reason.

The least significant usage of the word is to “talk to God” which is still a far cry from falling on one’s face in adoration and worship—an action reserved for the Trinity alone. 

It primarily means to ask of a higher being—which could certainly mean a superior in business, or law or in heaven—for a favor or for their help. It means to ask any person for aid or for their time.  

What was Sherlock Holmes asking when he “prayed” to this woman? He was saying, “Please, I ask you to continue.” Did he worship the woman? Of course not. 

But if we earthy humans ask the assistance and intercession of those who have preceded us to heaven, are we worshiping them or somehow giving them glory that belongs to God alone? CommunionofSaints.jpg

Well let’s ask this—if I ask my brother or sister in Christ on earth to “pray” for me, am I taking away from the glory of God by “praying” or asking them to “pray” or ask God to help me? Of course not, because prayer (talking and asking) and worship are two very different things. 

If I ask a saint who is already in heaven to petition God for me, am I committing idolatry? What foolishness, or course not. I am simply acknowledging that I am not the only Christian in the universe and that the Church is not just made up of me or many earthlings.

Christians, such as Mary and the Apostles, are not dead and gone. They are very much alive before the throne of God. It is made up of all of us still waiting for heaven, but it is also made up of those who have gone on before us with the sign of faith.

You may get asked, “Where in the Bible does it say we should pray to dead saints?” And my answer is always the same, “Where does the Bible say that saints are dead? We Catholic believe in Eternal Life!” 

Again, it is the Evangelical who not only misunderstands spiritual things, but also the English language. I was the most guilty of all, but I had ears to hear (thanks be to God) and I now understand the cosmic reality of the Church and the Communion of Saints. I am much the richer for it. 

Like Sherlock, I can pray to or ask any human creature for information or intercession or help. But it is God alone that I worship. I will ask or pray to any of his people, on earth or in heaven—asking them to intercede or pray for me to the Lord our God. We are after all a big family and the God whom we worship is the Father of us all.

I am so glad I found the Catholic Church and escaped the muddle of mucked up ideas I used to call “Bible-only Christianity.”

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Dealing with Cancer: Amy Carrico’s Story

by Steve Ray on December 16, 2013

This is a heart-wrenching, yet beautiful story of a wife and mom with cancer and how she’s decided to deal with it. She’s a inspiration to us all – living in the heart of her family, God and the Church.

For other beautifully crafted Catholic and personal videos by Fr. Josh and Lolek Productions, click HERE.

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From my friend Leonard Alt:

He had been in a coma for ten days, no speech, no voluntary movements of the body. His condition was such that the only question was whether he would live. There was no question of recovering from what was diagnosed as permanent and inoperable brain damage… I was about to leave his hospital room.

But then a thought came to me. “That Vincentian priest. He said, ‘The Miraculous Medal works.’…No sooner did I finish the prayer of enrolling the boy in the Confraternity than he… opened his eyes for the first time in two weeks. He saw his mother and said, “Ma, I want some ice cream.” He had been given only intravenous feeding….

After a few minutes of stunned silence, a doctor was called. The doctor examined the boy and told the parents they could give him something to eat. The next day began a series of tests on the boy’s condition. X-rays showed the brain damage was gone. Http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/mirmedal.htm

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Leonard writes: After sharing this on Facebook there were quite a few people who objected because there was an inanimate object being used in healing.   They thought it was idolatry. These people believed they were Biblically literate and yet they had absolutely no comprehension of the way that God used inanimate objects in the Bible; and so I have included a note giving some of these verses!   ENJOY!!!   

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Cloths, bones and shadows used by God to heal and raise from the dead!

“So they cast the dead man into the grave of Elisha, and everyone went off. But when the man came in contact with the BONES of Elisha, he came back to life and rose to his feet”(2 Kgs. 13:21).

“So that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his SHADOW might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed” (Acts 5:15-16).

“So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face CLOTHS or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them” (Acts 19:11-12).

http://www.facebook.com/notes/leonard-alt/13-in-response-to-jesus-heals-through-relics-casie-kyle-says-thats-not-biblical-/210357755680842

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My Defiant and Proud Declaration for My Few Remaining Years

November 28, 2013

Next year I will turn 60 years old. It is a time to examine what I’ve done and what I will do if God grants me a few more decades. It is sobering to hit a milestone and realize that at best I will have about twenty strong years left, maybe thirty. What will I [...]

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We Need Saints without Cassocks

November 26, 2013

By an unknown author (falsely attributed to Pope Francis) We need saints without veil or cassock. We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers. We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends. We need saints who put God in first place, but who let go of their [...]

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Butt-prints in the Sand

November 9, 2013

One night I had a wondrous dream one set of footprints there was seen. The footprints of my precious Lord, but mine were not upon the shore. And then some stranger prints appeared and I asked the Lord: “What have we here?” The prints are large and round and neat but Lord they are too [...]

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Medjugorje “Seer” Banned from Making Presentations in U.S.

November 9, 2013

Congregation for the Defense of the Faith prefect says alleged apparitions have yet to be ruled authentic VATICAN CITY, November 07, 2013 (Zenit.org) – Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has reiterated that the Vatican has yet to rule the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, as authentic. [...]

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Mary a Mediatrix? Isn’t there just One Mediator?

October 30, 2013

The Bible says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). Yet Catholics refer to Mary as a Mediatrix (feminine form of the word mediator). So, isn’t that prima facie evidence that Catholics make up doctrines, worship Mary and disregard the Bible? [...]

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Meaning of Sacred and Immaculate Hearts

September 21, 2013

My non-Christian brother found two paintings at an art show and asked me, “What in the world are these? They seem to have pagan elements. What do they have to do with Jesus and Mary?” Here is my explanation. If you readers have anything to add, please post it in the Comments below. Thanks. Thanks. [...]

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Is God Like a GPS System?

September 8, 2013

There are a million reasons why God is NOT like a GPS system but I am in Australia and I made a wrong turn and my GPS started reprimanding me and saying “Recalculating!” For those who don’t know, GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a nifty little device that links up with positional [...]

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The Mystery Priest at the Accident Discovered…

August 13, 2013

…The mystery priest who recently showed up at a crash site, anointed a victim and then vanished has been identified — and he came forward by posting his identity in the comments section of a Catholic news site. The story began on Aug. 4, after Aaron Smith, 26, struck Katie Lentz, 19, in a head-on car crash. [...]

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Great Catholic Summer Camp for Boys

August 10, 2013

Fr. Scott Courtney, my good friend and frequent chaplain for our pilgrimages, has a great summer camp for young men at Camp Kateri Tekakwitha in Nebraska. They wrestle in the mud, have jousting battles, obstacle courses, ball games, and then they memorize Scripture, pray together, go to confession and have reverent holy daily Mass. This [...]

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Mysterious Priest Performs Miracle at Site of Mercedes Crash

August 8, 2013

by Rajah Maples, Posted: 08.06.2013 at 11:15 PM, Updated: 08.07.2013 at 4:30 PM CENTER, MO. – Rescue workers want to thank a higher power for coming to the rescue early Sunday morning. Emergency crews spent an hour and a half trying to extricate a 19-year-old Quincy woman trapped in her in crushed car on Missouri [...]

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For those who thought religion was dead or the Catholic Church irrelevant: Feast your eyes on this!

July 30, 2013

For over a hundred years we’ve heard the foolish obituary, “God is dead!” The Enlightenment enlightened us to this truth and told us we were alone in the Universe. No God! We men are in charge and the center of all things. We shape our destiny, we create meaning for our existence, we can rid [...]

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Should This Baby Be Aborted? You Decide

July 10, 2013

In the United States, there are many situations in which abortions are recommended, even encouraged by family, counselors, medical personnel and even religious advisors. Sometimes an abortion is recommended because of difficult circumstances and other times simply for convenience. Here are four cases for you to consider. Should these babies be aborted? You decide! Four [...]

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Was He Ready to Die?

June 14, 2013

It was just a normal morning — alarm clock, shower, espresso, dress and a saunter down the sidewalk to work. For Paul is was another day with a whole lifetime ahead of him. But today was different. Someone else got up this morning too. They had their coffee dressed and jumped in the car. They [...]

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