My Dear Parishioners,
This Saturday, May 18th Archbishop Chaput ordained 7 men to the priesthood for our Archdiocese. They are Fr. David Buffum, Fr. Francesco D’amico, Fr. Alessandro Giardini, Fr. David O’Brien, Fr. Alexander Pancoast, Fr. Anthony Raymundo, and Fr. Jonathan Rice. Please pray for them as they assume their first assignments. It is also a good idea to pray for all priests at this time, as this is the time when many of the priest changes are announced. While we rejoice and celebrate the ordination of these seven men, I need to point out that they still are not enough. Please pray for vocations. We are in serious need. It is a good idea to encourage young men you know to consider if they are being called to the priesthood. For more information about the Diocesan Priesthood in Philadelphia, visit www.heedthecall.org.
I mentioned in last week’s homily that we need to learn how to pray and I gave the example of a simple examination of conscience as a way to pray. After Mass, a couple of people asked if I could write about it so that they could have a record. I also spoke a few months ago, about a meditative form of prayer known as “centering prayer.” People seemed interested in that as well, so I take this opportunity to remind you about both forms of prayer.
Centering prayer is about relaxing your body and mind and opening yourself to receive from God. It is a good idea to do it in a quiet space. You start by focusing first on your breathing for a few minutes. Then it is common to take a word or phrase and just meditate on it. Some people use a favorite line from scripture or even just the word JESUS. In my homily, I used the phrase from Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God” as a way to remind us that God is in charge. First, you slowly meditate on the entire sentence. Then each time after, you drop a word or phrase and meditate on the new phrase for a while. So, “Be still and know that I am.” Then, “Be still and know.” Then, “Be Still.” Until you are left with just, “Be.” Once you have spent some time with this, then you slowly start to add words or phrases back until you are back at, “Be still and know that I am God.” You can then repeat this for as long as needed.
The prayer that I spoke about last week is an Examination of Conscience taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. It is best done at the end of the day. Here is a brief overview to this 10 minute prayer. 1.) First remind yourself that you are in the presence of God. You are His temple. 2.) Then, give thanks to God. Pick a few things from your day that you are especially grateful for: family, the weather, the food you’ve eaten, the basketball game, etc. 3.) Prayerfully review your thoughts and actions from the day. What did you do, what did you avoid? Whom did you encounter? Where was God trying to lead you? How did you respond? 4.) Ask forgiveness for any sins you have committed with true sorrow and repentance. 5.) Ask for God’s help to grow in friendship with Him.
God Bless You!