Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pondering Pages/The Strangest Way

I loved The Strangest Way-Walking the Christian Path by Fr. Robert Barron, so I'm sharing some of my favorite quotes from the book for this week's Pondering Pages contribution in conjunction with Lara's Holy Mothering MEME. I hope that you will find them to be as inspiring as I did. Most of them deal with prayer, and what I love about his suggestions is that they are so easy, such as simply touching a cross necklace to center a chaotic day in Christ. One thing I have been doing in the past year is praying the prayer of the priest at Mass during the preparation of the altar, "Lord, wash away my iniquity, cleanse me from all my sin", each time I wash my hands. I love simple prayers that we can easily work into our daily routine so that we can obey St. Paul in his instruction to "pray constantly."(Thes 5:16-18) So without further ado, some great words of wisdom from Fr. Robert Barron...

The great mark of the disciple is obedience, abiding by the divine command; and the great mark of the anti-disciple is trying to master God.”

“No one is ever holy without suffering. Holiness involves suffering because holiness finally is reduced to love, the forgetting of oneself.”

Regarding the Jesus prayer: “While one prays the first part of the mantra, one is encouraged to breathe in deeply, filling the lungs entirely. This act symbolizes the filling of the heart with the living presence of Christ, the placing of Jesus at the center of all that we are. At the conclusion of the payer, one holds one’s breath for a brief period and then exhales while reciting the conclusion “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” This last gesture evokes the expelling of sin from the heart. The double movement of breathing in and breathing out is sort of a cleansing process, a taking in of the Holy Spirit and a letting go of unclean spirits.”

“The most striking quality of the rosary prayer is its deliberate pace, the way it, despite ourselves, slows us down. It is a common practice of the spiritual masters that the soul likes to go slow. This is because it likes to savor. Thomas Aquinas said there are two basic moves of the will, to seek after the good that is absent and to rest in the good possessed.”

“The touching of the crucifix focuses the entire personality on the power of Christ-centering and grounding it-this act wards off powers, interior and exterior, that seek to unravel the unity of the soul…spiritual integrity is affected, not simply by interior processes, but also by moves of the body, Christ entering through touch as much as through thought or feeling. A crucifix worn around one’s neck can serve as a powerful centering device. In the course of the day, when beset by a dozen worries and distractions, a believer can simply touch that symbol and thereby effect the gathering of the soul.”

“When we pray, it is not so much keen feelings of devotion that force us to our knees as kneeling that gives rise to keen feelings of devotion.”

“The humble man will always be talkative; for he is interested in his subject and knows that it is best shown by talk. But the proud man will be generally silent; for he is not interested in his subject, but in himself.”
I liked this last one because I am such a chatterbox and I found comfort here about something that I had considered to be a weakness in myself. Maybe it's not a weakness after all!

1 comment:

  1. Anne,
    These are great quotes. I especially like the one about the Jesus Prayer; the way Fr. Barron describes it is exactly how I learned to pray it and I pray this prayer often.
    I also like what he said about the crucifix.While I don't have one for around my neck, my rosary is usually in my pocket and reaching for the crucifix is comforting and it helps to refocus my thoughts.
    Thanks for sharing these.