The PrayerBlog

How do we create space for God in our lives? Reflections from Catholics exploring our relationship with God through prayer.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016 12:54

When the Pope went to Lesbos

By Andrew Hamilton

*This article first appeared on the CAPSA website

There is so much to like about Pope Francis’ journey to Lesbos.  There is also so much for us as Australians to be humbled by.  He undertook his travel at a time when the people seeking protection on Lesbos began being put into enclosed camps, facing deportation to Turkey and perhaps return to the mortal danger from which they fled.

Saturday, 16 April 2016 16:09

Four Insights from Amoris Laetitia

Michael McVeigh

Pope Francis’ latest exhortation has come out just in time for me, as I prepare to be married in June.

While many have focused on the aspects to do with the divorced and remarried, and couples in crisis, I’ve chosen to focus my reading more on what the Pope is saying in the exhortation about our relationship with God and with each other.

Here are four things that have stood out for me already.

Wednesday, 06 April 2016 11:48

When 'Alleluia' Is Not Our Song

By Susannah Bishop
 
It is Easter! (well, it was Easter three weeks ago and we are still in the Easter season.) 
Easter is that season where ‘Alleluias’ are plenty, where the dazzling figure of a levitating Christ, shows his open but bloodless wounds across churches. 
And why wouldn’t we celebrate? It is all so bright and joyous! Soon enough we will go back to the tried roads of ordinary time, when we go back to having God in heaven, death below and us wandering somewhere in the middle.
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 14:00

Do you love me?

Susie Hii
 
‘Do you love me?’  Jesus asked Peter three times, to Peter’s annoyance (John 21: 15- 17).  
 
Why did Jesus ask Peter the question three times?  Was it because he denied him three times?  Why did he have to ask the question at all? Jesus’ response to Peter’s reply was not ‘I love you too’ or ‘look after me’ but ‘look after my sheep and my lambs’.
 
When my children were little, we asked each other the question in a song we made up.  We even made up a word, ‘bure’.  One sings, ‘Do you love me?’ The other replied, ‘Of course, I do.’  ‘Are you sure, bure?’ ‘Of course, I am.’ 
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 12:20

Giving to the giver

By Steph Unger
 
I'm well loving Easter this year... It's just really special this time around for some reason. As Lent drew to an end and I entered Holy Week, I was relishing this time of the year more than ever. I work as a youth minister in a parish, and I’m finding myself inspired and touched by the gift of young people, their insights, and our faith. 
 
I was also reflecting a lot about life and the ways in which I love. In the book ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman (and the various spin-offs of the same title), the ways in which individuals give and receive love are outlined. They way the book is written is instructive, and shows why we often don’t appreciate people’s love for us or indeed, see our own value in the lives of others. Chapman explains that for some people, their love language is to give gifts, whereas others use words of affirmation, and others communicate through physical touch.
Sunday, 06 March 2016 10:45

In celebration of her

Written by

By Beth Doherty

‘My strength returns to me with my cup of coffee and the reading of the psalms’ wrote Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. These words were likely written between 1960 and 1975.

‘Let that presence (of God) settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love’, wrote Teresa of Avila, in the 1500s. 

‘The Lord desires mercy, not sacrifice. And no matter what I do to check off a box and puff up my chest, what God desires is a chest beat in humility. What God desires is a chest filled by a heart of pure love, a chest assured by God’s constant presence throughout the day. So the next time we are tempted to make time with the Lord just another thing that stands between us and a “successful” day, let’s remember this truth’, wrote Olivia Wilde last week on Blessedisshe.net.

Thursday, 03 March 2016 10:48

The Gift of Being Different

Andy Hamilton SJ 
 
Cultural diversity is a fact of our daily lives. In the streets we see people with turbans, head scarves, clerical collars, the latest sneakers, Armani suits, smell people with Chanel perfume, hear Greek music from the next car, and walk past people playing bocce and others doing Tai Chi in the parks. And mostly we appreciate all this diversity as a blessing.
Tuesday, 23 February 2016 09:09

Be Present

By Genevieve Nicoll
 
It started with a billboard next to a quaint Anglican church in Copenhagen, last July. I was travelling for a wedding and very much enjoying the lack of schedules on my holiday. For once, there was nowhere I had to be, nothing I had to do. This made me more receptive when I stopped to read the priest’s message. He spoke of rest and recreation as “goods” in themselves and that we didn’t have to justify taking a break on the grounds that it would make us more productive. He said that ‘on the contrary, Sabbath rest is an intrinsic and indispensible part of the divine cycle of creation and re-creation.’ The bit that really made me pause was when he said that: ‘taking time away from the incessant demands of phones, emails and social media might be one of the most counter-cultural things that people of faith can do in today’s world. The practice of “switching-off” is, when you think about it, a beautiful act of trust and witness. It testifies to the conviction that God is able to act in the world apart from our human efforts or achievements – it is not all up to us.’
Friday, 19 February 2016 12:44

Repentance, Renewal, Reconciliation

By Brendan Nicholls
 
I have been touched by the enthusiasm and excitement I have been fortunate to witness over the first few days of the school year. Staff and students are full of hope for all that might be and joyful in their approach to the new year. As Catholics we are now two weeks into Lent. I hope that as a community we may enter into this time of reflection, repentance and renewal in a similar way.
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 11:11

Mercy and Reconciliation

By Susannah Bishop

At different times in my life, I have sought love, compassion and mercy. I’ve had to surrender my ego, and accept failure or struggle. As a practising (though imperfect) Catholic Christian for most of my life, I have wrestled, questioned and grown in awareness of my own need to love and be loved by God. At no time have I seen God’s mercy speak louder than when my failures drag me to the confessional, seeking and begging forgiveness and life renewed.

Tuesday, 02 February 2016 10:57

The Name of God is Mercy

Andy Hamilton
 
The best spiritual guides both comfort and provoke us. Pope Francis is no exception. His recent little book, (Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy, Bluebird, ISBN 978 1 5098 2493 9) published to coincide with the beginning of the Year of Mercy, reveals the vision that underpins his distinctive style and message.  His easy and personal writing certainly offers comfort. But his argument is also challenging because central to it are a very strong sense of sin and the traditional form of the Sacrament of reconciliation. Neither of these, I believe, is central among Australian Catholics.
Thursday, 21 January 2016 10:35

I don't know how she does it

By Andrea Grant
 
I’ve returned to work for 2016, fresh from a delightful holiday with my family touring our nation’s capital.  It was one of those family holidays that lifelong memories are made of: a road-trip, late night board-games, corny puns, sun burn and many many laughs and hugs.  One of those ‘you really had to be there’ experiences.
 
I’m grateful to say I was there, by design.  It was an essential part of my role as mother to be there, and such holidays are part of the family life my husband and I are carefully and thoughtfully shaping, blessed as we are with three healthy and happy children and the freedom to choose such experiences.
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 11:29

Making an Option for God

Written by
By Beth Doherty
 
The beginning of the year brings all kinds of resolutions and promises. Fresh starts, new commitments, a different outlook. It’s a bit like Lent for Catholics. We might give something up, or take up something. 
 
‘I will keep a diary or a journal.’
‘I’ll pray every morning.’
‘I will exercise more.’
‘I’ll spend less time on social media.’
‘I will only watch half an hour of reality TV a day.’
‘I’ll eat better and lose a few kilos.’
‘I’ll be more generous to those less fortunate.’
‘I’ll be more present to family and friends.’
 
Perhaps some of these resonate with you?
 
They certainly do with me. 
Thursday, 07 January 2016 10:45

Lord, I have failed

By Raifiel Cyril
 
I have to say I have not experienced much failure in life. 
When I say failure I mean when you give something your best and don’t succeed. 
Which now really makes me wonder if I have always been in my comfort zone, only succeeding at things that were easy anyway? Or attempting only that which I knew I could beat to a pulp. All said and done I quietly believed I would succeed at absolutely anything I tried.
Imagine my shock when I recently lost my job. My self-image of a ‘treasured, dependable, stellar employee’ came crashing down, with no identifiable pieces left. 
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 09:18

God: Tiny, Unassuming, Lying at our Feet

By Peter Day

To some of us it’s a time to pause, to reflect, to stand in awe. But to the vast majority of us it’s the silly season: a time of over-eating, drinking, buying, selling, worrying, partying, beaching, and pressured family gatherings. And don’t the silly season preachers love it; out of hibernation they come to herald their version of the good news - news that is best delivered away from pulpits and outside of Sundays. And what a persuasive, well-packaged homily it is: a seductive narrative that draws so many in: ‘CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR GIVING.’

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