by Fr Richard Heilman | March 22, 2015 2:00 AM
Becoming “Masters of Mental Prayer.” Each day, during Lent, we will practice “Mental Prayer,” as we reflect on, and desire the greatest gifts, so God may show each one of us a “More Excellent Way” (1 Cor. 12:13). Do your best to find a minimum of 15 minutes each day. By the regular practice of Mental Prayer, you will become more attuned to the “Still Small Voice.”
GUIDE TO MENTAL PRAYER: HERE
What is it that can snatch the Divine Life from us, killing off any zeal for God’s mission of battling evil and saving souls? There are actually three wounds that ravage souls and bring spiritual death to them by turning away from God. St. John speaks of these evils when he says: “For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh (craving for sensual gratification) and the lust of the eyes (greedy longings of the mind) and the pride of life (assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things) — these do not come from the Father but are from the world (itself)” (1 Jn 2:16). These three wounds destroy the original harmony we once shared with God and His creation in the garden. The greater one’s attachment is to these worldly desires, the more detached one becomes to God’s will and God’s Divine Life.
This triple slavery, which replaces the original harmony, is order overthrown. Christ came to restore the order that had been destroyed; with this end in view, He gave us the three evangelical counsels (or counsels of perfection). The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that these virtues have a clear application to everyone who aspires to a life of discipleship.
In the face of a materialistic, consumer culture where one’s value is often determined by earning power or the acquisition of wealth, a spirit of poverty testifies to our dependence upon God as the source of all gifts and our solidarity with one another, especially the poor. What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? In Matthew 13:44 Jesus tells this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” To be poor in spirit is to realize that nothing we have is worth more than the kingdom of God. Knowing this, we become willing to part with anything we have if it hinders us from receiving the kingdom. This is why Jesus said, “No one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Lk 14:33). Being poor in spirit does not always mean taking vows of poverty or despising the blessings God has given us. Instead, it is a condition of the heart. The main point is always “detachment.” It’s not whether you have it or not, it’s how you have it.
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