Have you ever been at church or a prayer meeting where the leader gets everyone to quiet down by saying something like,
“Let us now place ourselves in the presence of the Lord.”
They usually try and look real pious closing their eyes and folding their hands. Then everyone settles down feeling like they’ve reached a more God centered frame of mind.
I read book a while back that pointed out the absurdity of all this. We all understand what the leader wanted to accomplish, but could we actually put ourselves outside of God’s presence? How would we go about doing that?
Silence on Fire: The Prayer of Awareness by author and priest William Shannon challenged my thinking using the teachings of Thomas Merton. Shannon steers us away from a “getting our prayers in” mentality and instead encourages us to:
- Live more present to everything we do,
- Increase our conscious awareness of God’s very real presence and
- Work at seeing all we do as a prayer.
The book really challenged me. It helped me reframe my relationship with the Lord so it became less like traveling somewhere in order to find Him and more like the lifting a fog that lessens my awareness or ability to experience Him.
My new blogging effort aims at helping us all (and this really includes me) grow in this awareness proposed by both Merton and Shannon. My first step was to launch the My Take on the Sunday Readings podcast at www.PurelyCatholic.com. My Take is a weekly audio podcast to help listeners prepare for the upcoming Sunday Mass. Visitors can listen to right on the website or download for listening on the IPOD or MP3 player.
Each episode starts with the reading of the Sunday first, second and gospel readings aloud followed by a reflection and questions to help listeners reflect and mediate. Each episode is 20 minutes max and is released so they’re available a week in advance.
The www.PurelyCatholic.com website is built so listeners can comment on the week’s program and share their insight with other listeners. The idea there is to provide a forum for exchanging ideas with others.
My plan is to continue growing the site with other written, audio or video blogs discussing topics relevant to Catholics as they work at growing in their faith and awareness of God’s very real presence in our lives.
Copyright 2010 Jorge Lazaro Diaz