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Fr. Tim’s Homily for March 12, 2017

Second Sunday of Lent -A

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Genesis 12: 1-4a

2 Timothy 1: 8b-10

Matthew 17: 1-9

(Matthew Kelly, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, pages 41-71)

Chapter 2:  Are You Spiritually Healthy?

 

For centuries, we had three sets of Mysteries of the Rosary:  the Joyful, the Sorrowful and the Glorious.  And then in 2002, Pope John Paul II – now Saint John Paul II – gave us a fourth set called the Luminous Mysteries, the Mysteries of Light, to be recited on Thursdays.  And they are:  Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River, the Wedding Feast at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Eucharist.

Of the Luminous Mysteries, my favorite is the fourth one – the Transfiguration.  It is the Gospel passage that we heard today on this Second Sunday of Lent:

“Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  And He was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light….  Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good that we are here’…. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.  Listen to Him’”  [Matthew 17: 1-9].

The Transfiguration was a glimpse of Christ’s glory to give His disciples courage before they witnessed Jesus’ passion and death.

I love that Mystery of the Rosary!  When I pray it, I am always asking the Lord for a glimpse of His presence and His love for me in my daily living.  Just a glimpse, though – to give me the encouragement that I need to carry my cross today and follow Him.

And where does this glimpse originate?  During my times of prayer, when I “listen to Him.”  When I can say with Saint Peter, “Lord, it is good that we are here.”

And so today we take a look together at chapter two in Matthew Kelly’s book, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, which is entitled, “Are You Spiritually Healthy?”  And the subject matter is prayer.

 

  1. 1.    When I am spiritually healthy, nothing bothers me – to the point of depriving me of my peace.

When I am not spiritually healthy, the only way for me to be happy is for everything to go my way…. and never does everything go my way.  So it becomes an impossible scenario, trying to control people and situations.

But part of our inheritance as children of God is a way of life that allows us to be joyful even when things don’t go our way.

When we are spiritually healthy, nothing bothers us – to the point of depriving us of our peace.

 

2.  Life is a collection of days, and some days are better than others.  And if a day does not get off to a good start it rarely finishes as a good day.

How do your best days begin?

Most people don’t know.  This is the first thing that sets Dynamic Catholics apart:  they know how their best days begin.  Dynamic Catholics universally begin their day with some type of prayer, even if the main time they set aside for prayer is later in the day.

The first sign of a Dynamic Catholic is prayer – more specifically, it is a daily commitment to prayer, and establishing a routine of daily prayer.

The great majority of Catholics don’t have a plan when it comes to prayer.  They just pray when the mood strikes them.

Dynamic Catholics not only have a commitment to daily prayer, but they also have a routine for their prayer:  they tend to pray at the same time every day, in the same place every day, and in the same way every day.

Dynamic Catholics have a routine within their routine of daily prayer to make it happen

 

3.  As Matthew Kelly says, “We do an awful lot of talking about prayer, but we spend very little time actually teaching people how to pray” [pg. 47].

Most people, when they pray, sit down and see what happens.  And very often nothing happens.  So they get frustrated and stop praying.

When Dynamic Catholics sit down to pray they don’t just see what happens.  They have a plan.

One of the greatest gifts we can give someone is to help them develop a sustainable prayer life.  And it is learned in the classroom of silence.  For it is in the silence that God speaks to us.

Of course, silence can be excruciating at first.  That is why so few people sit down for a dedicated time of prayer each day.

When two people are first dating, the silence can be excruciating.  But over time, as a relationship develops into a great love, two people often learn to enjoy just being with each other in silence.

A great life of prayer develops in the same way.

 

4.  In the Scriptures we read again and again about Jesus going away to a quiet place.  In today’s Gospel, “Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves.”  We all need our quiet places to be with the Lord.

Where is your favorite quiet place where you live?  Do you have one?  If not, this week establish your quite place where you routinely go to pray.

And so, here in this quiet place, I thought I would present today a way to pray – that each of us can do every day in our own quiet places.

Matthew Kelly asks:  “If you could get every Catholic to pray in the same way for ten minutes each day, how would you encourage them to spend that ten minutes?  The Prayer Process is that one way” [p. 57].

So I will lead us in that Prayer Process right now.  [For those of you who are already using “the Examen Prayer,” you will find this “Prayer Process” very familiar.]

 

 

THE PRAYER PROCESS 

[found in The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic on page 61 and again on page 71, as well as in this weekend’s bulletin]:

 

1. Gratitude: Begin by thanking God in a personal dialogue for whatever you are most grateful for today.

2. Awareness: Revisit the times of the past twenty-four hours when you were the best-version-of-yourself, and when you were not the-best-version-of-yourself. Talk to God about these situations and what you learned from them.

3. Significant Moments: Identify something you experienced in the last twenty-four hours (today) and explore what God might be trying to say to you through that event or person.

4. Peace: Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed against yourself, another person, or Him and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.

5. Freedom: Speak with God about how He is inviting you to change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be the-best-version-of-yourself.

6. Others: Lift up to God anyone you feel called to pray for today, asking God to bless and guide them.

7. Finish by praying the Our Father.

The goal of the Prayer Process is to trigger a regular and meaningful conversation with God.  If you are just beginning, you may want to start with just one minute of conversation with God each day, adding a minute each week until you reach ten.  The key is to get the conversation started.

But whether you start with one minute a day or ten minutes a day, I hope that this experience has left you thinking, “I can do this!”  I hope that this has been a transfiguring moment of encouragement for you.

Take home with you today “The Prayer Process” in this weekend’s bulletin.  Put it in your quiet place and use it every day. Male a commitment to daily prayer, and establish a routine for your daily prayer.  Say to yourself, “I can do this!”

Can we do this?  Yes or yes?

The first sign of a Dynamic Catholic is prayer.

Next week we will look at the second sign of a Dynamic Catholic which is study in chapter 3 which is entitled, “The Genius of Catholicism.”  The page references in The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic are listed in today’s bulletin.

Happy reading, happy praying and happy Lent, everybody!