Are You in a Prayer Rut?

Save-the-Dates for Lent:

Is your prayer life in a slump?  Do you pray the same way every day?  Or do you find it difficult to pray at all?  Would you like to learn some new prayer techniques from within our rich Catholic tradition?  Join me for a Lenten Day of Reflection: “Prayer: An Invitation to Friendship with God” (Sat., Mar. 18 at Caritas Christi in Hamden).  We will talk about what prayer is, discuss approaches to some of its natural challenges, and explore some specific techniques for praying that you may have never tried.  We will take time to pray and to discuss our experiences.  Each participant will leave with a packet of prayer ideas and a new perspective on how to spend time in God’s presence.  For more information, see Upcoming Programs or this flyer.

Another Lenten program I’m really excited about this year is a collaboration with the amazing choir at my home parish of St. Ann in Milford, directed by Peter DeMarco.  If you’ve never heard the St. Ann choir (they sing on Sundays at 9:45 a.m. and also have concerts throughout the year), please come and be inspired!  “Be With Me, Lord: An Evening of Music and Reflection for Lent” (Mon., Mar. 27, 7 p.m.).  The choir will sing, and I will offer meditations.  See Upcoming Programs for more information.

January Publications:

For readers of Magnificat and St. Anthony Messenger – keep an eye out for my articles this month!  My Magnicat reflection (“Christ’s Own Forever”) is about the challenge of allowing God to take care of our children so we can stop fretting over them.  My St. Anthony Messenger article (“I Will Remember for You”) is about our communal memory as a people of faith, and how at times our own faith memories can sustain the faith of others.  If these print publications become available online, I will be sure to share them with you!

A New Parish Resource:

For those of you who are Catechetical Leaders or members of various small groups in your parishes, I wanted you to be aware of a wonderful new parish resource.  Little Rock Scripture Study is publishing a new series called “Alive in the Word.”  Unlike the longer Bible studies typically offered by Little Rock, this new series consists of 3-session booklets that are available at a reasonable cost and are super-flexible in their use.  They can be used by individuals, or in small groups (meeting for 3 sessions) or even for a retreat day.  Titles out right now include topics like Mary, Moses, Mercy and Trust.  I’m working on one for Lent that will be available Lent 2018.  You can find out more and view sample pages at:  www.aliveintheword.org.

Now if you've put up with my announcements (sorry, I have to do it once in awhile!), the least I can do is offer you something interesting and beautiful to look at and maybe even meditate on.  Please see an explanation below the image.  Thanks as always to John Kohan at Sacred Art Pilgrim.

Sadao Watanabe, Christ Carrying the Cross, Stencil Print.  "This hand-colored stencil print on mulberry paper of Christ carrying the Cross was a personal favorite of Japanese Graphic Artist Sadao Watanabe. In a culture that had earlier embraced the compassionate teachings of Buddhism, Japanese converts to Christianity were drawn to the image of a God who suffered alongside them rather than the remote and judgmental Father God of the Western Christian tradition. Adapting a cloth-dying technique from the Okinawan Islands using hand-cut stencils and resist paste to make images on paper, Watanabe masterfully creates a Japanese vision of Christ, the God who has humbled himself to become man, falling to his knees under the weight of the Cross he has chosen to bear on his shoulders to redeem humanity. There is a hauntingly wistful and tender expression on Christ's understated, mask-like features. This Japanese Jesus gracefully turns his broken body to look back at those who are sending him to his death with both sorrow and forgiveness. His arm is draped over the upright beam of his means of execution, transformed with decorative patterns by this one-time designer of kimonos into an object of beauty. Divine love triumphs over hate in a scene of surprising harmony and tranquility" (John Kohan).  Courtesy sacredartpilgrim.com.

Sadao Watanabe, Christ Carrying the Cross, Stencil Print.  "This hand-colored stencil print on mulberry paper of Christ carrying the Cross was a personal favorite of Japanese Graphic Artist Sadao Watanabe. In a culture that had earlier embraced the compassionate teachings of Buddhism, Japanese converts to Christianity were drawn to the image of a God who suffered alongside them rather than the remote and judgmental Father God of the Western Christian tradition. Adapting a cloth-dying technique from the Okinawan Islands using hand-cut stencils and resist paste to make images on paper, Watanabe masterfully creates a Japanese vision of Christ, the God who has humbled himself to become man, falling to his knees under the weight of the Cross he has chosen to bear on his shoulders to redeem humanity. There is a hauntingly wistful and tender expression on Christ's understated, mask-like features. This Japanese Jesus gracefully turns his broken body to look back at those who are sending him to his death with both sorrow and forgiveness. His arm is draped over the upright beam of his means of execution, transformed with decorative patterns by this one-time designer of kimonos into an object of beauty. Divine love triumphs over hate in a scene of surprising harmony and tranquility" (John Kohan).  Courtesy sacredartpilgrim.com.