We begin with a quote from Saint Peter Julian Eymard in which he stresses the absolute necessity of prayer.
“Just as the natural life depends on nourishment, so the supernatural life is absolutely dependent on prayer. Though you should be obliged to give up everything else, penance, religious labors, even Communion, never give up prayer! It belongs to every state in life and sanctifies them all. ‘What!’ you ask. ‘Give up Communion, in which we receive Jesus Himself, rather than give up prayer?’ Yes, for if you do not pray, this Sacrament in which Jesus comes to you will not diffuse its divine remedy within your soul. Without prayer we are powerless to do any great thing for Jesus. Prayer invests us with His virtues; and if we do not pray, neither the saints nor God Himself will bring us forward on the road of sanctity.”
If we wish to increase our faith and understanding of Jesus in the Real Presence and to grow in love of God, we must never neglect to pray, not for a single day. This week’s challenge is to review the primer on prayer and make sure that we are spending at least 5 minutes every day in mental prayer. The goal by Week 4 is that we will be spending at least 15 minutes in mental prayer every day.
All of us are familiar with vocal prayer which involves the devoted recitation of a set formula of words, for example, the praying of the Our Father or the Hail Mary. Vocal prayer is the lowest level of prayer, and in order to progress in virtue and love of God it is usually necessary that we employ a higher level of prayer. Mental prayer is the next step along the way of prayer. If we keep each other accountable about anything during these eight weeks, let it be prayer, because without it, we will be unable to receive the Divine light and abundant graces waiting for us in the Holy Eucharist.
Staying committed to this practice of mental prayer will require making a plan and being intentional on a daily basis. From the earliest days of the Church the faithful have employed something called a rule of life. A rule of life is a set of daily commitments that provides us direction, focus, and accountability in our spiritual life. Establishing a personal rule of life is indispensable for growth in love of God.
To create one, we should begin by asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Then we might list some daily spiritual practices that we will commit to. In general, this list should include mental prayer, more frequent Holy Communion, Adoration, and Confession, an examen, spiritual reading, devotion to Mary, and almsgiving. The upcoming weekly spiritual challenges will focus on this general list of practices, giving you a step by step path to slowly build your rule of life.
Week 2 Challenge Summary
- Commit or recommit to 5 minutes of daily mental prayer with a goal of 15 minutes daily by Week 4 (see Mental Prayer and Spiritual Reading Primer)
- Begin building a personal rule of life
Primers For This Week
(suggested but optional)
- Mental Prayer and Spiritual Reading
- The Spiritual and Psychological Value of Frequent Confession
- Distrust of Self and Confidence in God
Readings For This Week
- The Teaching of the Church on the Real Presence in the Sixteenth Century
- The Church’s Eucharistic Doctrine from the Sixteenth Century into Modern Times
- The Sacrament of the Eucharist
- Of the five dogmas proclaimed at the Council of Trent, was there one in particular that stood out to you and why?
- What graces have you received from Eucharistic Adoration?
- Have you considered signing up for a weekly Holy Hour to cover an hour where Jesus is currently being left alone in a local Perpetual Adoration Chapel?
- What barriers do you have in your life that prevent you from receiving Holy Communion every day as the laity in the early Church did and as Pope Saint Piux X says is a necessity in this modern age of martyrs? What changes can you make to overcome these barriers?
- How have the demonic pressures of secularism and modernism affected you and the Church?
- What is our best means of attaining and maintaining the virtue of chastity in a secularized “sex-mad world?”
- Why is the Holy Eucharist the greatest of the sacraments?
- Do you feel called to this week’s spiritual challenge, and do you have a plan to undertake it?