SOP1 – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating
“Life without prayer has no meaning or points of reference”. The relationship between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is so essential to our understanding of prayer. The meaning of the Church. Suffering the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the face of God. Do not be afraid, He will teach you happiness.
SOP2 – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating
Episode 2 – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI – Faith and reason in the life of prayer. Allowing God to effect our minds, as well as our hearts. If you let God close you will be free…to let him in so close that God prays in you. Letting God’s love be the norm of our culture…in the other and in the poor. The role of silence in prayer and posture of kneeling.
Deacon James Keating, PhD, the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.
From Pope Benedict’s 2nd audience on prayer:
A look at recent history reveals the failure of the predictions of those who, in the age of the Enlightenment, foretold the disappearance of religions and who exalted absolute reason, detached from faith, a reason that was to dispel the shadows of religious dogmatism and was to dissolve the “world of the sacred”, restoring to the human being freedom, dignity and autonomy from God. The experience of the past century, with the tragedy of the two World Wars, disrupted the progress that autonomous reason, man without God, seemed to have been able to guarantee.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence…. Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the one who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to man’s essential search for God” (n. 2566). We could say — as I explained in my last Catecheses — that there has been no great civilization, from the most distant epoch to our day, which has not been religious.
SOP3 – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating
Episode 3- The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI – Abraham the great Patriarch who prays in intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah. The mystery of intercessory prayer and God’s great mercy. When we persist in prayer, like Abraham, the more we come to know God and trust in His love for us. How sin corrupts our capacity to receive God’s movement of protection and love. How the sacrifice of Christ opens the door to the mystery. If we can learn how to pray, then we learn how to be loved. How do we pray for others?
SOP4 – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating
Episode 4- The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI – Jacob wrestling with Angel. The mystery of the name. We have to let God ask us who we are or will you resist and remain isolated? Our prayer is only going to be fruitful if we surrender ourselves to the question…who are you? Like Jacob, once we give over our name then God can begin to transfigure that name, or in other words, our persons to be more inline with His will, His love, His power. Eventually, in prayer, we have to enter into the struggle…what is really going on in our souls, in our hearts and are our wrestling with God’s love. We yield our identity to God’s love.
The wounding of Jacob by the Angel. It is the symbol of the wound, the opening of the self, which symbolizes an entryway to vulnerability…God is deeply affecting us. God’s love, concern, and fascination with us is how He enters into our being and “wounds” us. If we could “be still” and allow Him to love us, He becomes victorious within us.
The name we yield to God is our heart…the core of our being. At Baptism, we give over our name, so we give the power over to God over us. How the “wrestling occurs” and if we stay in it long enough God “wounds” us, into His hands we commend our “spirits”. How does Jesus transform even this event?
From Pope Benedict’s 4 audience on prayer:
Dear brothers and sisters, our entire lives are like this long night of struggle and prayer, spent in desiring and asking for God’s blessing, which cannot be grabbed or won through our own strength but must be received with humility from him as a gratuitous gift that ultimately allows us to recognize the Lord’s face. And when this happens, our entire reality changes; we receive a new name and God’s blessing. And, what is more: Jacob, who receives a new name, and becomes Israel, also gives a new name to the place where he wrestled with God, where he prayed; he renames it Penuel, which means: “The Face of God”. With this name he recognizes that this place is filled with the Lord’s presence, making that land sacred and thus leaving a memorial of that mysterious encounter with God. Whoever allows himself to be blessed by God, who abandons himself to God, who permits himself to be transformed by God, renders a blessing to the world. May the Lord help us to fight the good fight of the faith (cf. 1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7) and to ask, in prayer, for his blessing, that he may renew us in the expectation of beholding his Face.
SOP5 – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating
Episode 5- The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI – What is the authentic understanding of “intercession” in the context of prayer. Moses speaks to God a friend. The invisibility of God puts deep questions in our hearts. Unless we have the intimacy of relationship with God in our hearts, our fear will overwhelm our faith. We also lose patience when waiting for God. The “waiting” is a dangerous period for human beings; it is literally suffering for us. The virtue of patience is the remedy. “Waiting” causes us to run to other diversions…it happens in worship. “Where are you” “Are you real?” “Can I believe what is in the Word?” “Please help me.” If we go deep into our hearts, the content of our waiting becomes the occasion for our intimacy. But if we just feel the pain of waiting, we will go looking for lost gods. It comes down to trust. The role of our memory is so important.
SOP6 – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating
What is the authentic understanding of “conversion” in the context of prayer. Deacon Keating discusses the reflection offered by the Holy Father of the encounter of Elijah with prophets of Baal.