SOP6 – Conversion in the Context of Prayer – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

Conversion in the Context of Prayer  – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

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.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

From Pope Benedict’s 6 audience on prayer:

Firstly, is the priority of the first commandment of God’s Law: having no god but God. When God disappears man falls into slavery, into idolatry, as has happened in our time under totalitarian regimes and with the various forms of nihilism which make man dependent on idols and idolatry, which enslave”. Secondly, he continued, “the main objective of prayer is conversion: the fire of God which transforms our hearts and makes us capable of seeing God and living for Him and for others”. Thirdly, “the Church Fathers tell us that this story is … a foretaste of the future, which is Christ. It is a step on the journey towards Christ.

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

 

SOP5 – Waiting for God – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

Waiting for God – 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 as 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.  “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.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

From  Pope Benedict’s 5 audience on prayer:

“Tired of following a path with a God who is invisible now that Moses the mediator has also gone, the people demand a tangible, palpable presence of the Lord and find an accessible god, within the reach of human beings, in Aaron’s molten metal calf. This is a constant temptation on the path of faith: avoiding the divine mystery by building a comprehensible god that corresponds to our own preconceptions and plans”.

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

 

SOP4 – Who Are We? Wrestling with God – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

Who Are We? Wrestling with God – 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?

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

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; Tim 4:7) and to ask, in prayer, for his blessing, that he may renew us in the expectation of beholding his Face. Thank you.

 

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

 

SOP3 – The Mystery of Intercessory Prayer and God’s Great Mercy – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

The Mystery of Intercessory Prayer and God’s Great Mercy- 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?

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

From  Pope Benedict’s 3 audience on prayer:

This is the power of prayer. For through intercession, the prayer to God for the salvation of others, the desire for salvation which God nourishes for sinful man is demonstrated and expressed. Evil, in fact, cannot be accepted, it must be identified and destroyed through punishment: The destruction of Sodom had exactly this function.

 

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

SOP2 – Faith and Reason in the Life of Prayer – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

Faith and Reason in the Life of Prayer – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI 

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, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

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.

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

 

SOP1 – Why We Need Prayer – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

Why We Need Prayer – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI 

“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.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

From  Pope Benedict’s 1st audience on prayer:

Human life is a fabric woven of good and of evil, of undeserved suffering and of joy and beauty that spontaneously and irresistibly impel us to ask God for that light and that inner strength which support us on earth and reveal a hope beyond the boundaries of death.

In the examples of prayer of the various cultures which we have considered, we can see a testimony of the religious dimension and of the desire for God engraved on the heart of every human being, which receives fulfilment and full expression in the Old and in the New Testament. The Revelation, is in fact purifying and brings to its fullness man’s original yearning for God, offering to him, in prayer, the possibility of a deeper relationship with the heavenly Father.

At the beginning of our journey in the “school of prayer” let us now   so that the relationship with him in prayer may be ever more intense, affectionate and constant. Once again, let us say to him: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk 11:1).

 

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

 

AR#12 – St. Therese and the Present Moment – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating Ph.D.

St. Therese of Lisieux said the following: “If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient. But I only look at the present. I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.” In these remarks, St. Therese is trying to point to the truth that is buried deep within the Christian revelation. God only lives in the present moment. He holds all time together in the present. For ourselves, we get lost many times in the past, which could breed nostalgia and grief. Or we anxiously and fearfully try to make the present come quicker. This Advent, ask the Lord for the grace to live in the present so that our gratitude towards all that He is giving us now will deepen. And in our deepening gratitude, will be born a new fervor for worship. For worship is the fruit of the grateful heart.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

We highly recommend – The Eucharist and the Hope of Conversion with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. Discerning Hearts Podcast


For more from Deacon James Keating check out his “Discerning Heart” page

AR#11- The Grace to Meek – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating Ph.D.


The patient one is also the meek one. In meekness, we have received God’s love so deeply, that we securely possess our own identities. Meekness is not weakness or some type of emotional withdrawal. To be meek, is to have suffered the coming of God’s love so deeply in our hearts, that we finally know who we are. And so we are no longer motivated to act or to choose out of fear or anxiety. These latter are the hallmark of impatient men. Impatient men choose out of fear or anxiety because they choose to relieve their fear, to console and to diminish their fear. But in the meantime, acting out of fear negates the power of their acting, as it flows only from weakness, and not the strength of being in communion with God. This Advent, let us ask for the grace to be meek. The grace to receive his love so deeply, that we finally come to fully possess our identity and banish from our lives all actions that are born in fear or anxiety.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

We highly recommend – The Eucharist and the Hope of Conversion with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. Discerning Hearts Podcast


For more from Deacon James Keating check out his “Discerning Heart” page

AR#10 – Receiving Love Deeply – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating Ph.D.


In the area of the new evangelization, we need to receive more in prayer. Even more than give witness to an action or word. The deeper we receive his love in prayer, the fewer our words will have to be to have great effect. God’s harvest awaits those who have received His love deeply. And for those who have received his love deeply, they bring forth great fruit. This Advent, let us overcome our impatience to want to spread the Gospel in haste. Let us first spend time deeply receiving the Gospel ourselves, so that the living word of God will transform our hearts, and we may become not simply people who carry words, or actions; witnessing to the love of God. But that we ourselves may become instances of the word of the love our God Himself. We ourselves may become, in our bodies, icons of the love of God. This Advent, let’s deepen our capacity to receive God’s love in prayer and then become this love. The love that the new evangelization is crying out for.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

We highly recommend – The Eucharist and the Hope of Conversion with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. Discerning Hearts Podcast


For more from Deacon James Keating check out his “Discerning Heart” page

AR#9 – The True Way of Love – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating Ph.D.


The impatient one, above all, desires to speed up time and to get what he wants, when he wants it. In this way, impatience is related to violence. Whereas patience takes suffering upon the self. The impatient one makes others suffer. The patient one suffers for the sake of others. This Advent, the one who suffered for our sake, will come and take on flesh; be born into our world and teach all of us the true way of love. It is not to be impatient, but to suffer for the sake of others. To suffer for the goodness of others. To suffer for what benefits others. Jesus, who lives within all Christians, moves the heart to this new kind of patience. Let us welcome it, and make choices that further the welfare of others.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

We highly recommend – The Eucharist and the Hope of Conversion with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. Discerning Hearts Podcast


For more from Deacon James Keating check out his “Discerning Heart” page