Deborah Gyapong: August 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cardinal Ouellet on the Eucharistic Congress

Mark June 2008 and Quebec City on your calendars. I think we will see an amazing transformation take place in Canada as the fruit of the Eucharistic Congress that will take place then, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec.

Here's what Cardinal Ouellet had to say about the upcoming Congress at the recent national convention of the Catholic Women's League in Montreal earlier this week.

"I believe the Lord of history is inviting us to bear witness to his love and to challenge the forces of dissolution that are challenging our culture,” Cardinal Ouellet, who is the primate of the church in Canada, told the 600 delegates at the national convention of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) Aug. 13.

“This congress is a grace for our country,” he said, pointing to the need to recover the depth and beauty of the church’s mission and to deepen the Gospel vision of a culture of love.

The congress, set for June 15-22, will coincide with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City. Quebec is also Canada’s oldest diocese, through which missionaries went on to evangelize the whole continent. Cardinal Ouellet said he hopes the congress will “give new life to the consciousness of the Christian roots of our country.”

“We’ve been blessed from the beginning with the gift of saints. Fourteen have been beatified or canonized in the last 40 years,” he said. “Not many countries have so wonderful a story to tell the whole world.”

Read it all here.


The Jesuit Examen of Consciousness

I am writing up an interview I did with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast this week. I asked him how he keeps from getting beaten down by the demands of his ministry, and the busyness that could so easily overwhelm any prayer life.

He said he tries to weave prayer throughout his day and one exercise he tries to do twice a day is the Jesuit Examen of Consciousness.

I looked it up on the web and found this.

The Examen of Consciousness

This is a prayer where we try to find the movement of the Spirit in our daily lives as we reflect on our day. This prayer can be made anywhere: on the beach, in a car, at home, in the library. Many people make the Examen twice daily: once around lunchtime and again before going to bed. There are five simple steps to the Examen, which should take 10-15 minutes to complete, and what follows is just one interpretation of these five steps in discerning the movement of God's Spirit in your day. Through this method of praying you can grow in a sense of self and the Source of self; you can become more sensitive to your own spirit with its longings, its powers, its Source; you will develop an openness to receive the supports that God offers.

Before you start: Try to be in a place where you are least likely to be disturbed, and where there is the least amount of external noise. Perhaps you might light a candle or change the lighting when you pray to symbolise the start of this activity. Sit comfortably and still yourself; relax, be aware of your breathing, your body and how you are feeling.

1. Recall that you are in the presence of God. No matter where you are, hilltop or valley, country or city, in a crowd or alone, you are a creature in the midst of creation. As you quiet yourself, become aware that God is present within you, in the creation that surrounds you, in your body, in those around you. The Creator who brought you forth into being is concerned for you. The Spirit of God, sent by Christ, will remind you that you are gifted to help bring creation to its fullness. Ask the Holy Spirit to let you look on all you see with love. "Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous or boastful, it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; ... it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices in the right ... Love hopes all things." (1 Cor.)

2. Spend a moment looking over your day with gratitude for this day's gifts. Be concrete and let special moments or pleasures spring to mind! Recall the smell of your morning coffee, the taste of something good that you ate, the laugh of a child, the fragrance of a flower, the smile brought forth by a kind word, a lesson that you learned. Take stock of what you received and what you gave. Give thanks to God for favors received. Also look at your permanent gifts that allow your participation in this day. Recall your particular strengths in times of difficulty, your ability to hope in times of weakness, your sense of humor and your life of faith, your intelligence and health, your family and friends. God the Father gives you these to draw you into the fullness of life. As you move through the details of your day, give thanks to God for His presence in the big and the small things of your life.

3. Ask God to send you His Holy Spirit to help you look at your actions and attitudes and motives with honesty and patience. "When the Spirit of truth comes he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13) The Holy Spirit inspires you to see with growing freedom the development of your life story. The Spirit gives a freedom to look upon yourself without condemnation and without complacency and thus be open to growth. Ask that you will learn and grow as you reflect, thus deepening your knowledge of self and your relationship with God.

4. Now review your day. This is the longest of the steps. Recall the events of your day; explore the context of your actions. Search for the internal movements of your heart and your interaction with what was before you. Ask what you were involved in and who you were with, and review your hopes and hesitations. Many situations will show that your heart was divided—wavering between helping and disregarding, scoffing and encouraging, listening and ignoring, rebuking and forgiving, speaking and silence, neglecting and thanking. Remember, this is not a time to dwell on your shortcomings; rather, it is a gentle look with the Lord at how you have responded to God's gifts. It is an opportunity for growth of self and deepening your relationship with God. Notice where you acted freely—picking a particular course of action from the possibilities you saw. See where you were swept along without freedom. What reactions helped or hindered you? See where Christ entered your decisions and where you might have paused to receive His influence. "Test yourselves," St. Paul urges, "to see whether you are living in faith; examine yourselves. Perhaps you yourselves do not realize that Christ Jesus is in you." (2 Cor.) His influence comes through His people, the Body of Christ. His influence comes through Scripture, the Word of God. Now, as you pray, Christ's spirit will help you know His presence and concern. As you daily and prayerfully explore the mystery of yourself in the midst of your actions you will grow more familiar with your own spirit and become more aware of the promptings of God's Spirit within you. Allow God to speak, challenge, encourage and teach you. Thus you will come to know that Christ is with you. Christ will continually invite you to love your neighbor as yourself and strengthen you to do this.

5. The final step is our heart-to-heart talk with Jesus. Here you speak with Jesus about your day. You share your thoughts on your actions, attitudes, feelings and interactions. Perhaps during this time you may feel led to seek forgiveness, ask for direction, share a concern, express gratitude, etc. Having reviewed this day of your life, look upon yourself with compassion and see your need for God and try to realize God's manifestations of concern for you. Express sorrow for sin, the obscuring darkness that surrounds us all, and especially ask forgiveness for the times you resisted God's light today. Give thanks for grace, the enlightening presence of God, and especially praise God for the times you responded in ways that allowed you to better see God's life. Resolve with Jesus to move forward in action where appropriate. You might like to finish your time with the Lords Prayer.

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The power of art for good

Over at Gateway Pundit, I found out about how a group of Pakistan's top recording artists have written and recorded a song against terrorism. Thousands have downloaded it in that country. It's a great catchy song that shows how ordinary Pakistanis of all ages do not support the violence done in the name of Islam. Yeh hum naheem.

Head over to take a look and listen and pray for the safety of these artists and thank God for their courage. Check out the links to the main site and spread the word.

And Master's Artist Jeanne Damoff writes today about an event in Seattle to raise money for the International Justice Mission. Jeanne writes like an angel and she'll put you right there at the event.

Jeanne writes:

Beauty magnifies God. It doesn't need an excuse or platform or brand. It doesn't have to stand in line and take a number. God created beauty, and it sings His praise in every form, from symphonic music to light filtering through a forest canopy to love's first kiss.

Sometimes, though, beauty wraps itself around words or images and declares itself in no uncertain terms. It does justice, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God. And the heart beholding it thus falls to its knees in worship and gratitude for the glimpse.

I experienced that kind of beauty Monday evening.

Read it all.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Paul Belien on the European welfare state

I wonder what Paul Belien would have to say about Canada. All of the West is vulnerable to the loss of virtue that he describes in this article. Read the whole thing.

Liberal politicians, like Hillary Clinton, envy Western Europe for its welfare state. They tell U.S. voters that a European-style welfare state is needed to help the poor. In reality the motives of liberal politicians are not altruistic, but egotistical. Welfare makes people dependent on the state. It is not a coincidence that liberalism and secularism are almost synonyms. Liberals want to replace God by the state.

The difference between Americans and Europeans is the state-dependency of the latter. Contemporary Europe is in crisis. Its welfare systems are running out of money. Its moral and legal order is breaking down, while the influence of radical Islam is growing. Its nation-states are being undermined by the European Union. Most Europeans look on passively. After three generations of welfare dependency, they have lost the ability to take their fate into their own hands.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pray for the South Korean missionaries held hostage by the Taliban

Michelle Malkin wonders why no one in the West seems to care:

She writes:

The blood of innocent Christian missionaries spills on Afghan sands. The world watches and yawns. The United Nations offers nothing more than a formal expression of "concern." Where is the global uproar over the human rights abuses unfolding before our eyes?

For two weeks, a group of South Korean Christians has been held hostage by Taliban thugs in Afghanistan. This is the largest group of foreign hostages taken in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001. What was their offense? Were they smuggling arms into the country? No. Inciting violence? No. They were peaceful believers in Christ on short-term medical and humanitarian missions. Seventeen of the 23 hostages are females. Most of them are nurses who provide social services and relief.