Prayer, Psalms and Chrysostom
I spend a great deal of time reading about spiritual matters to feed my spiritual spirit and as it is for all of us I am constantly interrupted by my secular spirit. This latter spirit so loves the world it fights with my interior life compelling me at times to live in this world. My thoughts turn me to make me feel good about myself and my secular, worldly life. This is a spiritual battle we all must fight. It is not a battle with the evil one but a deep interior fight with oneself, with one's mind, with one's concupiscent inclinations. We need the help of God's grace to stiffen our resistance in this struggle as we battle with ourselves and our self love. There is no way can resist on our own. I count it unfortunate that what I do, as I pray, is I give over part of my mind to the world and have only, as it is for most of us, a very small part left to share with God. With careful consideration, you may all think likewise.
How then can I even think to give you advice when it is a very individual battle that our spiritual ego must win. Remember it well Christ died that we must win this battle. Our spiritual ego must out duel and overcome our rampant self love. What advice can I perhaps recommend other than we must pray and pray and pray. Can I tell you how you must pray, not really but there are in the Catholic Church a great deal of letters and instructions on how we must pray and how to be qualified in prayer for them to be heard. I believe that one of the best is St John Chrysostom’s “Explanation of the Psalms”. The Church has explained in the past the greatest act of Contrition, which should not be confused as it often is daily with an act of confession, is David’s
Miserere. St John lists six conditions by which are prayers are acceptable.
First:To be worthy of receiving.
Second: to pray in conformity with the laws of God
Third:to pray continuously.
Fourth: not to ask for earthly goods
Fifth: to seek things that are truly profitable for us
Sixth: to contribute everything that it is in our power.
In St Jame's Letter, James wrote, “The prayers of the Pure are always heard”. Christ said the same to St Faustina. That I believe covers the first two. Also we must be aware that if we start to pray God will answer our prayers by in the main always giving us what He knows we need and if our prayers are charitable towards others, He gives what He sees they need. The Poor Souls in Purgatory come to mind. The third is equally simple. We must persevere perhaps even stubbornly, therefore convincing God we truly desire His help. The fourth and fifth must be considered from a point of view that God is not Mammon and it is His Desire that all must be saved. Should we not then pray for others and that we all imitate Christ, that is to be perfect in all virtues, that we should all receive His mercy and compassion, that none of us should be sinners and His help must see us through this dreadful secular Journey according to His will and not ours. The sixth is important, we must pray from the very center of our hearts, the inner chamber of our soul with no thoughts of what we want. We should fill our hearts with thoughts of the Trinity and His love, while standing firmly at the foot of the Victorious Cross asking, pleading perhaps even demanding politely His will not ours be done. It would help if we tell Him for us the situation is unresolvable unless He steps in and blesses our prayers with His help.
St John quotes St Paul extensively and dwells heavily Paul's exhortation to live a more Christ like Life. Psalm 7 will give you all the help you need to do and how to do it. As always show this to your priest or Bishop and ask them if this is useful to your salvation or will it lead your soul astray.
Labels: prayer Chrysostom psalms purgatory souls