O my friend. You invited me to dine with you and I gladly accepted. Yet, I thought it was out of charity that you invited me and not to be my judge. Is this the way you treat all of your guests? Do you invite them in simply to judge them according to yourself? Where is thy charity? Where is thy love for thy fellow man? Dost thou treat a beggar or an orphan in the same fashion?
O my friend. You are concerned with the the ceremony and the outside but not what is going on within. Suppose I were to wash my hands but as I was doing so, in my heart, I were killing you with my thoughts. Would my washing be a proper thing? What if I were filled with lust as I dried my hands in proper fashion? Would the ceremony still be acceptable to you? Anyone may put on the show. Anyone may go through the motions. However, what is welling up from within is what makes one clean or unclean.
Did not the Creator make the body and the dirt upon it? Art thou not made from the very dust thou dost try to wash from thy skin? You and the dust are brothers, you are kin. Why then the disdain for thy older sibling? And did the Creator not make the inside as well as that which is without? Did He, that creates all, not give thee a heart of flesh and inscribe upon it the laws of His love? How then dost thou seek to cleanse that? How dost thou cleanse the very thing that gives life to the body?
O my friend, concern thyself with the cleansing of that which is within and visible only to Him who created it and then you will be made clean through and through. Thy ancient sibling may make thee appear dirty to thy fellow man but the Lord sees that which no dirt or grime may ever cover. Tend to thy body in reasonable fashion. Tend to thy soul with wild abandon!
FROM THE SAINTS - "The prince of this world is determined to lay hold of me and to undermine my will which is intent on God. Let none of you here help him; instead show yourselves on my side, which is also God's side. Believe instead what I am now writing to you. For though I am alive as I write to you, still my real desire is to die. My love of this life has been crucified, and there is no yearning in my for any earthly thing. Rather within me is the living water which says deep inside me: "Come to the Father." I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of this world I want only God's bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, formed from the seed of David, and for drink I crave his blood, which is love that cannot perish." - Saint Ignatius of Antioch - letter to the Romans
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How to get better at prayer.
- Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
- Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go. Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
- Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days. Mark off the days on your calendar. If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
- Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him. I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development. God is the same way. Spend time praying as best you can. Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation. Don't forget to listen
- Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life. It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
- Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer Primer, Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer, Time for God, The Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.