I forgot to point folks over to Julie D's discovery about imaginative prayer. It's not really the part of Ignatian spirituality which appeals to me, so I keep forgetting to tell my friend who does a lot of imaginative prayer about that. (Peggy Noonan's another one who apparently does prayer and meditation with mental images in detail; she did a column once on praying the Rosary that way….)
It really is important to remember that there isn't just one way to pray. Obviously, if you're a regular churchgoer, you do some kind of ritual group prayer, and that's a good solid foundation. (If you go to Mass, that's even better; multiple forms of prayer are included.) Reading the Bible and meditating and praying about it is pretty generic, too.
But there are zillions of other ways to pray, and some of them will appeal to you and some of them won't. In what you do on your own time, you should go with what works for you (as long as it's not insanely dangerous or un-Christian). God made you the way you are, for His own good reasons. Your neighbor can't pray for you, so you're the final authority on how you pray. Vocal or mental, still or in movement, with a deliberately cleared mind or one full of focused thought, intellectually or full of emotion… just feel free to praise, thank, ask, chat, bless. Pray.
Over on Maria Lectrix, I'm reading The Ascent of Mount Carmel, and before Lent, I did The Imitation of Christ and St. Catherine of Siena's Dialogue. Meanwhile, EWTN Radio's Deep in Scripture Bible study show's been discussing the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes. Heck, Enbrethiliel's been chatting about a few things.
What subject keeps coming up? Detachment.
Detachment gets discussed in lots of scary-sounding ways, like "you shouldn't love anybody or anything else but God" or "everything except God is infinitely bad and ugly".
But really, the truth of the matter is that detachment is just putting on the attitude and point of view of someone before the Fall. Someone who sees the world like a child — full of wonders, but impossible to get grabby about. Everything is a wonderful toy, and everyone is a wonderful person to love. But God is the One who loves you most, whom you most love, and why you love everyone and everything else. When God calls you to walk with him, you drop your toys and go.
The problem is that we aren't unfallen people and we don't live in an unfallen world. So behaving and feeling the way we were meant to do is painful for us. (Speaking as someone about as detached as a dog on a chain.)
So that's what detachment means. It doesn't mean that Creation is bad. It means that anything you really love about any thing or person or creature is really God in them. Seeing that, you should love them and praise God for them, but not cling to them or obsess about them. God is the only One you can really cling to, anyway.
And if that doesn't work, you take radical measures. A lot of these books are all about radical measures, because a lot of times the gentler way of thinking about it doesn't make people jump to it. But you'd have perfect detachment if you just followed Jesus: "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole mind and your whole strength." "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Lessee. The original version of The Omen was partially filmed in… Iraq.
Last year, Al-Zarqawi bombed a wedding reception in Amman, Jordan, and killed Moustapha Akkad, the producer of… Halloween.
The new Halloween movie, produced by Akkad's son, was announced on June 4, 2006.
The new version of The Omen opened on June 6, 2006.
Al-Zarqawi met his doom on June 7, 2006… in Iraq.
God was obviously punishing the terrorists for disrupting His beloved horror movies. So he got to work putting the fear into "fear of the Lord" and the wrath into "wrath of God".
What? You think that theory's farfetched? But you were all worried about 6/06/06…. 🙂
Btw, God says He'd like more like the original Exorcist or Emily Rose.
In this picture by Zurbaran, Mary looks suspicious about a lamb that’s snuck onscreen.
In this one by the same guy, Mary looks sad — and tired out, too. Teenagers and their Goth moments.
In this painting by Juan de Flandes, Mary gives her son That Look. The one for chores.