ONE HOUR WITH JESUS (CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER)

“Could you not watch with Me one hour (daily)? Watch and pray.” (Mt 26:40f) Jesus is calling, calling with all His heart! And still, no one has lifted up his voice so often and so many times in vain as Jesus Christ. No call has been so little understood – and this has been even by those who knew Jesus as their Saviour and Lord.

Here we come across the greatest contradiction, namely that people though calling Jesus their Lord do not follow Him. How to understand this? The way of following Jesus may be opened only with one key, with the key of pure love. There is no other key. Therefore the Lord also says that by keeping the First Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart”, one is given the key to all righteous deeds.

The way of following our Lord and perseverance is not possible without love which can be best realized in a contemplative prayer. At least one hour (daily) with Jesus (cf. Mt 26:40).

 

Contemplative prayer (CP) – order, rules, practices


The Rosary: Order – a short reflection before every decade and then try to see, hear and live the individual mysteries (there are many guides and reflections).

The Stations of the Cross: There are many guides to this prayer. You can also have a personal contemplation of the Lord’s Passion and you can use two rules: 1) try to perceive what Jesus suffers, 2) look at your sins and selfish behaviour which caused His suffering. Question: What have You, Jesus, done for me and what am I doing for You?

 

One-hour CP:

Explanation of several rules – practices:

Posture during the prayer: To make the interior prayer intensive, one must observe certain principles. Hands are lifted up during the prayer. They must not be slack but they must show alertness and a total self-surrender to Christ. It is known that this was the posture of the Jews when praying. Christ and His Mother prayed in this way, the Apostles and early Christians likewise prayed in this way. This posture is already a prayer by itself, when you open your heart to receive the Holy Spirit. So we have highlighted the posture.

Requisites: And what are the requisites for prayer? There are two basic ones: the Holy Scripture and a notepad with a pen. Whenever you get some inspiration or some concern appears, note it down briefly and immediately return to the presence of God. During short breaks you can read the Scripture. It is good to have a cross and a clock in the room.

Prayer order: The hour of prayer is divided into three parts, out of which there is always 15 minutes of intensive prayer and 5 minutes of rest. The beginning is the most difficult – you have to break with the spirit of the world and enter into the presence of the Spirit of God. This requires a kind of inward and outward self-denial, and this self-denial determines how much blessing you receive in the prayer. An old proverb says: “Well begun, half done!” This applies not only to natural things but to prayer as well, this one in particular.

Goal: The purpose of the prayer is to enter into and abide in the presence of God. It is not so simple, but it is possible for everyone. It is no extraordinary prayer intended only for certain individuals. Every sincere Christian can pray in this way, not excluding children. This prayer is founded on God’s Word and on the epiclesis (fervent invocation of the Holy Spirit). The Word – Jesus – really becomes incarnate in us! The incarnation of the Word of God requires our FIAT (“let it be done to me”) and the epiclesis. The Mother of Jesus experienced the most intensive epiclesis – when the Word became flesh and she became the Mother of the first-born – Jesus – by faith, and then before His death at Calvary when both she and the future Church represented by a disciple received the words: “Behold, your Mother!” Before and during the descent of the Holy Spirit, she and the Apostles experienced a 10 days’ epiclesis (invoking the Holy Spirit to come and fill them). The Word became flesh again, the Church was born and Mary became her Mother. Thus she also became the Mother of the second-born – Mother of the Church – your Mother.

Fervent invocation: It is written in the Letter to the Hebrews that Christ offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears unto Him who was able to hear Him (cf. Heb 5:7). In his psalms, King David points out the need of loud calling on the Lord from the bottom of one’s soul. Calling on the Lord, when the soul pours out its pains and fears, is liberating and healing. “The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (cf. Rom 8:26)

A “scandalizing” element of this prayer is loud calling but one can also call voicelessly and yet intensively. When someone suffers sharp physical pain, be it in Korea, America or Europe, the reaction is the same. One uses no long sentences but rather groans like aaaaaa, uuuuuu… When someone suffers deep mental pain, e.g. loss of a beloved person, tears well up in his eyes. He begins to cry, which helps him pour out his heart, and he also needs somebody with whom he can share his pain, or to whom he can pour out his heart. Shared pain is half the pain. When the pain is deep, groanings like uuuu-uuuu-uuuu can be heard in crying. Similarly, when one is filled with joy, words or sentences are not sufficient and one just croons: la, la… ra, ra… (cf. St Augustine, Breviary; Day of St Cecilia – 22 Nov, second reading). This is a language common to all people who have ever lived on earth. Usually when a person has been deceived, betrayed or feels angry, he raises his voice. Unbelieving people let off steam by cursing, swearing or venting their anger on those who hurt them. When a person causes pain to himself, he is angry with himself and lets off steam crying: “What a fool I am!” The greater this anger is, the less one is able to express it with words and just groans in a rage – it is a kind of eeee, eeee, eeee… One thus opens one’s heart to a spirit contrary to the Holy Spirit.

The vowels a,e,i,o,u have a common principal sound which can easily change into one or the other vowel. If we are to pour out our heart before God in prayer, moaning and crying, as seen in psalms, is the most natural human expression of it. They help the spirit of man surface in this way. When children are born, they start crying, which somehow opens or relieves them. And this actually brings us to the root of the epiclesis, fervent invocation upon God. It is invocation – calling on God rather than whispering, and it is fervent. You can repeat the simple vowel aaa and keep in mind the name Yehoshuaaaaa… = Jesus, and at the same time you can realize by faith the power of this name in honour of which “…every knee must bow in heaven and on earth” (Phil 2:10). In this name the Apostles cast out demons and healed the sick. In this name your faith is expressed and concentrated more than if you uttered a word or a sentence. This is fervent prayer! – pouring out your heart to the Lord.

Those who start to pray in this way can all of a sudden feel that here the words of prayer spontaneously pass to monosyllabic or disyllabic words. This brings you to focus your mind e.g. on one word only: You (Jesus), You, You… and in the spirit you are looking into His eyes (on the cross). You perceive that your sin is the cause of His death, you feel His love – He died for you. When you thus open your heart wholly to God, totally humbling yourself, standing in the truth and breaking with sin and its roots, it is not enough just to be sitting. You need either to kneel or to stand and focus your mind on the given truth; this literally forces you to call on God with your whole being and your hands automatically fly up. You realize the love of the Father who gave His Son for you, and you call in your heart: Father – what can help you is groaning like A – BA – aaaaa… ba-ba-ba-ba…aaaa… /Unless you become as little children… (cf. Mt 18:3)/. These two basic postures, i.e. hands up and kneeling or standing, are likewise closely connected with calling on God. When you call on God, groaning, these are no induced emotions, this is a true prayer in the Spirit and the Truth, this is the need of the soul. This is how King David prayed in his psalms, and evidently even the Lord Jesus Himself when He often spent whole night praying.

The present moment: Let us go back to the basic rules. One of them is that in addition to the Word of God the prayer needs alertness. Jesus said: “Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray!” (Mt 26:40) To be watchful, or alert, try the following advice: At the beginning of and during the prayer remember from time to time that you want to abide in the presence of God at least for one minute, and particularly this very minute. So you have to deny yourself and realize that God sees you and at the same time that you are open before Him. Or you can repeat: “Your eyes!” and in spirit you are looking into Jesus’ eyes and opening your heart before Him… you are giving Him everything… not only sins but also the root of sin… now you have nothing of your own, no thought, no relationship, no memory, no image! Now you abandon it all, your spirit is poor, free from the riches of the soul, free from all concerns. Now your only concern is to be with Jesus. You want to listen to Him and look into His eyes. The eyes of Jesus penetrate you deeply, His gaze makes you perceive your sin. In God’s presence you can see not only greater sins but even small expressions of egoism, self-love and self-will. Here, in the truth, as if exposed to invisible X-rays, you are healed of all the sorrows and pains deep in your soul. This therapy is painful but at the same time it is a great happiness which cannot be compared with what the world offers. In this light you also perceive the reality of your death, vanity and delusion of the world as well as eternity and God’s love. In this purifying pain, in this painful truth, the deep healing of the soul gives deep peace which the world cannot give. Here one comes to experience many truths from the Scripture such as: “Come to Me, all you… and you shall find rest unto your souls.” (Mt 11:28-29) The present moment is the fundamental thing in prayer. We return to this present moment in all truths of the Gospel which we reflect on in the prayer, and once we live the present moment, we stop paying attention to the outward calling of our voice and we only perceive e.g. a word (or idea) “You!” (Jesus) and our spiritual union with Him in the truth. This is no ecstasy, this is watchfulness and sobriety, and groaning (Abba – aaa… ba-ba-baaa…) just disposes to it.

In fact, the whole hour is a struggle for the present moment in which you concentrate and realize your union with the Father and with Jesus through the words: “You, You” or “You and me!” (“You, Jesus, love me” or “You for me!”). But mostly just “You!” or “You see me!” “Jesus saw the disciple standing by the cross…!” (Jn 19:26) “I am now a disciple and You see me, now and here, You…” This sentence has great power! Here you open your heart to Him, your Lord and God, and you hide nothing! It hurts but at the same time it heals you. In the course of time you can also pray “You see us” and realize the pains of people who are dear to you. You perceive the bondage and vices which cloud their souls, and how much you would like to help them and cannot. But now you can do one thing, the most important one – you can give this pain to Jesus! And suddenly He gives the light, healing, peace and often even a word of prophecy for this person.

Troubles, concerns or duties can also become “fuel” for the fire of the Spirit. You can experience the reality: “You see me” and give Him concrete sins, weaknesses and worries. And the Lord gives you the light, strength and inspiration; He speaks to your soul. (Note: You need not utter these words with your mouth, just in thought: e.g. “You see me”. Such thought is accompanied by outward quiet or loud groaning with your mouth as well as by your posture – hands lifted up.)

 

Model of one-hour contemplative prayer

In this prayer, we reflect on the following truths of the Gospel: 1) forgiveness of sins (purification), 2) crucifixion with Christ, 3) the last will of Jesus – a new heart.

 

15 minutes: 1/3) PURIFICATION

1st part (1 minute): One of the present expresses aloud the content of the first 15 minutes, thus introducing the prayer, for example with the following words: “Jesus is here with His angels and saints (cf. Heb 12:22f). He is waiting for you. Open your heart to Him. Condemn your sin. Then stand by the cross in the spirit and look again into the eyes and wounds of Jesus. Call on His name with faith. Realize that the blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sin.” After this loud introduction, we pray as described in parts 2, 3, 4 and 5.

2nd part (approx. 3 minutes): Realize the presence of Jesus, His Mother, saints and angels (Heb 12:22f). Call on the Virgin Mary, angels and saints to help you watch during the prayer.

3rd part (approx. 3 minutes): Open your heart and receive the Lord Jesus on the foundation of God’s Word: Rev 3:20 – “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.” Realize: You are standing, and knocking… I am opening… I have opened. You are entering, You have entered… You are in me: You are God from God… Light from Light… True God from True God… Begotten, Not Made… One in Being with the Father… I believe … I confess!

4th part (approx. 4 minutes): The judgement of God. “The wages of sin is death…” (Rom 6:23) Realize your sin, e.g. self-will – you fail to seek and do the will of God; criticism – you keep judging both people and God; hedonism (laziness, self-indulgence, lack of discipline). You can try to imagine or just realize that in the hour of death you will cross the threshold of time and judgement is in store for you. For illustration, imagine a large stadium: on the left side there are evil spirits, your accusers (cf. Rev 12:10), on the right side God’s angels, all mankind behind you and a huge screen in front of you where all your life is shown in accordance with the word: “For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed.” (Mt 10:26) Not only external works but all that was in your heart, even your innermost thoughts, will be revealed there.

You are standing in the light, not disguising anything but calling things by their proper names just as your enemy – accuser – calls them. Yes, you are a sinner; you deserve eternal condemnation for your self-will, criticism and lusts of the flesh. All this is, in fact, a sin of godlessness and idolatry, trusting in yourself, in the creation and disregard of God, His Word and His Spirit. You do not defend yourself; on the contrary, you judge yourself, bringing everything to light and realizing that you are a sinner deserving sentence of death! “The wages of sin is death.” These words are clear! This is the plain truth. Realize that you are condemned to death but now you know that you have a hope of amnesty.

5th part (approx. 4 minutes): Forgiveness of sins

Now everything is brought to the light of God’s judgement. “If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged” (1Cor 11:31) All that you bring to light during your life is forgiven you by God. He erases it according to the words: “If we walk in the light… the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” (1Jn 1:7) All that was brought to light and hence cleansed by the blood of Christ will not be judged anymore, because Jesus was already condemned and shed His blood for it, so the accusers have no power over you (see Rev 12:11). Indeed, Jesus died for my and your sins and suffered the punishment which we justly deserved for our sin. He has already paid for it. Jesus died for you. Come to the cross in spirit, look at the blood of the Saviour and receive by faith the word of deliverance spoken to the penitent criminal: “Today you shall be with Me in paradise.” (Lk 23:43) You can experience the fundamental truth, namely that we are justified by faith and not by our works; that means – for free but through faith. And now accept this justification by faith – put on the righteousness of Jesus!

Summary: You make two steps by faith: 1) You confess your sins, bringing them to light and judging them already now. 2) Now you receive forgiveness.

The Word of God says: “If we walk in the light…” So the condition is clear: to walk in the light, and to walk in the light you must first enter into the light. And once you have entered, there are two steps to start walking: to give sins and to receive forgiveness. These are the two first steps in faith. Then it is true about you: “The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.” Realize that it says: “from all sin”. You will need to experience this truth especially in the hour of death, and therefore the art of living this is the most important thing and the most needed wisdom for this time as well as for eternity. (This is so-called perfect contrition, but it by no means excludes the sacrament of penance.)

Break (5 minutes) – rest (reflection, reading of the Scripture, taking of notes)

 

15 minutes: 2/3) CRUCIFIED TOGETHER WITH CHRIST

Gal 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”

1st part (5 minutes): I realize with a living faith that Jesus is in me. The Scripture says: “with Christ”. I stop to think of the words WITH CHRIST: You, Jesus, and I, together, now and here. From the moment of Baptism we have been together – You (are) in me, and I in You. Again and again, through repentance and living faith, I need to enter into this communion. You and I – together… At this moment, I consciously abide in this communion by faith, and I do not allow other thoughts to cross my mind. I do not speculate about it, it is true, I do not doubt but I believe in God’s Word. Thus it is written! In my mind I can slowly repeat some words (e.g. together, together…, or I believe, I believe…). There is only one task: to be in union with Christ by faith. Live this reality by faith: You and I – together! (This is accompanied by quiet or loud calling.)

2nd part (5 minutes): Crucified. “We know that our old self has been crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” (Rom 6:6) Now realize only one word: crucified. To whom? To what? To the flesh, the world and the devil, to these three slaveholders. By the power of Jesus’ crucifixion I have been separated from the system of evil, sin, vanity and deceit. I am not deceived anymore, now I am free. Now “the body of sin has been destroyed” by the power of Jesus, and I am no longer a slave of sin.

Now I abandon everything, my plans, fears, concerns, attachment to things, people… I will not enter heaven with these riches. I can realize 3× nothing: 1) I am nothing 2) I have nothing 3) I want nothing but You! Now I have only one concern – You, Jesus, are my one concern! I am poor in spirit; I have nothing of my own, no concern, no relationship, no memory; I do not try to solve anything, now I have no responsibility, because I have given everything to You, Jesus. I am aware of the vanity of this all; yes, all things will pass away. I give my all to You, I do not cling to anything. “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Jn 8:36) This very minute I am truly free. I focus my mind on this truth and I believe that it is true. I can do nothing more than to give my all to Jesus. I set no conditions, no “but”; I give myself wholly to Him, I keep nothing for myself /I put off the old self (Col 3:9)/. This is true contemplative prayer; it is so simple – just give your all to Him! Here I come to understand what it means to love Jesus. I live no longer (for myself) (cf. Gal 2:20).

3rd part (5 minutes): Jesus (Christ) lives in me. Now I am free indeed, now it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; I am dead to sin and alive to God. Now Christ can live in me – Jesus has removed the obstacle which the Scripture calls ‘our old self’. He has delivered me and made me His own. I am His and He is mine. It is Him who has done it, not me. I live the reality: “I am Yours, and I want You alone! I am not interested in anything else now. You are the pearl which is worth losing everything for.” I confess in full awareness and with a living faith: “You, Jesus, live in me now!” I live this very moment. I want to die like this. “I give myself wholly to You. Now I have no one in heaven or on earth but You! (cf. Ps 73:25) Jesus, You are my Lord! All that is mine is Yours! You are mine and I am Yours! Jesus, I trust in You!”

Break (5minutes)

 

15 minutes: 3/3) TESTAMENT FROM THE CROSS – A NEW HEART

Jn 19:26-27: “When Jesus saw His Mother, and the disciple, whom He loved, standing by, He said to His Mother: ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple: ‘Behold, your Mother!’ And from that hour (at that hour) the disciple received her into himself (into his own).”

1st part (5 minutes): Realize: You see me. In my spirit I stand by the cross, at Calvary, at the place of crucifixion.

In my mind I ask myself questions which help me realize God’s Word: Where are you? At Calvary, at the place of execution where Jesus dies for me. Who are you? Are you a disciple? Yes, now I have forsaken all I have for Your sake, Jesus.

You are looking at me, You see me as a disciple. I realize the first word: “You, You”… “You, Jesus.” The Word of God says: “Jesus saw the disciple standing by the cross.” I am now a disciple and You see me now and here! This sentence has great power! I perceive Jesus’ look, He is looking at me. His gaze penetrates me like X-rays. I abide in this reality for a moment. I repeat: “When Jesus saw…” You see me now.

2nd part: (5 minutes): You speak to me. “Jesus said…” I can hear Jesus’ voice and His words addressed to me. Jesus wants to tell me something from the cross. However, our soul is full of its own riches, ideas and plans, so it is not able to hear or receive the living Word of God. Even if this fat soul receives God’s Word, it is mostly as letters only, and the soul is not able to draw life from it…

Only a disciple who has forsaken all he had and stands by the cross hears the words of Jesus. Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears! You speak to Your Mother first: “Woman, behold, your Son”, and then You speak to the disciple: “Behold, your Mother!” If the Word of God is to penetrate deep, it needs a new soil (cf. Mt 13:23), a new heart (cf. Ez 36:26). Having the nature of Eve, which we all have inherited, we cannot experience full deliverance and total self-surrender to Jesus. We need to receive Mary – a new heart, a new spiritual centre, a new nature. We need to receive Her who through the merits of Christ was preserved from the spiritual infection of the first woman – Eve. Mary – the new Eve – is the Mother of a new generation. Jesus gave Her to the disciple several minutes before His death and this is His last will, irrevocable. It applies to every disciple of Jesus even today.

3rd part (5 minutes): The disciple received her into himself (Greek ‘eis ta idia’, Latin ‘in sua’). It is a great mystery. How could the disciple by the cross receive the Mother of Jesus into himself? St Ambrose says: “He received Her soul to magnify the Lord in him. He received Her spirit to rejoice in God!” Mary, through the merits of Christ, was preserved from original sin. She is the new Eve. Her genetic and spiritual code is different from that of the old Eve. She is ‘kecharitomenee’ – full of grace (cf. Lk 1:28). God promised us through the prophet Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.” (Ez 36:26) This new heart was created by Him. Original sin is a lack of grace. Mary is full of grace (see Lk 1:28). He promised us this heart and He has also given it to us. He performs this transplantation of heart on everybody personally. The condition is to be a disciple standing by the cross and to receive by faith what God gives! He is doing it. I just receive it by faith like the Apostle John. I have a new heart, Mary is my Mother!

Break (5minutes)

Contemplation of these three truths: purification, crucifixion with Christ and the receiving of the Mother of Jesus disposes us to contemplate the other three truths, namely death with Christ, resurrection with Christ and Pentecost. These truths are made present in the liturgy in particular and our participation in them should transform and sanctify us.

 

Note: In Aramaic, the pronunciation of the letter B is like W,V. The words Abba (Father) and Yehoshua (Jesus) and their repetition are diametrically different from Hindu mantras. Mantras open the soul to the spirit of darkness. Repeating the name of Jesus and “Abba”, given to us by Jesus, our soul opens to the Spirit of light – the Holy Spirit and to the Holy Trinity.

The most important thing when calling on the name of Jesus is the struggle for interior union with Him. It means that I focus all my attention on Jesus and His name, I confess His Divinity in my mind, I become aware of my sin and I give it to Him and then I also give Him all I am and have. I receive His testament, I die with Him, I am raised with Him and I receive His Spirit by faith. Jesus has done this all for my sake, and I receive it all by faith. I realize the presence of Jesus. I can spontaneously call aaaaaaaa… (Yehoshuaaaaa). When I enter into union with Jesus, I also realize His union with the Father. Perceiving the word Abba, Father, I realize that it is Jesus in me who utters it, and I utter it in union with Him. Here I can call outwardly, spontaneously and quietly “Abba (Avva) va-va-va…A-va-va-va… (ba-ba-ba…)”.

 

MODELS TO 3/3


Model acc. Mt 18:18 -“Whatever you loose on earth…”

These words are related to the authority of the Apostles but they may also be applied by any Christian. In accordance with the Word of God, a curse for the sins against the First Commandment (spiritual bondage) is passed on up to the fourth generation, thus concerning 14 people – my ancestors. At the beginning of this third part I shortly realize that in the first part I received the forgiveness of sins and in the second part I received deliverance through crucifixion with Christ. Now I am disposed to experience His words – “Whatever you loose…” (Mt 18:18).

I realize again: I am in communion with Jesus. I am in Him and He is in me. “He is Light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (cf. 1Jn 1:5) So there is no darkness in me now. I stand in the Light – in Him. I realize that now the power of God works in His name. I say in the spirit: “In the name of Jesus Christ I (forgive and) loose the bonds between me and X (e.g. grandmother).” And I realize the Word of God: “Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The Lord said: whatever – i.e. even this bondage – whatever – this is no exception. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. It is done. Now this bond – in the name of Jesus Christ – is loosed. It is true. Now at this moment the bondage (curse) is broken. Demons lost their right to this place – the chains fell off. Now blessing and peace from the Heavenly Father descend on this place.

Then I think of another person (e.g. grandfather). And again I return to the reality of God’s Word: I am in communion with Jesus. And in communion with Him, with His power and in His name I continue as before. In this way one by one I pray for 14 people – by the power of Jesus’ name these bonds are loosed.

At the end I realize that now God’s blessing descends from heaven not only on me but on my whole family as well.

 

Model acc. Lk 23:34“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

/The first part: purification (Jesus is my Saviour) as well as the second part: crucifixion with Christ (Jesus is my Lord) are the same as in the “one-hour CP” model./

1st part (5 minutes): Repeat slowly: “Father, forgive”. Father, Father…, and you can realize that you are in union with Jesus and in Jesus. He is calling in you. When you call “Father, Father!”, it becomes as if a ray ascending high up through the cross. Now repeat “Forgive, forgive…”, and you can perceive how power flows up through this ray. Jesus is calling with power. You believe in the power of His prayer now and here.

2nd part (5 minutes): Continue with the word “them”. Fully realize it and unite to Jesus in His fervent prayer: “…them, them…” – (forgive) them who have abandoned You and who do not love You! You are calling with all your heart. You and this call are as if one whole now. As if you were no longer yourself! However, you are not alone, you are united to Jesus. You are united to Jesus’ call, to God’s desire to give His forgiveness to all people.

3rd part (5 minutes): Then you realize that the Father hears this first word from the cross and as if He were asking: “And does anyone care about my forgiveness at all?” It is necessary that from among all sinners there is now, at this very moment, at least one to say on his own behalf and on behalf of the whole sinful world: “YES!” Finally realize the forgiveness which God is now giving; you can keep in your mind an image of a column full of light as a symbol of God’s forgiveness coming down from “the Father of lights” (Jam 1:17) and flooding the earth.

 

Model acc. Mt 5:24“Go and first be reconciled to your brother!”

Forgiving one’s neighbour and receiving forgiveness from God, these two aspects are somehow related and dependent on one another. If I forgive my neighbour, God will also forgive me (cf. Mt 6:14), but if I do not want to humble myself before my brother and forgive him, then I will not be given the grace of faith through which I could receive God’s forgiveness.

Unless I see guilt first in myself, but always in my brother only, I will never be able to respond to Christ’s call: “you first be reconciled”. It does not mean that we should now recall who may have something against us and apologize to each of them. This could come to a bad end.

There are certain rules to be applied here: If I sin against someone in thoughts, then I repent of it before Jesus in thoughts. If I slander someone before someone, then I recompense for it in the presence of the person before whom I disseminated slander. (I confess the sin in the sacrament of penance.) If you were overzealous and disregarded these rules, it could all turn against you.

We have to bear in mind that we must be open before God. Let us pour out our hearts and reveal everything to Him rather than to man. A man of holy life can bear openness and sin but ordinary people take offence and turn against you. The purpose of this model is to help you go in spirit to your brother; this is done without words and without physical presence of the brother. It has absolutely nothing to do with telepathy; the purpose is to humble yourself before God and not to persist in a spirit of hostility to your brother.

Example: You have come into conflict with your brother. Maybe there was a quarrel between you. You are now beginning a prayer and need to have these relations cleansed. But if you now go and try to get reconciled right away, you may be taken unawares and the quarrel may grow even worse. You must first reveal the root of your sin, humble yourself in prayer and only then you can pray concretely for when and how to apologize. Sometimes there is no need of apology at all. You can just say a word or make a gesture. One has to learn a kind of tact. Some already have such sense, they are able to recognize what the brother may expect, what is natural and effective. During the prayer, realize God’s presence. Jesus sees you. He shed His blood not only for you but for your brother and your enemies as well! His forgiveness towards me is conditioned by whether I am also willing to forgive. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Mt 5:7)

So during the prayer I think of my brother and ask him for forgiveness by means of the following three forms:

a/ forgive me, brother, that I exalted myself over you (5 minutes)

How did I exalt myself? In my thoughts I regarded myself as better, my opinions likewise I uncritically considered to be better, and I made my brother feel it.

Now I exalt my brother: If I were him and he behaved to me the way I had behaved to him, my reaction would be much worse than his.

b/ forgive me, brother, that I humbled you (5 minutes)

How did I humble him? By my inappropriate selfish and insensitive behaviour. I did not allow Jesus to enter into this relationship through my faith. My behaviour was ungodly. I humbled him with my words and gestures, with the tone of my voice, with an inappropriate joke…

Now I humble myself. I admit that my opinion was selfish, I paid no heed to the needs of the brother, to his situation, I was focused on my own interests only. Maybe some time in the past my pride was wounded in our relationship or I felt envy and I have not yet brought it to light.

c/ forgive me, brother, that I did not see your good will (5 minutes)

Try to see and say concretely what his good will was.

You come to realize that the very conflict with your brother helped you unmask the power of sin in you. This sin clouded your soul so much that you were not able to see. Yet if you humble yourself, God will give you the grace of light. If you had not sinned, you would think how good you are but, in fact, this particular sin pointed out the root and through your repentance God could purify your soul.

 

MODELS FOR THE SECOND HOUR OF CP


15 minutes: 1/3) CHRIST’S DEATH

The Word of God testifies: “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” (Rom 6:3) We can reply: ‘We do not know it, or we know it just theoretically without having everyday experience of it.’ And that is a pity. The Apostle calls: “We are constantly being delivered over to the death of Christ…” (2Cor 4:11) What is the Word of God speaking about? It does not speak about physical death – we will undergo it just once. We need to realize the following:

a) The death of Christ is spiritually present in us through baptism. However, it is not enough just to realize it. It is necessary to release its power, to let it work at a definite time, in a particular situation.

b) If I am to be ‘baptized (immersed) into His death’, I have to open myself for this moment somehow. I have to unite with the essence of Christ’s death. By His death, Jesus overcame sin and all powers of darkness. The Byzantine liturgy confesses: “Dying, He conquered death.” Indeed, He overcame spiritual death, i.e. eternal separation from God – eternal perdition – hell! His death overcomes spiritual bondage in me to which I opened myself through various suggestions, half-truths and false beliefs. I have to live by God’s Word. “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:17). Under the influence of bad company, bad principles, bad example, or of rotten and lifeless Christianity, one gets into all kinds of bondage. Then one is no longer able to admit the truth about himself and tries to persuade himself with different lies like that he is free, that he is good, that he has not killed anyone etc. Evil works in us through our corrupt nature which the Scripture calls ‘old self’. Evil works through the world as well, i.e. through false philosophies, unsound, unchristian and unbiblical principles, through bad company, through mass media, pornography, magic, divination and New Age spirituality. The third sphere of evil is demonic forces: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12f) This is a spiritual battle. The salvation of my soul and of the souls of my neighbours is at stake. I will render an account of it soon! A spiritual fight presupposes certain rules; let us pay heed to the most important one: entering into Christ’s death. What it means is interior union with Christ in His total self-surrender in His death. The rule is: If I am to live Christ’s death intensively in everyday life, in sufferings and hard situations, first I have to live this reality of His death in prayer. When Jesus gave His Mother to the disciple and he received Her into himself (eis ta idia, in sua), the testament of the dying Saviour to the Church was fulfilled. This was followed by four words that were closely connected with His death. These words are: I thirst; Eloi…; It is finished; Father…

1)   First part: “I thirst” (Jn 19:28) What is it that Jesus thirsts for in this moment? He undoubtedly experiences physical thirst too. However, He is now imprisoned in your soul. “I was thirsty and you gave Me the drink.” (Mt 25:35) Certainly, He is thirsty in others as well. Lord Jesus, You now thirst in me, and I thirst with You. I thirst after deliverance from my bondage: fear, addiction etc. I thirst for this or that person not to perish forever but to be saved.

2)   Second part: “Eloi, Eloi…My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!” (Mt 27:46) At this moment, Jesus takes on Himself and tastes the nature of sin and its consequences. He takes on Himself even my sin, my thoughts, words and deeds… He, the Lamb of God, experiences the depth of abandonment of the soul by God, the essence of eternal perdition caused by sin which He now takes on Himself of His own free will. We cannot create false unity with the sin of the world; we are no saviours. We can unite only with Jesus Christ, our personal Saviour, Redeemer! This is a moment of encounter and culmination of the spiritual battle. Not only sin but also demonic forces were given power to torture the Lamb of God physically and mentally, and eventually to kill Him physically.

3)   Third part: “It is finished!” (Jn 19:30) Jesus finished the work and overcame sin. It was a breakthrough into spiritual darkness. He drained the cup of suffering to the bottom, taking on Himself all our sin and all states of the soul bordering even on despair. All this was overcome by Christ. He accomplished His work! There is nothing to add. Just accept and actualize Jesus’ “It is finished!” in your life. Realize that through faith the realities of Christ’s life, death and resurrection are actualized in your life as well. The power of evil and sin was broken! Where? In one place only, in the death of Christ. If I enter into His death, its power works in me (cf. 2Cor 4:11).

4) Fourth part: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” (Lk 23:46) This is the culminating moment of Christ’s death. Now I perceive Jesus’ spirit being taken into the Father’s arms. His death breaks through darkness where the ruler of the world reigns with a multitude of demonic forces (so-called negative energies) (Eph 6:12). I unite my spirit to the spirit of Jesus and now together with Him I am taken into the arms of the Father. This is accompanied by groanings of the Spirit which cannot be uttered (cf. Rom 8:26) Aaaaa… baaaa… baaaa… aaaaaa… (Abba, Father). I perceive the reality of Christ’s death, the supreme pure love, total self-surrender to the Father, and I commit my spirit into His hands, into the hands of my Creator! Here you can think of the moment of your physical death. You can express a wish: I want to die like this! In this death, in this moment of self-surrender in faith and union, you can give all your fears, weaknesses and failures. All things are changed here; this is pure love, total self-surrender to God.

 

15 minutes: 2/3) RESURRECTION

The Word of God says that “we were raised with Christ (cf. Col 2:12). In baptism we were given a share in the new life of the risen Jesus. A new life, divine life, is in you like a seed. Unless you choke this seed, after death it will grow into the fullness of life in eternal glory. We can and should walk in the newness of life even now (cf. Rom 6:4). Jesus’ death was followed by resurrection. Your death likewise in union with Christ’s death in particular situations is followed by the experience of spiritual resurrection in all that you commended by faith with Jesus into the hands of the Father. But first you need to experience this mystery by faith in prayer. Realize the vivid and real presence of the risen Jesus by you and in you! You can confess it by faith: “Lord Jesus, You are here. You are the resurrection and the life.” (cf. Jn 11:25) You can also realize by faith that the power of His resurrection penetrates all concerns of your life. He enters your life, your falls, your failures, your problems. He gives you a new life. He gives you Himself! Receive Him!

You can divide 15 minutes into 3 truths:

1)   The reality of Christ’s resurrection. You can experience the moment when the supreme divine power, which made all that is seen and unseen out of nothing, enters into the dead body of Christ and this body is changed and raised and passes through the closed stone tomb. Here you can perceive the almighty power of God and confess your belief in this greatest miracle.

2)   Encounter with the risen Christ (Mary Magdalene, the women, the Emmaus disciples, the Apostles…). You can live this reality and perceive e.g. the words of Christ: “It is I Myself; touch Me and see.” (Lk 24:39) “Put your finger here, and see My hands… Do not be unbelieving, but believing!” (Jn 20:27)

3)   We were raised with Christ (Col 2:12). Through baptism I have been grafted on the life of Christ, on the new life in Him.

 

15  minutes: 3/3) Descent of the Holy Spirit

1) The Incarnation of the Word (Lk 1:34). You can open your heart wholly to the Holy Spirit just as it was done by the Mother of Jesus when She said Her Fiat and the Word became flesh. When She asked how the impossible shall become possible, the angel answered Her: “The Holy Spirit will do it” (v. 35). And it is the same with us. Mary said: “I am the bondslave of the Lord (‘he doule Kyriou’); be it done to me according to Your word.” (v. 38) “And blessed is She who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what had been spoken to Her by the Lord.” (v. 45)

2) The reality of Pentecost in Jerusalem. You can reflect on a Bible verse, e.g.: “The Holy Spirit abides with you and will be in you.” (Jn 14:17) “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you shall be My witnesses.” (Acts 1:8f) “The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in You.” (Rom 8:11) You can experience anew the baptism by the Holy Spirit, renewal by the Holy Spirit. Realize it again and again, and open your heart by faith to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

3) You can pray for a concrete problem, calling on the Holy Spirit to come with His light and power…

 

These six fundamental truths (purification, crucifixion with Christ, testament from the cross, death, resurrection, descent of the Holy Spirit) embrace the whole Gospel and the living relationship to the Lord Jesus. If our soul has been purified by these truths, we can stand before God’s face and inquire of Him as our Lord and Father on certain things, seeking His will. The rule is that out of two good things I seek the one willed by God. What is relevant here is not the external means of inquiring of God but rather the purity of heart. Here one can gain abundant experience of the living God who guides the lives of individuals as well as all the people.

 

Download: ONE HOUR WITH JESUS (CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER)

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“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Eph 2:8-9 (21/5/17 – 4/6/2017)

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