Articles Under: Spiritual Formation and Prayer

Born into a Catholic family and baptized when I was sixteen days old, I grew up accepting the Church, receiving from her, but not understanding much about her identity. True, I appreciated the beauty in the stained-glass windows and the rich wood of the pews of my parish church. And in Holy Communion at a young age, I remember on occasion experiencing deep peace and comfort. I also felt a sense of awe, of a holy presence, when I entered the chapels of the Catholic schools I attended. Never in my years of Catholic school (during the 70’s and 80’s)... Read more
Most people within the Catholic Church, as well as those who would consider themselves religiously unaffiliated, have some name and image recognition of St. Francis of Assisi. For many, the dominant image is the ubiquitous St. Francis birdbath nestled in the greenery or the flower garden. Others may think of Francis of Assisi’s particular love for the poor and the lepers of his day. For others, when they think of St. Francis, their consideration is drawn to the stigmata he received that resembled the wounds of the poor, crucified Christ. These images all have a true connection to the man... Read more
For more information about the celebrations for the University's 75th Anniversary, please go to . Or call (740) 283-3771 .Read more
For more information on the 2022 Steubenville Youth Conferences, go online at or call 1-740-283-6315 .Read more
To order these books and films from Ignatius Press, go to . O r call 800-651-1531 . Let them know you saw the ad here. This is a paid advertisement in the January-March 2022 issue. Advertisements should not be viewed as endorsements from the publisher.Read more
How to change a flat tire. How to turn off the water to an overflowing toilet. How to manage money, create a budget, and balance a checkbook. How to perform the Heimlich maneuver or CPR in an emergency. These are all invaluable life skills that every parent ought to add to their list of “important lessons to impart upon our children.” Sadly, however, if one were to poll most Catholic parents, “how to pray” would likely not even crack their top ten list. Why is that, exactly? Perhaps prayer is seen as a “given,” something more “caught than taught.” Possibly... Read more
“Prayer is first of all a gift from God; in fact, in every one of the baptized, ‘the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words’ (Rom 8:26).” [1] Our habit as Catholics is to begin our prayers with the Sign of the Cross—itself a gift we’ve received from Christ and the Church. By this ancient sign, we ground our prayer in the Holy Trinity, who was revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Because prayer is a gift, our work as catechists isn’t so much to teach children their prayers as it is to... Read more
Interior, conversational prayer with God—which the Catholic spiritual tradition customarily terms “mental prayer” to distinguish it from “vocal prayer,” which is recited audibly—is a key spiritual discipline without which there is little prospect for growth in holiness for the baptized believer. Therefore, catechesis about the role of mental prayer in the spiritual life and the techniques or methods of mental prayer is an urgent necessity in our age and every age. The Meaning and Importance of “Mental Prayer” The term “mental prayer” is traditional but can be misunderstood in contemporary discourse because the term “mental” can suggest “rational,” “speculative,” or... Read more
What Is Prayer? When we hear the word prayer, often we think of vocal prayer, using words either handed down to us burnished by the voices of generations or the words that spring up spontaneously from the heart. Prayer takes many forms, however, and all of them are means to seek God and respond to his love, for, “whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.” [1] This encounter may well happen beyond words, with gestures or in silence. The Power of Faith The response... Read more
There have been some very good books written in the past few years centered on helping parishes to become mission-focused. One of the best of these is a ninety-page book published by the University of Mary, From Christendom to Apostolic Mission: Pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age . Monsignor James Shea, in his preface to the book, describes a fundamental cultural shift of recent decades that is dramatically accelerating. We are living in an era of transition away from the relatively comfortable confines of a Christendom-oriented relationship with culture to a new and much more challenging environment. A Catholic (or... Read more