We celebrated International Day of Peace here at the House of Prayer
“Contemplative living is a way of listening and responding to our everyday experiences by consciously attending to our relationships with self, others, God, and all of nature” -
Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton - A participant's view point
Praying on Mondays: It’s a good habit!!
I believe there are as many forms of prayer in the world as there are grains of sand. It can also take a very long time to find an approach to prayer that is just right for each person.
As Christians, we offer prayers of Praise to give glory to God; we pray for Blessing, asking God’s protection for ourselves, family, special events; we pray in Gratitude for all that we have received and, in our humanity, we are usually interceding with some prayer of Petition. On Monday nights at the House of Prayer our personal prayer takes a variety of forms because it is private and there is no set formula, although we do follow the liturgical seasons and on the fourth Monday our prayer is focused on Peace.
Whatever the purpose or reason of our prayer, there comes a simple satisfaction of heart in speaking to God, whoever we perceive God to be - our soul’s Creator, Parent, Beloved or Cosmic Mystery.
When our prayer is meditative, one may feel a calmness and quiet surrender to God which is felt at the very core of our being. Sometimes we come just to prayer simply to remain silent, in simplicity, resting in the Presence, not saying anything and not meditating on anything, not asking anything, but simply being.
Monday night Prayer has been a continuum of the House of prayer for decades. This time offers an opportunity to continually develop one’s own prayer life; it offers an opportunity to commit to a particular prayer form on a regular basis and also contributes to cultivating an environment of shared prayer, the heartbeat of the House ministries.
Contemplative prayer, such as we offer on Monday nights at the House of Prayer, might at first, be a challenge or perhaps even a little boring for those of us who struggle sitting in stillness and quiet for an hour. However, for those of us who have made a commitment to this sacred time and space, it is very much considered to be the fastest hour of the week and brings to us the experience of peace and calm which sets up the platform from which we can move forward to operate for the rest of the week. It can also at times bring us face to face with life challenges which we struggle to deal with. This time of quiet can often sort out confused or distorted feelings and help us to unravel the muddle of thoughts that so often can plague us. With a bit of practice and patience we are invited to allow this form of prayer to become a wonderful experience, which is life giving and spiritually uplifting. We can ignore or use the prompts of the prayer guide, or simply allow ourselves to be gently lulled into the silence by the music
An extra bonus is the chatter before and after the quiet time plus the occasional shared meal or cuppa.
When and where:
Prayer starts at 7:30pm every Monday and typically lasts one hour. If you’re early, access is by the front or office doors. However closer to 7.30pm, access is via the verandah and the ramp to the Chapel entrance.
Want more info on prayer:Visit https://aleteia.org/2013/01/21/what-is-contemplative-prayer
Just come along and give it a try - You will be made most welcome!Loraine Peach
A Poem from Michael Leunig.
At a recent Saturday morning liturgy at the House of Prayer we were introduced to JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) with a poem from Michael Leunig. One line in the poem caught my attention ‘you spurn the treasure on the shelf in favour of your peaceful self;’ which reminded me of my journey over the past years gradually choosing and realizing the pleasure of emptiness and silence and taking time to enjoy a simple, peaceful and (as much as possible) natural life.
Leunig’s poem includes: … ‘And rush towards that shining thing. The latest bit of mental bling….trying to have it, see, it, do it, You simply know you won’t go through it; the anxious clamouring and need, This restless hungry thing to feed.’
Dr William Glasser, in his book Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom refers to this pressure as ‘external control psychology’ and he lists 7 behaviours that contribute to the breakdown in relationships: blame, criticize, complain, threaten, punish, manipulate and nag. Alternately he suggests 7 behaviours that build relationships which he says is built on ‘internal motivation psychology’; respect, encourage, negotiate, trust, accept, listen, support. He says that as humans we need connectedness and when we are not feeling connected we feel pain; the way we deal with this pain can be either effective or ineffective depending on our choice of behaviour. He says that the first relationship we need to build is a relationship with ourselves.
I use Choice Theory a lot and as a Spiritual Director at the HOP I am constantly reminded that as people of faith we are called upon to behave in effective ways to build our relationship with God - to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbour as ourselves. This is a constant choice, a motivation from within that is fed for me from people like Michael Leunig offering us JOMO!
The Blessing of Animals
World Animal Day is a day of action recognised worldwide for animal rights as well as welfare. The mission of this day is to raise the status of animals and improve welfare standards worldwide. It is celebrated on 4 October, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi who is recognised as the animals’ patron saint.
World Animal Day is today observed by animal-lovers of all beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds. Animal blessings are held in churches, synagogues, and by independent Animal Chaplains in parks and fields. Animal rescue shelters hold fundraising events and open days; wildlife groups and schools organize information displays and projects and people donate to animal charities or pledge to sponsor a shelter animal.
Since 2002, on the Saturday closest to the feast of St. Francis, our own local St. Francis (Fr. Dave Lancini) has been blessing the animals in Anderson Park. Currently our congregation consists mainly of dogs, but in earlier year we have welcomed horses, lizards, turtles, cats, birds and on one occasion a pet carpet snake actually shed his skin during the service. The ashes of special pets have been scattered under the rain tree and people also remember those pets now gone who have played a special part in their lives.
Everyone is welcome, furred, winged, two-footed, four-footed and we look forward each year to welcoming the hospital dogs. It is amazing how the chaos quietens immediately the service begins and everyone behaves very well, even the owners.
Our liturgy usually incorporates a reminder that we all inter-related in creation and that we share a common responsibility for the well-being of one another, including our animals and environment.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress may be judged
by the way its animals are treated ~ Mahatma Gandhi ~