The Korean war was one of the most brutal conflicts in human history. Millions lost their lives in a three year span, many of them from the bitter cold. When the war ended in 1953, a group of American POW’s emerged from the darkness of a prison camp bearing an almost four foot high crucifix made from firewood, with a crown of thorns woven from radio wire. They wouldn’t leave the hell they’d survived without it. It was made by a Jewish POW in honor of the Catholic chaplain that men of every faith loved: Fr. Emil Kapaun.
No, He doesn’t. One of St. Thomas Aquinas’ questions in his masterful Summa Theologica is “Whether Attention is a Necessary Condition of Prayer?” His answer may be a bit of a surprise (and perhaps a relief):
“Purposely to allow one’s mind to wander in prayer is sinful, and hinders the prayer from having fruit….But to wander in mind unintentionally does not deprive the prayer of fruit.” (ST, II-II, Q. 83, a. 13).
Pope John Paul II gave us some poignant words to ponder. He told us that prayer is related to our very humanity and the first condition for authentic freedom of spirit. Specifically, he said, “It should never be forgotten that prayer constitutes an essential part of the Christian life, understood in its fullness and centrality. Indeed, prayer is an important part of our very humanity; it is ‘the first expression of man’s inner truth, the first condition for authentic freedom of spirit’” (Pope John Paul II, Address at the Mentorella Shrine, October 29, 1978).
The idea behind setting up the alarms was one that was inspired by a friend’s book mentioning the Ignatian practice of a daily (and through-the-day) examen. I adapted it to a three-time-a-day grateful prayer, which was inspired by a different friend’s morning tweeting. This friend begins each morning with a #gratefultweet (that’s the hashtag). I started doing it and it’s become a different sort of public prayer for me.
Note from the Chair: Today’s guest blogger is another good friend, Matt Leonard. Matt is a remarkable young author, speaker, and all-around great guy. He’s the Executive Director of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, along with being a…
More than a million people crowded the apparently godless public square of the capital city of communist Poland. It was June 1979, and they had gathered to see the recently elected Polish pope, John Paul II.
Someone shouted, “We want God,” and soon the chant was taken up by the million voices: “We want God. We want God. We want God.”
Note from the Chair: It’s a privilege to have Shane Kapler as our guest blogger today. I first met Shane a couple years ago when he visited The Coming Home Network to appear on the Journey Home program. He is…
Note from the Chair: FLPH is deeply grateful to the many good Catholics who stand on the front lines of the new evangelization. Among them is a good friend, Teresa Tomeo. For the one or two people who don’t know…