UP Catholic 01 19 2018 E Edition Page 3

I n my last message on prayer, I reflected on vocal prayer and a prayer from the heart. In this message, I will reflect on the expression of prayer known as meditation. The Com- pendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes meditation in this way: Meditation is a prayerful reflec- tion that begins above all in the Word of God in the Bible. Medi- tation engages thought, imagina- tion, emotion and desire in order to deepen our faith, covert our heart and fortify our will to follow Christ. It is a first step toward the union of love with our Lord (Com- pendium CCC, 570). St. Teresa of Avila describes meditation or mental prayer in this way: For mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us (Life, ch. 8). Think of meditation as mining for gold. One enters and looks for the veins of ore, the truths of our faith and the mysteries of God. By extracting and pro- cessing the ore through our thoughts, imagination, emotions and desires, we see and stand in awe of the shining brilliance of gold, the mysteries of God. Gazing at the beauty of God, we grow in love of God and are moved to a conversion of mind and heart to change our life and follow our Lord more closely. One might now ask, how do I meditate? To answer that question, it is helpful to note that there is no one right method in prayer. Prayer is not just going through the steps, but rather a loving encounter with God. Any method we use to meditate has its purpose disposing our hearts for the loving encounter with God. Thus, we cannot measure our prayer by wheth- er we followed a certain method or not. No method can make God speak to us. No method can guarantee an encounter with the Lord. Remember that prayer is a gift from God that we open our hearts to receive. We might say that prayer is an art. We can only learn to pray by praying. Father Gabriel Diefenbach says: An art is acquired not by mere knowledge of the rules but by practice thereof. We learn to pray by praying. The Holy Spirit is the chief guide from within, and He will infallibly lead the docile and fervent soul. He will give it a facility and attrac- tion which the soul must try faithfully to follow. Once we have this taste and facility for prayer - and we all can have it - we are in possession of happiness, power, and joy, and the way to holi- ness and to increasing intimacy with the divine guest of our soul (Common Mystic Prayer, p. 25). Although prayer is not the method per se, a meth- od is important to point us in the right direction as we learn how to meditate. I will offer a simple meth- od in the next message. www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC January 19, 2018 3 (USPS 916-360 ISSN 10634525) THE U.P. CATHOLIC The Newspaper of the Diocese of Marquette Publisher: Most Rev. John F. Doerfler Editor: John Fee Assistant Editor: Jamie Gualdoni Advertising Manager: Deacon Stephen Gretzinger Administrative Assistant: Sheila Wickenheiser Direct all news, correspondence and changes of address to: 1004 Harbor Hills Drive, Marquette, MI 49855-8851. Postal authorities direct Form 3579 to: 1004 Harbor Hills Dr., Marquette, MI 49855. The U.P. CATHOLIC is the official publication of the Diocese of Marquette. All notices and regulations, appointments, assignments, etc., issued under the caption 'Official' are to be regarded as official communications of the Diocese of Marquette. Opinion columns, letters to the editor and advertisements that appear in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions held by The U.P. Catholic or the Diocese of Marquette. The diocese is prohibited from endorsing candidates for public office. Office of Publication: 1004 Harbor Hills Dr., Marquette, Michigan. Periodical postage paid at Marquette, Michigan, 49855 and at additional entry office. Published semimonthly except during January, June, July, August, September, and November. The U.P. Catholic is provided to all registered U.P. parishioners. The cost for subscribers who are not registered members of a parish in the Marquette Diocese is $25/year. Advertising is $15.32/col inch unless specified otherwise. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The U.P. Catholic, 1004 Harbor Hills Drive, Marquette, MI 49855-8851. FOR CHANGE OF ADDRESS or SUBSCRIPTION QUESTIONS CALL (906) 227-9104 Telephone: (906) 227-9131 Toll Free: 1-800-562-9745 (ext. 131) FAX: (906) 225-0437 ADVERTISING Toll-Free: (866) 452-5112 E-Mail: Editorial - editor@dioceseofmarquette.org Advertising - upc@new.rr.com Meditation: Mining for gold JOY OF THE GOSPEL Bishop John Doerfler BEN J. HASSE FORMER SEMINARIAN (Circa 2009) WE INVITE YOU TO PRAY FOR VOCATIONS. LOVING FATHER, MASTER OF THE HARVEST; PLEASE SEND MORE LABORERS TO WORK IN YOUR VINEYARD. AMEN. www.dioceseofmarquette.org/vocations When did (Fr.) Ben fall in love with Jesus? I think the first time I can concretely remember would be when I made Youth Encounter as a 17 year old and experienced Jesus' mercy in Confession, along with the joy of choosing Him as part of a community of peers. PRAYER IS NOT JUST GOING THROUGH THE STEPS, BUT RATHER A LOVING ENCOUNTER WITH GOD. Faith leaders affirm the inherent beauty and dignity of being created male or female Following the United States Con- ference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) General Assembly in November 2017, a group of ecumenical and interfaith partners gathered with bishops of the subcommittee for the promotion and defense of marriage to discuss gender ideology. As a result of this discussion, faith leaders issued an open letter last month entitled, Created Male and Female. Signing the letter were Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of Phil- adelphia, chairman of the USCCB committee on laity, marriage, family life and youth, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the subcommit- tee for the promotion and defense of marriage, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the commit- tee for religious liberty, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chairman of the committee on ecumenical and inter- religious affairs. We hope this letter communicates to the public our shared understanding of the goodness of the creation of human- ity as male or female and underscores our commitment to service of this truth with both clarity and compassion, said Bishop Conley. The religious leaders stressed the importance of acknowledging the real- ity of sexual identity, noting, Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can 'change' their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults. Parents deserve bet- ter guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of 'first, do no harm.' The leaders close with a hope: We hope for renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity. The letter is available at: http:// www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/ marriage-and-family/marriage/pro- motion-and-defense-of-marriage/ created-male-and-female.cfm and follows three previous open letters: The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment, issued Dec. 6, 2010, Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together, issued Jan. 12, 2012, and The Defense of Marriage and the RightofReligiousFreedom:Reirm- ing a Shared Witness, issued on April 23, 2015, which are also available on the USCCB website.

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