Tuesday of Holy Week: Give Us Your Lattes, Please!

Today over at the Friends of Little Portion Hermitage (FLPH) site, we have our next guest post from author, scripture scholar, and well-known Catholic television and radio host Mike Aquilina, explaining how to go about developing a richer, more fulfilled prayer life: it’s full of terrific ideas that are worth taking to heart.

This is the third in a series of terrific posts, which we’ve asked Catholic writers to donate in aid of establishing a permanent Franciscan hermitage up in Maine.  If you missed the great pieces we had last week from Teresa Tomeo and Shane Kapler, you’ll find those as well as future guest posts archived under the “Guest Posts” tab on the FLPH site.  While you’re there, be sure to check out Brother Rex’ daily thoughts and reflections under the “Inspirations” tab, or ask him to remember your special intentions under the “Prayer Requests” form.  He has been thrilled with all the people asking him to pray on their behalf or on behalf of those whom they know need a constancy of prayer before God.  You can also follow all of this on Twitter and on Facebook.

We were looking at some of the FLPH site stats yesterday, and nearly 25,000 people have already visited the FLPH since we started this campaign and Brother Rex was on EWTN last week.  This is tremendous, and we’re really grateful for all of the visits and messages of support!  From a practical standpoint, if each one of those visitors had donated $2.00, we would have met our startup fundraising goal on this campaign! Unfortunately, we’re nowhere near that yet, and some recent news from Maine is a little troublesome.

So I’m now going to add a little note of urgency, and ask if you can, to please make a little act of self-sacrifice this Holy Week.

Brother Rex is currently living his life of prayer in a small rental property up in Portland.  It’s looking increasingly likely that sometime within the next couple of months, the place is going to be sold out from under him.  We’ve also just learnt that the parish rectory he was hoping to be able to stay at temporarily, to do some couch surfing if the sale of his current, temporary hermitage went through, is now no longer available.

Where do you come in?

Well if you’ve got a little house up in Maine to donate, or some lottery winnings just sitting around gathering dust at the bank waiting for a good project to donate to, we’d love to hear from you.  However barring that, during this season of self-sacrifice and seeking humility in imitation of Christ, I’m going to shift a bit to a more mendicant, Franciscan position.  Which quite frankly, is rather unusual for me given my Dominican tendencies, but needs must.

Could you consider giving up a latte this Holy Week, and sharing what you would have spent on that temporary caffeine high, with someone who will be praying for you and your intentions in gratitude for the rest of his life?

That’s not such a terrible Lenten give-up, it seems to me, particularly since we all have to fast on Good Friday anyway.  Of course, if you want to donate a latte a week, or a month, that would be swell too. On the FLPH site, you can click to donate by PayPal, or find out where to send a check.

We would be really grateful for your support, and please keep us in your prayers!

Detail of "Errand Boy Drinking Coffee" by Christian Krohg (1885) Göteborg Art Museum, Norway

Detail of “Errand Boy Drinking Coffee” by Christian Krohg (1885)
Göteborg Art Museum, Norway

Latest Guest Post for FLPH from Author Shane Kapler

In the second of our ongoing series of guests posts in aid of Friends of Little Portion Hermitage, today author and speaker Shane Kapler has donated a terrific piece about daily prayer, “When You Can’t Make It To Daily Mass, Pray Like JMJ”, in which he reflects on the prayer life of a Jewish family like that of Jesus’ time.  We’re really grateful for his contribution, and hope that you’ll not only take the opportunity to read it, but also that after dropping by the FLPH site you might prayerfully consider a donation toward establishing a permanent hermitage for Brother Rex and his successors.  For those of you who missed Brother Rex’s appearance on EWTN this Monday, the video is now archived on EWTN’s YouTube Channel for you to watch anytime.

Getting back to Shane’s piece, it’s true that many of us find it impossible to get to daily Mass.  Catholics are not required to go to Mass every day, of course, but most of us do know that we’re missing something.  I can say that when I have had time in my life to make it there, it’s always been a great source of strength.

In his piece, Shane asks what the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph might have practiced in their prayer life at home.  He describes the development of the Jewish practice of pausing several times a day for prayer, and how the Early Church continued this tradition and expanded upon it.  In the life and rhythm of the Church today, this pausing takes place in the praying of the Divine Office, which the clergy, religious, and many lay people pray throughout the day.  For those of us who have less time available, using shorter, modified versions such as that provided in “Magnifcat” magazine are a possible alternative.

For those of you who are run so ragged that even a simplified version of the Divine Office is not possible, you have a wonderful solution that will take no more than a couple of minutes out of each day, and requires little more than a bit of memorization on your part: The Angelus.  Those of you who went to Catholic school, as I did, probably stopped and prayed it before you went to lunch.  Prayed three times a day, at 6am, noon, and 6pm, it is a short way to begin and end the work day, as well as for taking a moment in the middle of your day to reflect on God’s Incarnation as Man, and what that means for your salvation.  If you’re lucky, as we are here in Washington, many churches still ring the bells for the Angelus to remind you to make these prayers.

However you go about it, Shane’s call to take the time to pause during the day is really a great one.  We can’t all get to daily Mass, and God knows that.  What we can all do however, is make it a priority to pause to glorify God, thank Him, and remember that we are not made for this world, but for the next.  If we do so, not only can we build a better relationship with Him, but it can help put everything from road rage to jammed copiers to kids who won’t eat their lunch into better perspective.

"The Angelus" by Jean-François Millet Musée d'Orsay, Paris

“The Angelus” by Jean-François Millet
Musée d’Orsay, Paris