05-05-2019 "Thoughts Matter"

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-St. Richard Catholic Church
Journey of Faith
Opening Prayer
Scripture Readings
"In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
What thoughts dominate your conscious awareness?

Our faith teaches the infinite God is our ultimate heart’s desire, as St. Augustine recognized when he wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Unfortunately, we unsuccessfully try to satisfy this desire with finite things such as pleasures, possessions, power, and prestige.

Sr. Mary Margaret Funk, O.S.B. wrote a series of books on the practice of the spiritual life. Her first book, Thoughts Matter, concerns eight classic themes of thoughts that distract us from experiencing the presence of God in our lives.

For those who are seriously looking for the right path on the spiritual journey, Funk directs us to John Cassian, a fourth century monk, who taught that three renunciations are required of us if we are on such a spiritual journey.
First, we must renounce our former way of life and move closer to our heart’s desire, toward the interior life. Second, we must do the inner work (of asceticism) by renouncing our mindless thoughts. This renunciation is particularly difficult because we have little control over our thoughts. Third, and finally, we must renounce our own images of God so that we can enter into God as God.
Thoughts Matter concerns the second renunciation. Spiritual teachers throughout history have recognized recurrent themes of thoughts that routinely arise in our consciousness. These thoughts can lead us to desires and ultimately to passions, habits, and behaviors to which we can become attached and enslaved. These thoughts cluster around eight main types: food, sex, things, anger, dejection, acedia or spiritual apathy, vainglory, and pride. These thoughts can stand between us and our ultimate yearning for God.

For example, bring to consciousness the name of one of your favorite foods and begin to witness the thoughts as they arise in your consciousness. Or, identify a person you don’t’ like and see where your thoughts take you. Sometime later on, if you again bring to consciousness the same person or item of food, your flow of thoughts may be similar to the train of thoughts that you previously witnessed.

The practice of the spiritual life calls and trains us to let go of thoughts, desires, habits, and behaviors that distract us and do not lead us toward fulfilling our ultimate desire for communion and union with God. To be a serious seeker we must undergo training and practices to redirect our mind to follow the spiritual path as a disciple of Christ, leading us towards loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and loving others as God loves us. We do this so that, as Jesus prayed, we “may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us” (Jn 17:21). 
Reflect on Your Experience
What themes of thoughts routinely arise in your consciousness throughout the day?

Do you take time in your day to sit in silence and solitude, allowing any thoughts to just come and go??
U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults   Catecismo Catolico de Los Estadios Unidos para los Adultos  
Compendium on the Social Doctrine of the Church    Compendio de la Doctrina Social de la Iglesia
"The Way of the Pilgrim" (Bishop Robert Barron)

"Thoughts Matter in the Spiritual Life" (Fr. Albert Haase, OFM)

"Thoughts Matter" (The Catholic Therapist)

"How to Stop Your Thoughts"

"Guarding Your Life Against Lust" (Ascension Press)

"What Steps Can I Take to Calm My Mind?" (Monks of the Desert)

"Catholic Mindfulness" (Dr. Greg Bottaro)

"Where Do Our Thoughts Come From?" (Eckhart Tolle)

"How Do I Quiet My Mind?" (Eckhart Tolle)

"How Do We Break the Habit of Excessive Thinking?" (Eckhart Tolle)

"Sister Mary Margaret Funk - Interview"
"Desert Song" (Hillsong United)

"Alle, Alle, Alleluia"

"Come Holy Spirit"

Other Resources
"How I Transformed My Life By Controlling My Mind"

"Learn to Control Your Thoughts"

"Your Thoughts Aren't Harmless, Here's How to Take Control of Them"

"A Technique from the Desert Fathers to Control Our Negative Thoughts"

"Strong Temptations? Defeat Them Like the Desert Fathers"

"5 Ways to Practice Catholic Mindfulness"

"Jesus Prayer, Prayer of the Heart"

"Catholic Spirituality in Practice" (C 21 - Boston College)

Other Prayer and Spiritual Practices

Social Services and Other Charitable Resources

Other Resources on Catholic Social Teaching
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