Tuesday, March 9, 2021

BEGINNERS' PAGE - How to approach God.... How to pray.... For the full development of the COUPLE in Marriage and for the VITALITY of FAMILY LIFE

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity (Jeremiah 31:31-34) every person can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.



When it comes to relating to God, we are all of us, and always, BEGINNERS. 

The INITIATIVE, the FIRST MOVE, is ALWAYS on God's part, which is good to know. 

GOD is always PRESENT and WAITING for our RESPONSE. 


GOD our CREATOR exists from all ETERNITY - which is different from our space/time reality. Reason tells us that God was here before us, and according to the Jewish calendar 2021 is the year 5781 since the creation of Adam and Eve. For at least 5,781  years our Creator has been inviting humans to friendship. In our "obsession" with our freedom, we are reluctant to enter into friendship with God. 

Respecting our freedom, God appears to be "playing hide and seek". God "hides in silence and invisibility" and He invites us to "seek Him out" in any way we can. This makes us constantly BEGINNERS in our rapport with God, trying to learn to trust in God and relate to Him. 










A newborn baby "thinks" that the mother is "part of the baby's body". The baby only knows that IT exists, and everything else is just "part of me". In time the baby becomes fascinated with its feet and other objects, and realizes "Mommy is NOT me." Then a relationship becomes possible between the baby and its mother. Similarly, at first human beings don't see a difference between "me" and others, between "me" and God. Getting stuck there makes us selfish. Once I recognize others are "not me"; I can begin to respect them, get to know them, and love them. It is like that with God our Creator.

GOD is EVERYWHERE and ALWAYS PRESENT. There is NO PLACE where God can be absent, with the exception of human consciousness - often we don't think of God's presence. However, we can discover within ourselves a DESIRE to get to know God, and in our freedom, we can choose and decide to set out to discover God and to embark on a life long journey to get to know God more and more. 

Given the way our awareness works, we can relate to God on the OUTSIDE or the INSIDE of us, or BOTH. We can observe EXTERNAL SIGNS of God's presence and action, and we can also "JOURNEY INWARD" within our spirit to discover God present within us. 




There are two basic attitudes to God in life and our world: scientific materialism and reason and faith.

SCIENTIFIC MATERIALISM - Is a "negative bias" that excludes any possibility of God existing, or if God does exist, God is considered to be irrelevant. From this biased point of view, nothing outside of us or inside of us can give any indication that God exists, or that God has any interest in us.  

REASON AND FAITH - Is a "positive bias" that remains open to the possibility that God exists, that He may be favorably interested in us, and may be offering to welcome us into a personal relationship. Through reason, this attitude welcomesthe same knowledge available to scientific materialists, but in addition, partners with faith to welcome all the knowledge that comes from other realms. This includes such intangibles as human friendship and compassion, kindness and understanding, sympathy and love, including all the dynamics of human consciousness; as well as all that through faith can be known of the supernatural and mystical realm of God's existence, presence, communication, and action. 


SCIENTIFIC MATERIALISM - Looking at life around us, we see only what is visible and tangible, what can be measured. As a direct result, one remains blind to observing anything of God. There is only the flesh, chemistry and physics; when we die, we go back into dust and that's the end. There is only me. No matter how I try to explore my inner life, I can only see my own navel, and at best, whatever I have taken from others and brought into myself to make it my own. So, there is only me here.

FAITH AND REASON - When reason looks around at the vast abundance, complexity, and beauty of Creation, faith joins in to interpret all that points to the qualities and motivations of our Creator. Therefore, reason in partnership with faith - on observing everything that exists - can then understand everything to demonstrate the benevolence and extravagantly generous love of the Creator. Reason and faith together are moved to experience gratitude and to express gratitude to the Creator through praise. 

Reason and faith learn together that our own thoughts can be to such a degree in sync with "God's thoughts" that it is difficult to tell them apart. It is the same with "our feelings" and "God's feelings". 

Without God, it is difficult to avoid contemplating only our own navel. When reason and faith see all that is true, good, beautiful, just, and loving within us and around us; our spirit is inclined to gratitude. It is precisely in gratitude that we are "transported out of ourselves" in the presence, kindness, and merciful love of God our Creator. The more we dwell "in God" through praise and worship; the more easily we can care about our neighbor, even our enemy; the less likely we are to gaze at our navel. 



With reason and faith we look at all of life around us to observe the myriad signs of God's presence, divine providence, and care for us. With an attitude of hopeful expectancy, we enter into our "interior landscape" to explore the more subtle signs of God's presence, divine providence, and care for us. 

1.  Contemplating nature can lift my spirit to enter gratefully into God's presence. I can prolong this "visit with God" by using a variety of prayer "techniques":

👉 Praying "Alone" 

👉 Praying "in silence" 

2.  Reading prayerfully the living Word of God in Sacred Scripture - the Bible - can bring me to realize that God is actually "speaking to me here and now in my life" and there are ways of prolonging such a "visit with God":

👉 Praying with Sacred Scripture - the "Living Word of God" 

3.  Looking at a "visual aid" such as a statue, icon, or other work of religious art, it can "open my imagination and memory" to "lift me up into God's presence" where I can prolong this "visitation with God" in a variety of ways: 

👉 Praying "in the company of the saints" - with ICONS & STATUES 

👉 Praying "in the company of the saints" - with STATUES & IMAGES 

4.  Using something in my life as a point of departure, I can ponder this experience or event or state of being or emotion and navigate it "towards God's presence and loving disposition" like an athlete engaging in "white water rafting" in the midst of which I can find myself relating to God in a more personal way, expressing myself and also listening to God

👉 Emotions connect us but at times they are troubling 

👉 Praying? What the heck is that anyway? 

👉 Like Indiana Jones in "The Last Crusade"? 

👉 Ending the Day Well & Starting the Day Well 

👉 Doubts, troubles, & struggles 

5.  There are as many ways of relating to God as there are unique human individuals and as there are different conditions, circumstances, and settings of time and place.... In all of these approaches to God, we learn to remember that God is always "going ahead of us" because God is always "there" and "here" at the same time. Every attempt to pray is an effort to "tune in" to God who is already relating to us with love and speaking to us tenderly at times and, at other times in accord with our need, more robustly or authoritatively.... One can develop a habit or skill for "lifting up one's spirit to God" at various times during the day in the normal course of life's every day activity.... Here are examples:

👉 Spirituality "Moments" in the busy lives of couples & parents 

👉 Spirituality "Ideas" for daily Catholic Christian devotions 




We know that something is important to us when we make time for it, schedule it, put other things aside in order to make room for it. This is especially true in our relationships with other people, but also with God. It is important and necessary for a lively and personal relationship with God to give myself regular time for "visiting with God" - which we call prayer - in any of a variety of ways. Variety is good and stimulating for any relationship, and this is also true with God. 


When we decide to be open to allow spontaneous eruptions of contemplation and prayer, our spirit can come to inhabit an "interior realm" in which peace and serenity, laughter and joy may spontaneously erupt at any time, and can be expected to do so on a regular basis. This is a very meaningful and wonderful way to live our human life, regardless of our external circumstances in life, and no matter our state of good health or of ill health.



All it takes to "get going" with prayer and in our relationship with God is the decision to "do it". God is already at work within us be planting deep within our spirit a "desire" for Him, a "need" to know more about Him, and "interior call or attraction" to take steps in his direction. Often, human beings are oblivious to this preparatory "work of God" within their spirit; due to persistent "dark" attitudes of anger, resentment, jealousy, fear, insecurity, and the whole host of human negativity.... 

Wherever "I am at right now", the first step is to "wake up" to my current situation - which includes the people I love - and to admit to myself all that's happening. As soon as I do that; I am ready to "open myself up" to God in any way that I can. God will use my efforts - however poor I feel they may be - to have communication with me from within. As soon as I let God "connect with me"; we're off! God does what He wants to do, and I do my best, and somewhere between us there comes a "meeting", a "mysterious encounter" between the Creator of the Universe and one of his beloved creatures. 



One person can read the Antiphon and then everyone repeats it. This one is special for Lent. Then all participate by slowly reading one of the verses. As we wait for the next person to read, the silence will not be awkward but a gift, and opportunity to relax in the presence of God, and to let the words penetrate us with their meaning. We do our little part, and God does his part deep within each of us, bringing his peace. 

- - - - - - 

👉 PRAYER EXERCISE # 1 - Psalm 95 (Lent) 👈

- - - - - - 

Antiphon: Come, let us worship Christ the Lord,
who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.

- - - - - - 

Come, let us sing to the Lord and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us. 
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

- - - - - - 

The Lord is God, the mighty God, the great king over all the gods. 
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the highest mountains as well. 
He made the sea; it belongs to him, the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

- - - - - - 

Come, then, let us bow down and worship, 
bending the knee before the Lord, our maker, 
For he is our God and we are his people, the flock he shepherds.

- - - - - - 

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord: Do not grow stubborn,
as your fathers did in the wilderness, 
when at Meriba and Massah they challenged me and provoked me, 
although they had seen all of my works.

- - - - - - 

Forty years I endured that generation. 
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know my ways. 
So I swore in my anger, “They shall not enter into my rest.”

- - - - - - 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: 
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever, Amen

- - - - - - 

Antiphon: Come, let us worship Christ the Lord,
who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.

- - - - - - 

     As in many places in the Old Testament the Word of God says that God gets angry. It is not anger as we experience it but "jealous anger" like what parents feel when they see a child in danger. God is above human emotions; even if Jesus is human and has emotions. God respects our freedom and lets us endure the consequences of our bad choices and of our rejection of Him. The verse above says that people's "hearts go astray and they do not know God's ways". God lets us suffer many things in life until our hearts decide to turn to Him and make efforts to learn "his ways". We cannot have fullness of life outside of a relationship with God the Father through Jesus. The Bible helps us the more we read and ponder it, and others who know the Lord can also help us. We cannot be Christian, a disciple of Jesus, by ourselves. We must go with other Christians and be one with them.



(2 minute instruction + 4 minutes of silence) 

Silence is always a good follow up to reading lines from the Word of God, the Bible. Here now are a few simple instructions for our few minutes of prayer in silence. I invite you to give yourself permission to sit for a few minutes, relax, and just breathe. Use a timer to know when the time is up after a few minutes; don't worry about the duration.

Human beings everywhere pray simply in silence – it's the most natural thing to do. You can close your eyes after reading these brief instructions, relax, and pray silently.   

1)      If you are already familiar with God or Jesus; have a good visit with Him. 

If you are not on familiar terms with God or Jesus, consider this an introduction. 
He desires a personal relationship with you: you always 

2)      You get to decide how open you want to be with the Creator & Saviour….

3)      Sit comfortably, hands resting on knees…  Back & head straight… & relax…

4)      Be still… feel free to adjust your body to relax, be comfortable & alert…

5)      In the silence, notice your interior landscape like a drive in the country…

6)      If all is quiet and peaceful, lovely… focus on a kind image of God or Jesus

If all is not quiet, notice the noise, words, images… 
then just let them drop away... and keep going; focus on a kind image of God or Jesus

8)      "God our Creator... here we are... your Creation in which we live and move and have our being is awesome... thank You. We now visit with You in a few moments in silence... We welcome You to visit with us within our spirits."

9)      Now you have 3 to 25 minutes of silence (you decide how long)....


Review of your experience of silence

Your connection with God will become more real and personal as you make silence and prayer a regular part of your day as a spiritual exercise, an exercise of your spirit. It is within our spirit that God connects with us because God is SPIRIT and not flesh. Yes, Jesus took on flesh, a human nature, when He was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit. As Son of God, though, Jesus is SPIRIT like the Father and the Holy Spirit. God created us human beings with an “empty space” in the center of our self, our identity, our soul or spirit and this space is designed to receive the mysterious divine presence of God the Holy Trinity. When we welcome God, we become most fully and perfectly human. Many scientists deny the existence of the soul or spirit because they cannot observe or measure it with instruments. That is because "spirit" exists in another dimension and we already have the "interface" we need to enter into this realm of spirit, the realm which is God's "natural state or habitat". All we need is to trust in God. 

The whole adventure of life begins our free response, yours and mine… that is how God designed life on Earth for us humans. Jesus didn’t come to reform the Roman Empire or even the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. He came to help people, one person at a time, even in speaking to crowds; so that all those who want to encounter God can decide to accept to enter into a personal relationship with the Father through Jesus and with the help of the Holy Spirit. From this point of departure, we can experience how God wants to enrich all our relationships with others, beginning with our own family of origin, and then through marriage, in developing our own family as a couple for the flowering of family life. For celibates – whether they choose to be celibate or not – the journey is similar but in a different mode. God offers mutual personal knowledge and intimate, loving relations to every human being.



For those who are married or engaged to be married, there are many video resources offering testimonies by real people who share their lives and the difference it has made to try to cultivate a relationship with God through prayer, both individually and as a couple. Here are some useful links.

👉 Jesus has a "new paradigm" for engaged & newlywed couples 

👉 “The Adventure of Marriage”: Video-Series  

In this series of six videos, Sole and Juampi, an Argentinian couple, share the story of their joys and sorrows, struggles and victories in their married life together. These six videos could serve as a resource for pre-marriage courses and for young couples.

Various topics with the TAG 👉 "Marriage" 

Various topics with the TAG 👉 "Human Love" 

👉 Some videos that can be used for faith formation (some are free; others require fees) 

👉 Field Hospital for Meaning, Purpose, & Fulfillment in Human Intimacy & Sexuality 

This blog examines various dimensions and struggles of human sexuality, including God's plan for the meaning, purpose, and fulfillment of our lives in this world and the next; including his incredible respect for our free will and his loving confidence in us. 

👉 THE CREATOR'S DESIGN FOR OUR LIFE & HAPPINESS - God has revealed his Plan for us to be able to give meaning & purpose to our lives and in this way to find fulfillment 


👉 Online helps to get free from sexual / porn addictions 

Testimony of Dr Gloria Polo 

This is the testimony of a woman who had been raised Catholic but as a teen went in with new friends who lived lives without God. Like them, she cared only about herself and her body and comforts. She spent hours daily at the gym and took great care of her body and health. She became a dentist and one day was hit by lightning, severely burned, and died. Miraculously, God spoke to her and returned her to life. She relates how the prayers of her mother all during her life obtained God's protection. Here is a thumbnail sketch of what it is that she wants to say to young people, especially young couples.

"The beginning of life does not start when the sperm and ovary unite, it starts when God creates the soul. There's so much to learn regarding our particular judgement; this is what's going to happen when we die and go before God and our book of life opens. There's so much to learn brothers and sisters, so much; we must love each other, love our brothers who are separated from the church, those who fell in satanism. We'll be judged in love, faith with works, and works with love; all is summed up in love. God Bless." 

👉 "The Beginning of Life and my spiritual death" 


In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity (Jeremiah 31:31-34) every person can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.


© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

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In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from...