partakers of the divine nature

Putting prayer first

Judy Meiser, from St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, spoke during the fourth annual Pastoral Assembly at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury. Each year, representatives from archdiocesan parishes gather together for prayer, reflection and interaction with Archbishop Robert J. Carslon. The representatives are then asked to communicate the archbishop’s goals and vision back to their parishes. This year’s focus of the assembly is “A Call to Prayer” and the archbishop introduced his latest pastoral letter to the archdiocese.

As the old saying goes, you can't give what you don't have. And in matters of faith, it takes an effort to have a prayerful relationship with Christ first, before sharing Him with others.

That's one of the messages at the heart of Archbishop Robert Carlson's new pastoral letter, "Partakers of the Divine Nature," which was released Nov. 23 at the fourth annual Pastoral Assembly, hosted at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury. The daylong event drew almost 180 parish representatives, young adults from college campuses, archdiocesan staff and presenters.

Elements of spiritual formation

Prayer

Archbishop Carlson says that one of the essential elements of a serious spiritual formation process is prayer.

To achieve a deep level of prayer, the archbishop recommends praying consistently through a solid routine. For those new or seeking to renew their prayer lives, a recommended start is praying five minutes in the morning or at the end of the day. Build slowly upon that routine over time.

"Don't start with an hour, because you'll never achieve it," he said.

'Partakers of the Divine Nature'

The cover of Archbishop Carlson's new pastoral letter, entitled "Partakers of the Divine Nature."

When Archbishop Robert Carlson came to his new assignment in the Diocese of Saginaw, Mich., in 2005, he admitted to feeling a little sorry for himself.

He had loved the 11 years he'd spent in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D. "In the midst of feeling sorry for myself, the Lord placed on my heart this -- He said, 'Every good thing that happened to you in Sioux Falls, I did for you,'" said the archbishop. "'And if you hadn't been generous and left, you might have thought you did it yourself.'"

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