Since Oct. 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I want to devote my column this month to offering a way of praying the rosary that can be very fruitful.
It was with barely concealed delight that “Chicago Sun-Times” columnist Neil Steinberg conveyed the findings of the recent Pew Forum survey that the “nones,” those who claim no particular religious affiliation, are sharply on the rise in America. Moreover, he crowed, the survey revealed that a disproportionate number of young people placed themselves firmly in the “none” camp, thus indicating that religion’s decline would only accelerate in the years to come.
Dear Fr. Joe: I’m really in a funk and I can’t shake it. At college, I find that I really don’t have good friends and I’m struggling in my prayer life … everyone around me seems to be happy but me. What can I do?
I’m so sorry that things are like this right now. Life is a challenge most days; at times, these struggles can threaten to overwhelm us. I’m glad you asked for help and pray that God guides my words.
Recently, I went through an exceptionally difficult time in my life and was really struggling. A lot of things crashed in on me and I felt lost and scared.
Dear Fr. Joe: Why do we ask God for things? Doesn’t he just do what he wants and what is best for us?
What a great question! The answer to this can help us understand God and his workings a bit better, as well as ourselves. Let’s dive right in. The first thing we’ve got to establish is that God wants to hear our petitions. That means asking God to do something. Look at 1Timothy 2:1:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people …”
Diocese of Lansing, Year of Prayer
The Apostle Paul reminds us to “pray unceasingly.” (1 Thess 5:17) Certainly, we all have concerns we bring to God in prayer. But during our diocesan Year of Prayer, we invite everyone in the diocese to focus on a particular intention for an entire month.
Given the ruminations of Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, one might have thought that the absolute limit of scientistic arrogance had been reached. But think again. Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, was quoted in a recent news article asserting that “science” is on the verge of providing a complete understanding of the universe — an explication, it goes without saying, that precludes the antiquated notion of God altogether.