In these strange times we are all having to learn again how to take time with God. However we are not on our own in this. We live in a community of disciples who are walking with us. Here are some ways of connecting with God and walking in faith:
Sometimes the first steps are the hardest. How do I find time? What do I say? Do I just sit there and wait for something to happen? Here are some great tips from Fr Mike Schmitt from Ascension Press.
When we can slow down, we find God’s fingerprints everywhere: https://www.pathwaystogod.org/my-prayer-life/where-i-found-god-today
For anyone getting started, you might like to download the prayer sheets from the diocesan Year of Prayer and Vocation which give a monthly prayer focus to explore:
Going deeper with Scripture
Christian Art – a brief reflection on the daily Gospel illustrated by a beautiful piece of art. Recommended by Marie Heath, who coordinates our Spirituality Network. www.christian.art/index.php
The God Who Speaks campaign has been a blessing to many people through lockdown with wonderful resources supporting exploring Scripture. Their whole website is worth checking out, but you might particularly like to Journey with this year’s Gospel Readings through Matthew. A whole host of ideas including the planner for the year, a mindfulness walk, and lots of articles unpacking some of the main themes of Matthew’s Gospel.
Word on Fire – “Proclaiming Christ in the culture”. Not only a daily reflection email, but also blogs, videos and lots of other resources you can tap into. www.wordonfire.org
You may be looking for something more interactive than an email, and lots of people love the Pray As You Go podcasts. If you’ve used their daily resources in the past, dig around in the Prayer Tools and Retreats sections on the website as there are a lot of other options including various guided meditations, Rosary Reflections, and short retreats.
Weekly Ignatian Meditation: a chance to meet, listen and share with others, and a space of nourishment each week, live on Zoom, and available afterwards to watch. www.pathwaystogod.org/imagine
Many people are (re)discovering our traditional Catholic prayers at the moment. Here are some resources:
Live-stream adoration from chapels around the world. Make a few moments of time to spend directly with the Lord. With suggestions for prayers in front of the Blessed Sacrament if this is a new practice for you. https://virtualadoration.home.blog
Introduction to the Rosary: if you haven’t prayed the rosary since you were a child and would like to take it up again, here is a great website with all the prayers, and other helpful resources: www.rosarycenter.org/homepage-2/rosary/how-to-pray-the-rosary/
Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour: lots of resources and a suggested outline of prayers and readings from the Redemptorists: www.novena-at-home.redemptorists.co.uk/resources/home-novena-service.html
Cafod Novena to St Francis: in this time of worldwide trouble, asking St Francis to pray for the most vulnerable among us. Nine lovely prayer videos, or a PDF to download and print: cafod.org.uk/Pray/Prayer-resources/Novena-to-St-Francis
Catholic Icing has a fantastic collection of resources from children’s homilies to printable sheets, crafts and ideas for saints’ days. My current favourite is a set of printable Scripture memory cards showing verses from the Bible that are in the Mass and our traditional prayers. www.catholicicing.com/scripture-memory-cards-for-catholics-printable/
Examen prayers help us look for God’s presence in our lives. Here is a collection of audio examen prayers specially for children and families. https://pray-as-you-go.org/prayer%20tools/
Loyola Press have a lovely set of themed monthly crafts to help children’s faith grow.
Here is a Catholic parenting website with articles, tips and activities: https://www.teachingcatholickids.com
Beautiful hands on prayer activities designed for families at home https://www.prayerspacesinschools.com/prayer-spaces-at-home The first one involves setting up a prayer den with duvets and sheets – I’m there!
Weekly videos for young people from LifeTeen: https://www.youtube.com/user/LifeTeenInc/featured
Busted Halo is for teenagers and young adults, with podcasts, great articles and social media challenges, such as their summer photo challenge.
Those wanting to go further in faith may look for a spiritual director to act as guide and companion on the journey. Marie Heath coordinates this for our diocese: you can find more information and contact details here: https://northamptondiocese.org/spirituality-network/