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The Catholic Teacher And Contemplative Prayer

November 19, 2019

In today’s episode I want to talk with you about a beautiful quote that helps us all realise how crucial it is for every Catholic teacher to find moments of silence and stillness. In the midst of our daily busyness its crucial to realise that God is always waiting to give us the grace we need but we must allow ourselves to be centred in His presence. It is not easy but it is possible.

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The Pursuit of Silence In A Hectic World

Well, hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you once again. Welcome to The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. As always, what do we say at the start? Thanks for everything that you’re doing in Catholic education. Gosh, it’s a culture that doesn’t value it that much sometimes, isn’t it? We have this cultural mantra about being a doctor or a lawyer is the thing, and those are great professions and having just been in hospital for quite a while I’m really appreciative of them, but we often forget, we overlook just the incredible work being done in the education vocation.

I often joke in my live seminars, I say, often if you’re at a barbecue or a dinner and you meet somebody and you ask them what they do and they say, “Oh, well I’m the chief of the United nations.” Then they ask you, “Well, what are you doing?” All over the world, teachers, what do they say? “Oh, I’m just a teacher.” I hear it so often, I’m just a teacher. What a crazy thing to say. Just a teacher. Oh, you’re just blessing, and shaping, and forming the future through these incredible daily interactions with young people.

Never say it, friends, you are never just a teacher. You have been called into an extraordinary vocation in partnership with God. You ever think of it like that, that it’s a partnership with God? He is desperate that people would know his son and what is it that you’re doing, you’re working every day in a place where young people have a chance to not just know his son but as Pope Benedict beautifully used to say, “But to develop a relationship of intimacy with his son.”

All right, I want to share with you a great quote from Evelyn Underhill, great Catholic writer. Listen to this. I’ve been talking in recent episodes a little bit about prayer, I tend to follow themes for a few episodes, but I want to share this beautiful one with you, listen to this. Said, “As your meditation becomes deeper, it will defend you from the perpetual assaults of the outer world. You will hear the busy hum of that world as a distant exterior melody and know yourself to be in some sort withdrawn from it. You have set a ring of silence between you and it and, behold, within that silence you are free.” That’s just beautiful.

I want to talk to you very quickly about, Evelyn Underhill there mentions the assaults of the outer world, the assaults of the outer world. Many of you know that I recently had a bad accident, I’ve been recovering since I got out of hospital, and I’d spent a lot of time with one of my legs elevated. I watch what we have here in Australia, Foxtel, which my American listeners would understand is like cable or something or ESPN, right?

I’m watching ESPN and so I’m watching American football, which I like. I just like it on in the background while I’m working, and it’s amazing the commercials. Many of American listeners know, especially with college ball, just these endless commercials … What’s my point? It’s like this assault, it’s like this assault of noise and this barrage of noise coming at you all the time. Isn’t that a little bit like our modern culture sometimes? Even walking into a school, it can just be the noise and the busy-ness. Part of that’s great, it’s part of the energy and fun of a school, but isn’t it true that at this moment in history with all our technology, all the Netflix, all this stuff, there’s these assaults of noise that come at us all the time.

What Evelyn Underhill here is talking about is this ring of silence, that as our contemplation and meditation goes deeper we set this ring of silence between ourselves and the outer world and within that silence we’re free. All right, as always, what does it got to do with the Catholic teacher? Well, I think that the Catholic teachers that are going to be renewing schools are going to be people of deep sacramental awareness. That was yesterday’s episode, deep sacramental renewal on a personal level.

People that love the sacraments, and use them, and receive the grace of God through those. I’m convinced that the Catholic educators that are going to renew our schools, the great principals, the great teachers, are going to be people who have a deep immersion in prayer, and silence, and stillness. I know you’re thinking, you’re going, “Jonathan, you know my life, I teach. Yeah, but I’ve got a family and I got this and I’m running around and all this stuff happening at 100%.”Totally hear you, but I think that those of us who really want to do this are going to be called into moments of silence, and stillness, and prayer. I’ve just come into the studio after … I get up at about four or 5:00 am every day and just had this beautiful time of prayer every morning and it’s just a non-negotiable. I’ve got three kids under 12 and all the craziness that goes with my life but I can’t start a day without that exposure to silence.

All I want to say to you is you got to find it. You got to find it. It’s like being someone dying of thirst in a desert and there’s water in the distance. You don’t think about it, you just get to the water. You sell everything, you forget everything to get to where the water is when you need the water. I think that prayer, and silence, and stillness, and contemplation are like that metaphorical water.

We need to be people of silence, and stillness, and prayer in this crazy, busy world. My prayer for you today is that you’ll hear my voice, you’ll hear these words, it will plant an idea or a seed, and that tomorrow you might leave for work 15 minutes early or you might … Some people stop on the way home. You might just stop on the way home and just park your car at a local church and sneak inside and just have 15 minutes of silence, and prayer, and stillness.

All right friends, that’s all I’ve got to say for you today. Just want to put that thought in your head. Find it. I use headphones now, I even find in churches, it’s crazy. There’s a church near me that has adoration but often people are talking or whispering at the back, and there’s traffic and motorbikes and so I just wear headphones. I just have these really cool headphones that runs off my phone. I just sync some white noise or some rain sounds and it’s all gone and I’ve just got this beautiful stillness and presence.

People might look at me and think, “What’s he doing with headphones on in the church?” Well, I’ve got these headphones on because there’s no quiet and it’s just a beautiful chance to be present to Jesus. God bless you. I hope this is a blessing to you. I hope you’ll hear these words and that you will just fight for silence because out of that silence Jesus is born in our hearts. Jesus is born in our hearts, and then we just take him to everybody else.

All right, I want you to do me a favor, come and find me on Instagram. If you use Instagram, you’ll find me at jonathandoyle47, one word. Just do a search, JonathanDoyle47 or Jonathan Doyle Twitter. Would you come and follow me on Twitter, if you use it? I know it’s a cesspool and sewer of basement dwelling negativity, except for my feed where I just try and bless people and encourage people and put beautiful stuff on there. At Twitter you can find me, @beingcatholic1 or @beingcatholic1 and Jonathan Doyle, you’ll find me there.

Facebook group is Passionate Catholic Teachers on Facebook., you can find us on Facebook, and the website is . Come across there because there’s a free trial of the Going Deeper Program. You’ll see a tab for Going Deeper. Select that three week free trial and also you can find about how to book me to speak. All right I’m going to pray for you quickly. Father God, thank you for these beautiful teachers. Thank you for what they’re doing. Help them to encounter you in prayer and silence. in Jesus’ name, Amen.

God bless you everybody. This has been The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast, my name’s Jonathan Doyle.

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About Jonathan Doyle

Life offers us so many possibilities. I’ve always been interested in why some people live amazing lives of contribution and success and why so many struggle with lost ambitions, unfulfilling relationships and the status quo.

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