Prayer life

There are three ways of prayer according to Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  1. Vocal prayer 口祷
  2. Meditation 默想(运用思维、想像、情感、渴望)
  3. Contemplation 心祷

What is the difference between meditation and contemplation? The following part is a summary from here.

Contemplative prayer is more passive or sublime experience of God. Meditative prayer is more from our work of seeking God (though with the aid from God). Contemplative prayer can be distinguished as the pure work from God.

However, meditation can be again differentiate with discursive meditation and affective meditation. Discursive meditation is more to logical analysis to discover the insight or deeper understanding about the God. And this discovery will lead to the conversation with God such as thanksgiving, praise, contrition, and petition.

Affective meditation is more to conversation (not necessarily emotional) from the soul.

After a period of spiritual maturity, a person without much discursive effort, can enter into “prayer of simplicity” (or prayer of quiet). This is the contemplative prayer.

A deeper contemplative prayer is “infused contemplation” which God submerges us in himself and we feel a union with him. This is actually another level of prayer.

Therefore the, most active mental prayer is discursive meditation, which leads to affective meditation, then followed by the contemplation.

However, sometimes we feel that our prayer life is not growing, or worse. So, to understand this, I summarized another post.

The faculties of the soul are intellect and will. Where the intellect allows us to know something abstract (not exactly knowing what or how); will allows us to freely choose good things. Contrary to our sense faculties, they are sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. Emotional and imaginationconsolation” is more to the sense faculties. “Consolation” can also be experienced by intellect and will. Without these consolation, we are in the dryness of prayer. The dryness may come from ourselves, or from God, so that we are not looking for the “consolation”, but God himself, to grow our faith.

Consolation is a sense of presence of God in our souls and hearts, new insight about God, about the world, about ourselves, during meditation or prayer (refers from here).

The dryness from God, can also be assumed as “passive purification“, that is to burn our impurities that are beyond our reach. While “active purification” is our own acts such as mortification.

The long period of dryness on the level of emotions and imagination is also known as “dark night of the senses” (stated by St John of the Cross). If it is on the level of intellect and will, it is “dark night of the soul“. That is how the holy souls suffer in the purgatory (refers from here).

Prayer Clock 1.0.0

Finally I release the Prayer Clock with version 1.0.0. For the internal engine, there is not much change. For the deployment, I tried to make several changes.

Firstly, I am using autotools (autoconf and automake) for the project, so that it is easier for me to maintain the project. Because this project targets for cross platform. Yes, I learnt quite a lot of things about autotools, really nice to use.

Secondly, I continue maintaining the Debian package. Actually, I target on Arch Linux, but I found that Debian and Arch Linux is binary compatible (for my project, I am not sure for others). So, I use Arch Linux to package it in Debian using dpkg. And I also make the PKGBUILD for Arch Linux package build. I choose Debian (not RPM), because previously I used Ubuntu. Besides that, I also follow the specification for the icon and desktop entry. As a result, after installation, we can run the application from the menu item (just like Windows start menu). Because of this deployment, I change the file hierarchy based on Linux/Unix, which I am not familiar about this before.

Thirdly, since I am developing this project primarily in Linux, but yet Windows is also widely used, so I use MinGW32 cross compiling environment. Yeah, this is really a great project, because I can cross compile my project targeted on Windows using Linux. Moreover, the result is a standalone executable application without DLLs dependencies. I still using NSIS to deploy the program.

So, whoever likes the source code (I don’t think so), now can download the source code tarball which is generated by autotools.

Portable version? Yeah. the program is still portable. For Linux, download the Debian package, and extract it, it is portable. But make sure to run the application from bin/ as the working directory, else cannot read the data files. For Windows, it is also same method, running the file from bin/ directory, but I don’t provide portable installation in NSIS, (I may consider this for next release). That is why I do not provide portable version in any more.

For the JPrayer Clock 1.0.0, I will not come out with it so soon since Prayer Clock (C++ version) fulfils my need. However, it is open source, anyone who likes it (but I don’t think so), just contribute.

The next plan for this project is to restructure the coding, because current one is quite messy.

Finally, I am proud of my new icon (I think so). Edited with GIMP. Great open source tool.

(Actually my next step is to continue with the game development which I am too slow.)

Prayer Clock icon

The theories (and concepts) I know about science

During my secondary school, I studied the science subjects: physics, chemistry, and biology.

The main theory I know about the physics is: Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed. Then I asked, where does energy come from? Is it existed in the beginning?

Then, about the chemistry, which studies about the matter. From this subject, I know an atom consists of proton, neutron, and electron. We can determine the element based on the number of protons. Then I asked, what determines the number of protons? There should be some attractive force, but where does this attractive force come from?

Then, about biology, my biology is the poorest among the the three subjects. The main theory I know about biology is the DNA. Even the plants and animals have a very distinctive biological system, both of their DNAs consist of same bases: A, C, G, T. And my text book written, this indicates that both plants and animals have a same creator.

Even these are the science subjects, these subjects helped me grow more in spirituality.

Are you in the bible? (Part 2)

Previously I asked, “Are you in the bible?” Right, most holy men and women suffered a lot as written in the bible. Since I mentioned those names, let me finish what were happened to those holy men and women.

Patriarch Joseph finally became an important man in Egypt, trusted by Pharaoh. During the great famine, he saved his own family and kinsmen.

David who wholeheartedly worked for Saul, but Saul wanted to murder him, at the later days, David became the king of Israel. Though he was persecuted by own son. But later years he died peacefully and his kingdom was succeeded by King Solomon.

Job, though all his children died suddenly, all his properties were taken in one night, at the end, he was blessed with more children and properties.

Samson was blinded and put imprisoned. But at the end, his power was recovered and killed his enemies and saved the Israelites.

Mordecai, though he and his kinsmen were threatened, at the end, all of them were saved by the help of Queen Esther, his adopted daughter.

Susanna though was accused, the Prophet Daniel was inspired and saved her from the hands of the elders. And justice was shown to them.
Tobit finally gained his sight by the help of the angel Raphael.

Here I don’t mention about the prophets, because most of them died like the Martyrs.

We can see that, though sufferings and sorrows were happened, there was something behind, which will bear the fruits when the time is coming.

Are you in the bible?

Whoever read the bible will find that there are a lot of sorrowfulness within the bible stories. Yes, bible is for those who are poor, oppressed, sicks, and sinners. Because the world is full of injustice, through the Gospel (I mean good news), we found our faith and hope. The worldly people judge with outlook, pursue authorities and richness. That is why, the poor become poorer, the oppressed become more oppressed, the sicks are abandoned.

Are you in the bible? Patriarch Joseph was betrayed and sold by his own brothers, he was also thrown into jail though he was innocent. David, even he served King Saul wholeheartedly, yet Saul still wanted to murder him. At the later year, King David was even persecuted by his own son, Absalom. The prophets like Jeremiah were not accepted by their own people. Samson was betrayed by the woman he loved. Job was not understood by his own friends, his friends kept asking him to confess his sin, even his wife asked him to curse God in order to die. Mordecai was hated by Haman without any good reason, and Haman planned to kill Mordecai and all his kinsmen. Susanna was accused by the elders. A justice man like Tobit was blinded at his old age. Even Jesus was betrayed by His own disciple, Judas. These are justice men and women, but all of them faced a lot of oppressions and persecutions in their life. We can see that, these sorrowfulness are come from kinsmen, superiors, children, loved one, colleagues, and the life itself.

This is why, when we listen to the Gospel (good news), we found our consolation. Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who are hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are those who are persecuted. God’s mercy is shown to those who fear Him; God disperses the arrogant men, throws down the rulers from their thrown and lifts the lowly; the hungry will be filled with good thing, the rich will be sent away empty. The good news are brought to the poor, the captives will get their liberty, the blind will see again, the oppressed will also be freed. The sins will be forgiven. These are what we thirst for.

When we lose faith

As a Christian, I always think about the meaning of life. The meaning of life means the reason of living and the purpose to live. Even some Christians, they will relate everything with a meaning.  That means, whatever incident is happened, there is a reason behind, the incident is happened with a purpose. If a person broke a vase, there is also a meaning, may be the vase must be broken. If a person woke up late, may be this is the reason that he could avoid from an accident.

Then, when do we lose faith? For a person believes that every incident happened with a purpose, if a great tragedy happened unexpectedly, without any reason, not understandable, without purpose, the outcome is only difficulty, despair, and sorrowfulness, then this is the time when he might lose his faith. Joseph the Patriarch might lose faith when he was betrayed by his own brothers and sold to Egypt. Job might lose faith when all his children die.

But those who endure and wait until the end of these trials, surely will gain their faith.