Man praying

We’ve seen time and time again that Venerable Bruno Lanteri’s messages of hope and prayer resonate deeply with the faithful. Those that Ven. Lanteri helped in the 1800s and those that the Oblates of the Virgin Mary work with today through our ministries have one deeply human fear in common: inadequacy.

People often feel discouraged when they feel they lost a connection with God or feel that they’ve failed to live up to the potential granted to them. But at the foundation of Ven. Lanteri’s message, he encourages us to move past that into God’s love and forgiveness.

Hope and Prayer

Prayer is at the heart of hope. It is a relationship and real communication between you and God. He knows you deeply and loves you fully. When you feel alone and can’t talk to anyone about a discouragement in your life or faith, God will be there to listen, just as He’s there to celebrate successes and happier times.

Feelings that you’re not good enough and holding onto faults and failings lend themselves to a spiritual discouragement that can be difficult to overcome. This is where a prayerful practice and reflection on Ven Lanteri’s words can help.

Ven. Lanteri shows us that we can approach this discouragement by removing fear and creating a safe space to bring your feelings before God. He urges you to turn to the Lord through prayer and open your heart to God. There is nothing stopping you from doing this outside of your own fears. God wants to and is eager to forgive you when you come to Him.

Counsels of Hope and Mercy

When your prayers falter or you fail to make the time, Ven. Lanteri encourages you to begin again. You can begin again every year, every day and every hour, renewing your dedication to an active relationship with God. There is nothing that you’ve done that can stop you from asking forgiveness and starting over.

“If I should fall a thousand times a day, a thousand times a day I will begin again, with new awareness of my weakness, promising God, with a peaceful heart, to amend my life. I will never think of God as if he were of our condition and grows weary of our wavering, weakness, and negligence. Rather, I will think of what is truly characteristic of him and what he prizes most highly, that is, his goodness and mercy, knowing that he is a loving Father who understands our weakness, is patient with us, and forgives us.”

Venerable Bruno Lanteri

God is always patient, understanding and approachable. Ven. Lanteri’s words share the power of hope and the promise of God’s mercy.

Relating to Ven. Lanteri’s Counsels

In his book Overcoming Spiritual Discouragement, Father Timothy Gallagher, OMV, shares a personal story of when Ven. Lanteri’s counsels of hope and mercy clicked for him.

Father Timothy Gallagher

As he was heading to a parish to celebrate Mass one Sunday morning, a discontented conscience weighed on him. Through the quiet time that he sets aside for prayer after Mass, he noticed a heaviness in his heart. He had not responded well to someone who’d recently asked him for help. He couldn’t shake the feeling that what he’s said and done for this person was not enough.

This is when Ven. Lanteri’s words came to him with new meaning. He could “begin again.” There was nothing stopping him from opening up his heart, bringing his feelings of inadequacy and discontent to God and asking for forgiveness. The Lord is eager to give forgiveness.

Growing in Hope Through Prayer

In order to grow in hope, Ven. Lanteri recommends adding three things to your daily routine.

  1. The Eucharist – The Eucharist is the embodiment of God on Earth and a direct path to strengthening your relationship with Him. Celebrate Mass and adore the Eucharist whenever you can. What place does Eucharist have in your life? Is there a way to make that closer or deeper?
  2. Meditation – It’s easy to go through your whole day without having a conversation with God, which is why it’s essential to consciously find space and time to talk to and listen to God. This practice will help you to focus on overcoming discouragement and growing in hope.
  3. Spiritual Readings – Feed your faith with spiritual readings and lessons every single day. In practice, this might mean listening to a Catholic podcast on your commute or subscribing to an email newsletter for daily readings.

Even if these things are small, taking the time to bring them into your life will help you to grow in hope and deepen your relationship with God. Fifteen minutes of meditation a day or one brief email with a short reading or message can make a slow and steady impact over time.

Repetition and Conversation

We’ve found that our faith is strongest when we bring both tradition and open conversation into our prayers. This can look like saying meditative or rote prayers, such as Hail Mary, Our Father or the Liturgy of the Hours, in addition to a daily conversational practice like reviewing your day with God. This repetition in prayer often helps to lead us into the personal conversational prayer. They can be nice on-ramps for one-on-one conversations.

Prayer is a very personal practice, and every person’s relationship with the Lord is unique. The important thing is that you continually try.

Prayerful Resources

As you make the effort to make prayer a part of your daily routine and begin the quest to grow in hope, these resources can help to offer some guidance and feed your spiritual appetite. The Oblates will also help pray for your special favors and intentions when you submit a prayer request.

Discerning Hearts Podcast

The Discerning Hearts “Discernment of Spirits” podcast series is a free, 16-episode series on Ven. Lanteri’s message to begin again. The series offers a prayerful exercise to help deepen your relationship with God through each episode. Use your daily commute to grow in faith and hope!

Overcoming Spiritual Discouragement Book

Through his book Overcoming Spiritual Discouragement, Fr. Timothy Gallagher offers a hopeful invitation to all who struggle to overcome that feeling of discouragement. He gives practical ways to find peace amid your spiritual struggles and patience in the face of even the most intense trials.

As we begin a new year and a new decade, we challenge you to also turn the page on your relationship with the Lord with renewed hope and love. Begin again. For as Ven. Bruno Lanteri says, “It is impossible to hope too much.” The Oblates of the Virgin Mary are also placing a special focus on hope in 2020, making it this year’s gala theme.

Do you see the deep connection between hope and prayer in your life? Have Ven. Lanteri’s counsels of hope and mercy touched your life in any way? We invite you to share your story in the comments below.

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