As part of the Year of Faith, we will post what we hope are thought provoking excerpts from the Catechism each Wednesday. As you will see, it is hard to find a paragraph in the Catechism that is not thought provoking. If these tidbits happen to strike your fancy, float your boat, or leave you wanting more by all means please read more in the Catechism, which can be found here. And for those that don’t speak Latin here. Let us know what you find!
It seems only fitting that our first issue of The Catechismal Crusader, highlights prayer, the center of the spiritual life. As we discussed in an earlier post referencing Blessed John Paul II’s encyclical “Novo Millennio Ineunte” prayer is essential for a deeper relationship with the one, true God, and is a vital part of every apostolate. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what the Catechism has to say.
For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy. -St. Therese of Lisieux
2559 “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”2 But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or “out of the depths” of a humble and contrite heart?3 He who humbles himself will be exalted;4humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought,”5 are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God.”6
2567 God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God’s initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation.
2729 The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.16
As we settle into our semester schedules, let us not forget the importance of prayer and strive with all our heart to pray everyday.
“Without the aid of mental prayer, the soul cannot triumph over the forces of the demon.” -Saint John of the Cross
“I am certain of it that Our Lord will eventually bring to the harbor of salvation, the one who gives himself to prayer.” – Saint Teresa of Avila