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Year of Faith Series 12

Posted on : 24-11-2013 | By : TAG | In : Faith Series

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THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO PRAYER

(Ref. CCC Part 4, Sections 1 & 2)

 

We come to the final part of our series which is Christian Prayer.

“Great is the mystery of faith.” The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles’ Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father (Part Three). This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it and that they live in it in a vital and personal relationship with living and true God. This relationship is prayer. (CCC 2558)

 

Pope Francis

Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. There are three expressions of prayer – vocal, meditation and contemplative prayer.

1. Through his Word, God speaks to man. By words, mental or vocal, our prayer takes flesh. It is important that the heart be present since our prayer is heard depending not on the number of words but on the fervor of our soul.

2. In meditation, the mind seeks to understand the why and how of Christian life. It requires full attention since it engages the faculties of thought, imagination, emotion and desire.

3. Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves a real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in its mystery. In prayer, Christ reveals to us the knowledge of the Father and the Son which is the very mystery of the life of prayer.

The love of God is developed and strengthened, like all friendships on earth, by conversation. For this reason, man has received an immense privilege of speaking directly to God. It is a privilege which is much higher than all the gifts given to other creatures on earth. The drama of prayer is fully revealed to us in the Word who became flesh and dwells among us.

The first step on the road to conversation with God is the realization that God is truly close to us and interested in us, attentive to our thoughts, affections, words and deeds. St. Josemaria said, “Our Lord is concerned about what happens to us and is interested in all that we do. God is close to us always and watches over us just as a mother or father watches over the children. He is ready to listen to us at all times and appreciates any sign of affection from us. God cares for us and He wants us to go to him with confidence, asking for His help, knowing that he will always hear us.”

When a person begins to do habitual conversation with God, he becomes less self-centered and more God-centered. His friendship with God grows stronger, love of God becomes more intense, his intentions more pure and the impulse to do good increases.

In the beginning, prayer may require some effort but it soon becomes natural though we shall always put energy into praying well. In order to pray, one must have the will to pray. To achieve a solid life of prayer, we should spend a few minutes each day in personal prayer, speaking personally with God. About what? About Him and yourself: your joys, sorrows, successes and failures, great ambitions, daily worries, even your weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions, love and reparation; in short, to get to know Him and to get to know yourself, ‘to get acquainted’. Our Lord is interested in everything about us.

Even though dealing with God is mainly an interior matter, the union of our body and soul calls for external expression in vocal prayers and gestures, such as genuflection before the tabernacle, or a glance at an image of Our Lady. These external vocal prayers and gestures should be accompanied by some form of interior attention. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “We cannot be content and happy with ‘simply being good’ when God is calling us to be holy.” We must come to realize how much we need to converse with God, how much we need mental and vocal prayer, and what a great thing it is for us to be able to talk with God.

Prayer is a form of worship or adoration. It is also a way to express our gratitude to God for all the good things He has sent us. Another form of prayer is reparation for our own faults and those of all men. Finally, our prayer should center on petition. We ought to ask God for things we need. God will always heed our pleas if they are humble, confident and persevering. Our Lord said, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” (Matt.7:7). At times it might seem as though God does not listen to our pleas; then we ought to be convinced that if we are asking for something that is good for us and we ask humbly and confidently, God will grant our request. If we ask for something that would not be good for us, God will grant us what we most need, since He knows our needs much better than we do.

The best and highest form of prayer is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There Christ offers the most perfect adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and petition on our behalf. And as we place our petitions on the paten, they acquire infinite value, because we offer them through Him, with Him and in Him.

We must appreciate this period of time we are allotting to talk with Our Lord since it is the basis of all supernatural work, the foundation of our sanctity. St. Josemaria said in The Way Pt. 282, “Sanctity is more attainable than learning but it is easier to be a scholar than to be a saint.” This is so because sanctification is the work of a lifetime. Our Lord created us without us and He will not save us without us.

A life without prayer is like a soldier without arms; a fruit-bearing tree without fruits; a rose bush without flowers. Persevere in your prayer; keep to your set timetable. Don’t prolong just because you find consolation; neither shorten because you find it dry. Prayer is always fruitful. Our aim is to be a saint – to be a saint is to put on Christ (as St. Paul said, “It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me”) – and while we are still here on earth, we cannot but be friends with God; we must strive to get closer and closer to him through love. At the end of our life, our Lord will welcome us as his good friends and show us the fruits of our daily conversations with him.

As we come to the end of the liturgical year and celebrate the feast of Christ the King, we must be overjoyed with the grace-filled Year of Faith that God gifted us these past months. Let us continue and persevere in our evangelization, our bringing Christ to others and bringing others to Christ, in our own little ways and in our own little corner of the world!

 

HAPPY FEAST DAY!

 

November 24, 2013 (Last Sunday in Ordinary Time), Feast of Christ the King

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