Learning what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about the importance of a prayer life.
How is your prayer life? If you’re like me, the act of prayer is something that makes perfect sense when I feel lost, but is less appealing when I feel things are going a-ok in my life.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about prayer:
“Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin. How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him?”
No wonder prayer feels so right when things feel so wrong! What the Catechism is saying here is that prayer is what connects us to the Holy Spirit. What it is not saying is that there is no freedom within the soul without connection to the Holy Spirit. So, when we percieve that we are free, based on the evidence that things are hunky-dory in our world, we do not have as much of a desire to pray. I’m pointing this out so that we all can understand that this isn’t something to beat ourselves up about; it’s simply human nature. That being said, with awareness comes responsibility to do better. Now we can do better.
Now we can understand that just because we perceive that we are free (due to whatever feelings of prosperity) does not mean that we can relax about being connected to the Holy Spirit. I believe the world can–and does–reflect its Creator. BUT! BUT BUT BUT! The Creator is NOT the world. Everything points to God, but it cannot BE God, because God is outside of His Creation. Because of this, it is a mistake to gauge our need for the Holy Spirit based on how things are going in our experience of Creation. Good, bad, or indifferent, we need to be praying constantly.
The Church is trying to tell us the truth here: that our souls need God perpetually. Not just some of the time, but constantly.
Galatians 5: 16-25 states that:
“I say, then: Live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.”
Galatians 5: 16-25, New American Bible, Revised Edition
Isn’t Paul being so kind here? He knew that we’re only human. He knew that the only way a human being can transcend himself is by being connected to that which is beyond himself. By being connected to the Holy Spirit, we are freed from the slavery of our finite selves. And the way to do that, of course, is with prayer.
Today’s book adventure is all about taking a moment to pray! If you are not the type who ever prays, don’t worry–you’ll find no guilt dished out by the Catechism. Instead, give yourself some mercy for being only human. It’s alright. God still loves you, and so do I. That being said, why not give it a try right now? Remember, God is always wanting us to come back to Him–our desire for prayer is not us seeking God; it’s God seeking us! He loves us! He loves you. He loves you.
Here are some ideas for those of us who need a little help getting started with prayer:
Watch Bishop Barron
He’s a fantastic teacher with a ton of videos on Youtube. Here’s one about what prayer is, and how to start:
Here’s another suggestion:
Make the Sign of the Cross
It’s just about the most basic prayer Catholics have. And yes, it’s a Catholic prayer, but you don’t have to be Catholic to give it a try. I don’t know if it’ll help you, but I know for sure that it won’t hurt!
The sign of the cross is where you touch your forehead, your sternum, your left shoulder, and then your right. (Orthodox tradition does this right shoulder, then left!) As you touch these four places, you say “In the name of the Father–and of the Son–and of the Holy (left shoulder) Spirit (right shoulder).” Easy peasy, takes two seconds.
Say the Jesus Prayer
That one comes from the Eastern Tradition, and goes like this:
Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the Living God,
Have mercy on me, a sinner.
Sometimes my thoughts are so busy, all I get to is just saying “Jesus.” This is also the case if I wait to pray for when I am already snuggled into bed for the night. Then the prayer goes “Jesus, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” Both my best friend and my parish priest have reminded me that sometimes parents think their children are more cute when they are asleep, and it is likely the case with God too! And what better place to rest could there be than in the company of the One who can give you true peace. No matter what, just know that God is looking on you lovingly, and wants to align your soul to His, so that you can experience true love and freedom.
Learn to Pray the Rosary
I’ve heard the Rosary is becoming a trend in Protestant churches lately! This makes sense, since it is such a wonderful tool for prayer. I say go for the tried-and true-Rosary. Again, it certainly won’t hurt! Each time I pray the Rosary is different, and I don’t always use the beads. Sometimes I listen to a CD recording of it in the car! Sometimes I watch EWTN when they broadcast the Rosary. Here’s a great video to start with, even if you aren’t Catholic, but want to know how the Holy Rosary works:
Whatever way you decide to begin or continue your prayer life, just know that prayer is a vital necessity for the health of your soul, and for the freedom of your spirit. I know we all have our troubles: some of us are angry with God, some of us wonder if He actually listens, some of us want to prove somehow that He doesn’t exist, some of us have felt abandoned during times of trouble, and some of us want desperately to find our way home again, back to Him. Whatever the case may be, just know that God loves you.
God loves you, God loves you.
He loves you.
I do too. So until next time we meet, I’ll be praying for you, and I hope you’ll pray for me, too.
Maggie O’the Valley
Source for Adventurous Reading:
Catechism of the Catholic Church: Modifications from the Editio Typica. English translation (United States, 2nd edition) United States Catholic Conference, Inc., Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 1997. Print.
(C) 2017 www.maggieothevalley.com
*This post was NOT sponsored.
“I am part of everything that I have read.”