Prayers; How we speak with our God
By Pat Miron
Prayer is a sacred, often private, always willful and personal intercourse with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who Himself tells us, “All who the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. Jn: 6: 36-38. “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Mt: 11: 27- 28 Prayer is the lifting of our minds and hearts to God, in thanksgiving, petition, intercession or adoration.
Prayer is absolutely essential to our salvation.
Christ, His apostles and every acknowledged saint were people of prayer, and so must we be if we are going to get to heaven. I will quote extensively from both Holy Scripture and The Catechism of The Catholic Church, The Magisterium’s document for teaching and learning our faith. Even when I do not quote directly these two documents, their message is uppermost in my mind, and in my heart.
Similar to love, prayer is an act of the will. We must desire to pray in order for our prayers to be acceptable to God. However willingness is only the first step in praying. Prayer presupposes effort, desire, discipline and openness to the Holy Spirit, our constant partner in prayer. Proper, that is effective prayer, enjoins the mind, the heart and the will into a single unified act. Each element aids in the perfection of our prayers. Prayer is consummation of mans covenant relationship with our Creator. Prayer from the mind, heart and will is further perfected through humility; being ever mindful that Gods knows all and has an active roll in our current circumstances, it is well to began our prayers by acknowledging Gods active presence in our lives.
Saint Teresa of Avila, a Doctor of the Church was a person of constant prayer. She asserted that the foundation to all prayer consist not in thinking much, but in loving much. “It must be recognized that not everyone has by nature the imagination capable of meditating, whereas all souls are capable of love.” “True sacrifice; the surrendering of our will, our wants and desires, to His, is imperative. It is just as imperative in prayer as in daily activity.” Stephen N. Filippo: How To Pray According to St. Teresa of Avila
Prayer produces three marvelous effects:
1. “It detaches us from creatures
2. It unites us entirely with God
3. It gradually transforms us into (the image and likeness of) God.” A. Tanquerey: Spiritually
Where does prayer come from?
God has made man in His image and likeness, cf. Jas: 3: 9, we therefore are complex beings, capable of expressing prayer verbally, silently, with gestures, and with song. But always it is the heart of man that leads prayer. Desire for prayer stems from our heart, takes its form from our mind, and is put into action by our wills. The depot of prayer is our soul wherein resides the Holy Spirit of God when we are in the state of Grace, and who is constantly working to gain entrance to our souls, through confession and contrition, when we are not in the state of grace.
Saint Teresa, without condemning other forms of prayer insist that the key ingredient to prayer is “always the Sacred Humanity of Jesus, one should not fail to meditate often on the Passion and Life of Christ, which are, and always have been the source of all good.” “Humility is the only cure for pride, which goes before all sins. True humility leads to the destruction of pride, selfishness, greed, blind ambition and lust.” St. Theresa by Stephen N. Filippo
One cannot pray if one does not know Jesus Christ, and one prays best who has a deep personal relationship with our Lord and Savior as He is the only way to the Father. cf. Mt: 11: 27-28
This statement does not preclude the worth of intercessory prayer that we shall discuss later. Frequent reception of the Sacraments, especially Holy Eucharist, where Jesus is clothed in humility and the other “perfect prayer,” (because it is Christ Himself), along with frequent reading of Holy Scripture are the best and surest ways to develop this personal relationship.
Pope John XXIII canonized Saint Peter Julian Eymard, founder of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers and Brothers on December 9th 1962. Here are a few of his thoughts on the topic of prayer from his book, Holy Communion. “Prayer is the distinguishing characteristic of the Catholic religion; it is the sign of a souls holiness; indeed it is its holiness. It makes (one) holy and is the first sign of holiness.” Pg.233 “Just as the natural life depends on nourishment, so the supernatural life is absolutely dependent on prayer. Though you should be obliged to give up everything else, penance, religious labors, even Communion, never give up prayer! It belongs to the very state of life that sanctifies them all. … If we do not pray, neither the saints nor God Himself will bring us forward on the road of sanctity.” Pg.237
“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children in the faith, prayer, and all the virtues particularly, daily family prayer is the first witness of the Church’s living memory as awakened patiently by the Holy Spirit. The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. Based on the sacrament of marriage, the family is the ‘domestic church’ where God’s children learn to pray ‘as the Church’ and to persevere in prayer.” CCC 2252, 2685 As is so often the case, the best way to teach someone to pray is to be a person of prayer yourself. Jesus was such a person, and by His personal example prompted the Apostles to request Jesus to “teach us to pray.” cf. Lk: 11: 1 Jesus as the “God-man” had no absolute need to pray, as His dual human and Divine nature was always one with the Father, still He found it comforting and beneficial. Christ prayed before He selected the twelve Apostles, He prayed that the Apostles would not be tempted, and He prayed before His Passion and death, to identify but a few of the times mentioned in the bible.
cf. Lk: 6:12, 9:18, 22: 41-44
The Apostles took what they learned from Jesus and put it into practice.
“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Acts 1: 13-14 “Pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, who we may appoint to works of charity and service so that we may devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” cf. Acts 6: 3-4 The apostles in turn taught the disciples to pray. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42
Types of prayer
God, who is all knowing, has no need to be told what we want or need, and in no way benefits from our prayers. Prayers are essential precisely because we and those for whom we pray are the beneficiaries. Prayer is both the natural and the supernatural response to all of mans needs.
Prayer is always prayer of the Church; it is a communion with the Holy Trinity.
Music and song as prayer:
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is seemly. Ps: 147: 1
“Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are ‘more closely connected . . . with the liturgical action.” SC 112 no. 3 Why? Because song is an act held in common with the community of believers, and presented to God as a single offering from all of us, perfected by the Holy Spirit, and heart filled in nature. The act of singing is a common communion with each other and our God. It is a sign of unity, faith, hope and of love. Music and song cause a special fellowship of the Communion of Saints. They develop a unity and joy-filled communion that makes it easier for us to focus and lift our minds, hearts and wills to the Almighty. It doesn’t depend on how loud, or how well we sing, only that we participate. I have heard it said, “those who sing pray twice,” and my heart tells me it is so.
The common message of prayer is often: Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! This is the common plea and desire of our hearts in song, vocally and silently we beckon God to come.
Vocal Prayer is essential: We have a need to express vocally at times our prayers. It is as though by verbalizing our prayers, we somehow are in closer to union with God. Vocal prayer allows our bodies, along with our minds and hearts to praise God. The effort to vocalize and the act of actually hearing ourselves speak to Our Lord seems to more intimately bind us to Him, and Him to us. “‘Pray constantly’ 1 Thess: 5:17. It is always possible to pray. It is even a vital necessity. Prayer and Christian life are inseparable.” CCC 2757 “The Holy Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls to her all that Jesus said also instructs her in the life of prayer, inspiring new expressions of the same basic forms of prayer: petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. CCC 2644
“The Eucharist contains and expresses all forms of prayer: it is ‘the pure offering’ of the whole Body of Christ to the glory of God’s name and, according to the traditions of East and West, it is the ‘sacrifice of praise.'” CCC 2643
Prayers of petition:
Often the most common type, nature and purpose of our prayers is to ask God for something, or to do something for us or for someone or something we care about. God promises an answer, but keep in mind that God can and does say “no” when it is against His will and not for our spiritual well being. This is a good time to state that all prayers that conform to the Divine will of God, and that are somehow for our greater good, that is, in some mysterious way, will aid us in getting to heaven are answered favorably. They likely will not be answered in the exact form, or in the precise timetable that we have in mind, as the most perfect petition is always, not my but “thy will be done,” and in your time Lord. “For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.” 1Pet: 3: 12 Prayers of petition that benefit others are more pleasing to God, than prayer that benefit only our self, unless we are asking for special graces to aid in our state of life. “‘Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up.” Jas: 5:14-15 A most desired and required personal prayer of petition, is asking for forgiveness. God in justice is serious that we will be forgiven in direct relationship to how we forgive each other. Forgiveness cannot be selective, it must be all- inclusive. “So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Mt: 5: 23-24
Prayers of intercession can take several forms. We can and should pray for others, especially our Pope, pastors and our families, as well as the poor souls in purgatory, who can gain a quicker access to heaven through our prayers. This doctrine was made official at the Councils of Trent and Florence. “Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory. “ CCC 1498
As members of the Mystical Body and Communion of saints, God finds much good in our prayers for others. We can, and should also pray “through, ” not “to,” the holy saints, especially Mary, the first and most perfect tabernacle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our prayers through Mary and the saints are prayers of veneration, not prayers of adoration, which are reserved for God alone. The Church recommends that we also pray through the holy and blessed saints, who share a most intimate union and communion with Almighty God, and desire the same grace for up. “Prayer of intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It knows no boundaries and extends to one’s enemies. ” CCC 2647. We too are intercessors when we lift our minds and hearts to God to benefit someone, or some cause, like ending abortion, or a family member or friend that we care about. After all, we too are saints in training.
Prayers of thanksgiving
God is our Creator, and all the circumstances of our lives are attributable to His Divine Providence. We are saying that everything is either caused by God or permitted by God, therefore in justice we must give thanks to God for all that we have (or don’t have). It is good to ponder this reality, as it should keep us humble. Often God saying “no” to our request, while at times an unwanted cross, is also a hidden blessing. No one here on earth is capable of understanding the mind and will of God, yet we are able to comprehend that all things that are good, and even much of what we consider as “bad” (not evil which can only come from Satan), such as serious illness care permitted by God, and are intended for or sanctification. We were Created to “know, love and serve” God in this world, so that we can be happy with Him in the next. Thanking God while we are able is just, proper and necessary. A loving heart is a thankful heart, and God desires that we have loving hearts. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name! Ps: 100: 4
Prayers of praise
“Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because He Is. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God, testifying to the only Son in whom we are adopted and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal: the ‘one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.” CCC2639 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil: 4: 4-7 Prayers of praise are prayers of love. Our prayers do not benefit God; they benefit us, yet God finds prayer pleasing, as they reflect His perfect justice and acknowledge the influence and presence of His Holy Spirit, the instigator of all prayer within us. “Whether or not our prayer is heard depends not on the number of words, but on the fervor of our souls.” St John Chrysostom, Ecloga de oratione 2: pg.63
If we are to take seriously Christ’s desire that we “pray constantly, ”1Thess: 5: 17 we must learn to meditate and contemplate God privately within our minds and hearts. We need develop the practice of constant awareness of God on our minds, and not limit His holy presence to our hearts. It is good to pray throughout the day, but often we are in no position to vocalize these prayers. God understands, yet lack of opportunity for vocal prayer in no excuse for not praying at all. These prayers need not be long or complex, but only heartfelt and sincere. Simply saying, “thanks Lord,” ”help me Lord”, or praying the Angelus, or the Lords prayer is easily accomplished in our busy lives, and bring many graces and blessings. Yet there are times when we need to be in closer communion with our God, and it is these times that Meditation or Contemplative prayer are desirable, even necessary.
Meditation on God
Meditation can take several forms. In it’s less formal application it is simply carrying on a person-to-person conversation with our Lord, and it may be vocalized or internalized. We speak to Jesus through His Holy Spirit, the “Comforter” and “Enlightener” who is always in our mist. Christ is our best friend, and we need hold nothing back from Him. It’s O.K. to be angry, to let God know that we are hurting, that we are disappointed, even if the object of the hurt, anger or disappointment is God Himself. Speak to God as you would a trusted friend, and then pray for discernment, which is a gift from the Holy Spirit, that allows us to either understand Gods will, or at least be resigned to His holy will for us. Meditation is a form of prayer that should be a regular part of every Christians walk with the Lord. I repeat again that prayer is for our benefit, and for those whom we pray and intercede. “Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ.” CCC 2708 Learning and putting into practice meditation techniques is something that we owe to ourselves. If we truly wish to develop a personal relationship with our God, this is the vehicle that best assures that the opportunity becomes a reality. If you can’t or don’t talk to God on a regular daily basis, you very likely do not yet have a personal relationship with your Savior.
The focus of more formal, that is planned meditation centers around our Savior Jesus Christ and His stay on earth, especially His Passion and death. Perhaps an example will aid us in understanding this topic, but keep in mind, this a personal intercourse between you and your Creator, and one needs always to be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who both teaches us to pray and in a very real sense is too, the object of our prayers. This dialog, directed by the Holy spirit, might be compared to lovers in the act of love, telling each other what they like or do not care for. Similarly, once one becomes familiar with how to meditate, there is less interaction on how, and more discourse on the act of love itself. Here are two example to assist you.
“We begin to meditate upon a scene of the Passion…
“Let us say upon the binding of our Lord to the column. The mind sets to work to seek the reasons, which are to be found for the great afflictions, and distress, which His Majesty must have suffered when He was alone there… The method should be the beginning, the middle and the end of prayer for us: it is a most excellent and safe road until the Lords leads us to other methods, which are supernatural… it is well to reflect here for a time and to think of the pains which He bore there, why He bore them, who He is that bore them and with what love He suffered them.” St. Theresa by Stephen N. Filippo
This is one of many ways to meditate. You are encouraged to develop your own. Try to remain open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. There is no original thought. All thoughts are from the Holy Spirit or from the evil one. If you’re agitated, it is usually Satan, and if you’re at peace, it is always God. Prayer emanates from the Holy Spirit; so don’t rely too much on yourself. Don’t get discouraged, as this is a favorite tool of Satan. If you find yourself getting discouraged, or distracted, this is normal, the battle for souls rages on, and it would seem that wherever God is, Satan is not too far away. Take a deep breath, exhale solely and ask the Holy Spirit to quiet your soul, and then proceed. Don’t quit until you are finished with your meditation. Always end with a prayer of thanksgiving. “Two frequent temptations that threaten prayer: lack of faith and acedia – a form of depression stemming from lax ascetical practice that leads to discouragement.” CCC 2755
Part II: What are we saying when we are praying the Lords Prayer?
The “Lords Prayer” is the embodiment of how we Christians are to live our lives. It is a common prayer of all Christians, not only we Catholics. It is the short version of our Lords Sermon on the Mount, cf. Mt: Ch. 5, Lk: 6: 20-46 and includes both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in its message and commands.
Until the Middle Ages, about 1500 AD, the Lords prayers was always prayed in the “mother tongue” of the Roman Church, which is Latin. In Latin it is termed “Pater noster.” We need recall that this is the prayer that our Lord taught us to pray, and theologians often call it the “perfect prayer,” and indeed it is that. The ‘Our Father”, is a complete compendium of our faith and how we are to (no option here) live it. It is not a prayer that our Blessed, Perfect Holy Lord prayed for Himself, as He has no need of forgiveness, being the manifestation of perfect and complete forgiveness, and having forgiven us for nailing Him to the cross by our sins. “And Jesus said, ’Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Lk: 23: 34
“He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.” Lk: 11: 1-4
Numbers play a significant and influencing role in the Jewish Tradition. Our Lords Prayers embodies seven separate petitions, and the number seven speaks to fullness and completeness, and is often termed the “perfect number.”
Our Father who art in heaven:
Invites us to recognize that God is, and God desires to be our father, Abba, daddy; as such we owe Him (our Triune God – head) complete respect, love, fidelity and obedience. We acknowledge His proper place as heaven, and our lives goal as to join Him there. We also acknowledge his Triune nature, and the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the Second and Third members of the Trinity, who mysteriously reside here on earth, and at the same time also reside in heaven, as is His holy will. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Is: 55: 8-9 We are to seek first the kingdom of God, and in doing so all things will be given to us that God sees as beneficial to our salvation. .
Practice of this petition in our life: we are gravely obligated to know, live and share our faith; for building the kingdom is a shared responsibility of all Christians.
“Hallowed be thy name”
“When we say ‘hallowed be thy name,’ we ask that it should be hallowed in us, who are in him; but also in others whom God’s grace still awaits, that we may obey the precept that obliges us to pray for everyone, even our enemies. That is why we do not say expressly ‘hallowed be thy name ‘in us,” for we ask that it be so in all men.” CCC 2814 We state our belief in a single, but Triune Godhead, and acknowledge that all salvation is through the only Church that Jesus founded, the Roman Catholic Church, and that knowing Jesus is essential to salvation.
Practice of this petition in our life: we must cooperate fully with all of God’s graces for us. “Only faith reproduces faith. Only believers reproduce other believers.” The Catholic Catechist manual; Fr. John A. Hardon. We must do everything in our power to protect the Holy name of God from profane use, correcting and praying for those who have this bad habit.
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
In this petition God shows His sense of humor. He gives us the most powerful force on earth, man’s free will, and then asks that we give it back to Him. We are saying that it is our hearts desire to put His holy will first, every time and all of the time. But first we must be able to discern His will, and in order to do that we must have a personal relationship with The Holy Spirit. How is God’s will done in heaven? His angels accomplish it consistently, constantly, perfectly, unselfishly, lovingly, obediently, zealously and absolutely willingly, and we are to imitate their perfect example, which is only possible with God’s grace.
Practice of this petition in our life: we ask God for what is humanly impossible, to give complete control of our most precious and prized gift, our free will to Him. Why? Because it is through our sacrificial efforts and example that others will be led to do the same, and saving souls for Christ is to be our life’s goal. We began by saving our own; we can leave no greater heritage to those we love.
“Give us this day our daily bread”
This is a heartfelt plea for salvation with a dual nature. Save our souls Lord, and while you’re at it, save your temple, our bodies. God created both our bodies and our souls and therefore has a “vested interest” in redeeming both. To do so requires the “bread of life” and the bread for life, which is the Manna in the wilderness, and the Bread for Life which is Christ in Holy Communion. Man needs both, desires both, but often is not willing to cooperate, that is to say to sacrifice as necessary to obtain both. One is available in many places, and the other, “the bread of life,” only in His Catholic Church and the Eastern Churches.
Catholics have a grave obligation to share this good news. We naturally seek nourishment for the body, and ask God’s provident care, love and guidance to assist us in this endeavor, which He does according to what He deems best for our spiritual well being.
God permits abject poverty to afford those with means, the opportunity to work in the vineyard of the Lord and care for them. “Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.” Mt: 5: 42
Just as the body needs bread for nourishment, so to the soul needs the “bread of life,” the body of Christ in Holy Communion.
When we ask (pray ) “give us this day our daily bread” we are really asking God to give us “tomorrow’s bread today.” Meaning, Lord, give us the Bread of Salvation, your very Self, as our Spiritual nourishment. There is no greater source of GRACE available to us!
Practice of this petition in our life: The obligation to share all of our gifts is a grave one. Everything we have comes from God’s Divine Providence.
Everything we “own”, and everything we love, including our families, are simply on loan from God. We are to take what we need for sustenance and security, and then share the balance. This also means we are to share both time and talents in the vineyard of the Lord. “Give, and it will be given to you; in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, it will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Lk: 6: 38
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”
It is inconceivable to me that mankind can pray this petition with a sincere heart and full understanding. In pleading with God to forgive us as we forgive others, we are saying; God only forgive me to the degree that I forgive all others for everything they have, or may have ever done to me.
If I don’t forgive them don’t bother forgiving me, and if I only forgive what I choose to forgive, please treat me the same way. Forgive me only for that which You choose to forgive me. It’s darn near enough to get one to stop praying the Lords Prayer. Included in this forgiveness, is forgiveness of self. (I personally find this far more difficult than forgiving others.) None of us are perfect, yet that is our call, and our goal. It is humanly impossible to live this petition without the constant Supernatural Grace of God, through the Holy Spirit.
Practice of this petition in our life:
If we are to even come close to fulfilling what we are asking God in this petition we must, absolutely must, lead a Sacramental life, as their the primary channels of God’s Supernatural Grace, and the means of our salvation. The Blessed Sacraments in turn must be fortified with an active, willed and heart filled prayer life, that allows God to hear, as He desires, and respond to our pleas. A strong prayer life naturally leads us to the Sacraments, which in turn lead us to a close personal relationship with our savior.
“Lead us not into temptation”
This is not in the strict sense a request not to be tempted. Concupiscence, the common inherited sin from Adam, demands in justice that we prove our love, faithfulness and willingness to endure trials for Our Blessed Lord. What we are asking for is the ability to discern these evils, that they not exceed our natural ability to withstand them, and aid us in not exposing ourselves to “the near occasion of sin.” We are asking God to protect us from all evil that He sees will not be beneficial to our spiritual well-being either because we lack the necessary Spiritual strength, or the generosity to profit from the suffering God may choose to send us.
Practice of this petition in our life:
In order for God to protect us we must offer our free will to Him in prayer. This returning to God what is rightly His is perhaps the most difficult act that man can do for His God. Just as Jesus told the Father, “thy will be done” Mt: 26: 42, and thereby received the necessary graces to accomplish His Passion and Death, so too we receive the necessary graces for every possible challenge to our holiness, when we say, pray and mean; “thy will be done”, thank you Lord!
“Deliver us from evil”
This petition is most fittingly the final one as it deals with our final judgment. Here we are asking God to save us from eternal damnation. All of us are sinners to varying degrees. Sins are always a willful act, or they are not sins. It is faith, knowing that we are unworthy, but relying on the promise of God that allows us to beg merciful forgiveness, Eph: 1: 7-8, and thus, God willing attain heaven. That should motivate all of our thoughts and actions. In so praying it is good, even necessary that we be ever mindful that it is God who chooses to forgive us, but in Divine justice only to the degree that we forgive others and ourselves.
Practice of this petition in our life:
We should live being ever mindful that someday we shall all die. We should wish to die being mindful that when we die, in fact, the very instant that we die, we will be judged justly by our Almighty and all-just Savior, Jesus Christ. Therefore we should know, live and share our faith, we should lead by example, and in this secular, New Age, un-Godly time, we must be willing to “Recover the zeal and the spirit of the first century Christians… Unless we are willing to do what they did and to pay the price that they paid, the future of our country, the days of America are numbered.” Father John A. Hardon. S.J. (deceased), my mentor and friend, may he rest in peace.
I would add, that our souls are at great risk. There is, has been and always will be a high price to pay for heaven. Whoever said, “nothing in life is free” was correct. God gave us a free will so we could decide for ourselves to go to hell, or go to heaven. It’s our decision, but know that it will take an active spiritual prayer life to return to God our free will, which is necessary to maximize the Supernatural graces He wishes to bestow on us. We can do none of the things we need to do to get to heaven without the grace of God. Come Holy Spirit Come!
“‘Then, after the Lord’s prayer is over we say ‘Amen,’ which means ‘ So be it,’ thus ratifying with our ‘Amen’ what is contained in the prayer that God has taught us. St Cyril of Jerusalem, CCC 2856
A Concise Reflection on the meaning of Prayer
“Prayer has been described as the voluntary response to the awareness of God’s presence. This response may be an acknowledgment of God’s Greatness and a person’s total dependence on Him [adoration], or gratitude for His benefits to oneself or others [thanksgiving], or sorrow for sins committed and begging for mercy [expiation], or asking for graces needed [petition], or affection for God, who is all good [love], Listen to how some of the Saints describe prayer:
“True prayer,” wrote Saint Augustine “is nothing but love.”
“Prayer”, say’s Saint John Vianney [patron St. of all priest], “in the inner bath of love into which the soul plunges itself.”
“Everyone of us needs a half-hour of prayer each day,” Remarked Saint Francis DeSales,”except those who are too busy- then they nedd one hour a day.”
Saint John Demascene gave a classic definition of prayer:
“Prayer is the raising of the mind and heart to God or the requesting good things from God.”
Finally, Saint Alphonsus Ligouri sees prayer as a rrelationship based on God’s unconditional love for us. “Consider that no one, friend or lover, or mother or sister, or brother loves you more than your God.” Amen