The Life of Prayer

The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers us a beautiful teaching on the necessity of praying in our daily lives. It says that “Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget Him who is our life and our all. That is why the teachings of the prophets, and later that of the Church Fathers, insist that prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the heart: “We must remember God more often than we draw breath.” (St. Gregory of Nazianzus) The Catechism goes on to say that, “…we cannot pray at all times if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it. The church has always promoted that we pray at different times of the day to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, and the Liturgy of the Hours (prayed by clergy and religious). Some of our prayers are weekly, especially when we gather for Mass on the weekends. And there are other times of prayer that make up the great Seasons of our Church calendar: Advent, Christmastime, Lent, Holy Week and Eastertime, along with the Feasts of the Year. What the church is stressing is that prayer should be an important part of our everyday lives.
The church in her wisdom instructs us to pray often but does not necessarily tell us how to pray when doing it alone. “Our Christian Tradition has retained three major expressions of prayer: Vocal, Meditative and Contemplative. They have one basic trait in common: composure of heart.” Being faithful to times of prayer keeps us in the presence of God in a special way. In the next few weeks I will elaborate about these three types of prayer. In the meanwhile, keep praying, encourage others to pray, and be sure that God hears the prayers of all who trust in Him and call upon His name.