Thursday, January 15, 2009

What is prayer? Part II

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

This definition of prayer given by the Catechism throws down a gauntlet, a challenge.  It defies the common and comfortable conception that if we “say prayers” and “go to Mass” we have a healthy life of prayer.  God wants much more than that.  He wants our hearts, our friendship, our intimate and passionate love; only thus will we be able to experience the inexpressible joys that he longs to give us.  Thus, prayer is much more than words or rituals (though it includes them): prayer is a real, ongoing relationship with the God who created, redeemed, and loves us.  If someone asks you, “How’s your prayer life?” they are really asking, “How’s your relationship with God?”

Yours in Christ, Father John Bartunek, LC

1 comment:

  1. The Catechism does say it very beautifully! Thank you. Prayer is a relationship before it is a communication: it is a communion before it can be a conversation.

    I think St. John Vianney said it very well: "Prayer is nothing other than union with God."


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