TheRosarium.org His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5
Today's Mass Reading in Audio

Catechism

Recommended Book

Editorial Reviews:

Review
"A sure and certain standard for the teaching of the faith." -- Pope John Paul II. -- Review Product Description In 1566, in Trent, Italy, a council of key elders of the Catholic Church convened to address the critical issues affecting the Church. In June of 1994, that statement of teachings was revised. Requiring more than seven years of research and more than 84,000 changes, this new Catechism conveys the Church's essential teachings, clearly, concisely, and in a way that speaks to all Catholics.

Christian Prayer

SECTION ONE PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

2558 "Great is the mystery of the 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 God the Father (Part Three).

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.

WHAT IS PRAYER?
For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.(St. Therese of Lisieux, Manuscrits autobiographiques, C 25r)
Prayer as God's gift

2559 "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."(St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 3, 24: PG 94,1089C.) But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or "out of the depths" of a humble and contrite heart? (Ps 130:1) He who humbles himself will be exalted;(Lk 18:9-14) humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought,"(Rom 8:26) are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. "Man is a beggar before God."(St. Augustine, Sermo 56, 6, 9: PL 38, 381)
2560 "If you knew the gift of God!"(Jn 4:10) The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God's desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.(St. Augustine De diversis quaestionibus octoginta tribus 64, 4: PL 40, 56)
2561 "You would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."(Jn 4:10) Paradoxically our prayer of petition is a response to the plea of the living God: "They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water!"(Jer 2:13) Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation and also a response of love to the thirst of the only Son of God.(Jn 7:37-39; 19:28; Isa 12:3; 51:1; Zech 12:10; 13:1)

Prayer as covenant

2562 Where does prayer come from? Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole man who prays. But in naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain.
2563 The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place "to which I withdraw." The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.
2564 Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.

Prayer as communion

2565 In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Kingdom is "the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity . . . with the whole human spirit."(St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio, 16, 9: PG 35, 945) Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him. This communion of life is always possible because, through Baptism, we have already been united with Christ.(Rom 6:5) Prayer is Christian insofar as it is communion with Christ and extends throughout the Church, which is his Body. Its dimensions are those of Christ's love.(Eph 3:18-21)

CHAPTER ONE: THE REVELATION OF PRAYER - THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO PRAYER

2566 Man is in search of God. In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence. "Crowned with glory and honor," man is, after the angels, capable of acknowledging "how majestic is the name of the Lord in all the earth."(Ps 8:5; 8:1) Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the one who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to men's essential search for God.(Acts 17:27)
2567 God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God's initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation.

Article 1 IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

2590 "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God" (St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 3, 24: PG 94, 1089C).
2591 God tirelessly calls each person to this mysterious encounter with Himself. Prayer unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation as a reciprocal call between God and man.
2592 The prayer of Abraham and Jacob is presented as a battle of faith marked by trust in God's faithfulness and by certitude in the victory promised to perseverance.
2593 The prayer of Moses responds to the living God's initiative for the salvation of his people. It foreshadows the prayer of intercession of the unique mediator, Christ Jesus.
2594 The prayer of the People of God flourished in the shadow of the dwelling place of God's presence on earth, the ark of the covenant and the Temple, under the guidance of their shepherds, especially King David, and of the prophets.
2595 The prophets summoned the people to conversion of heart and, while zealously seeking the face of God, like Elijah, they interceded for the people.
2596 The Psalms constitute the masterwork of prayer in the Old Testament. They present two inseparable qualities: the personal, and the communal. They extend to all dimensions of history, recalling God's promises already fulfilled and looking for the coming of the Messiah.
2597 Prayed and fulfilled in Christ, the Psalms are an essential and permanent element of the prayer of the Church. They are suitable for men of every condition and time.

Article 2 IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME

2620 Jesus' filial prayer is the perfect model of prayer in the New Testament. Often done in solitude and in secret, the prayer of Jesus involves a loving adherence to the will of the Father even to the Cross and an absolute confidence in being heard.
2621 In his teaching, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray with a purified heart, with lively and persevering faith, with filial boldness. He calls them to vigilance and invites them to present their petitions to God in his name. Jesus Christ himself answers prayers addressed to him.
2622 The prayers of the Virgin Mary, in her Fiat and Magnificat, are characterized by the generous offering of her whole being in faith.

Article 3 IN THE AGE OF THE CHURCH

2644 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: blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise.
2645 Because God blesses the human heart, it can in return bless him who is the source of every blessing.
2646 Forgiveness, the quest for the Kingdom, and every true need are objects of the prayer of petition.
2647 Prayer of intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It knows no boundaries and extends to one's enemies.
2648 Every joy and suffering, every event and need can become the matter for thanksgiving which, sharing in that of Christ, should fill one's whole life: "Give thanks in all circumstances" (? 1 Thess 5:18).
2649 Prayer of praise is entirely disinterested and rises to God, lauds him, and gives him glory for his own sake, quite beyond what he has done, but simply because HE IS.

CHAPTER TWO: THE TRADITION OF PRAYER

2650 Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of interior impulse: in order to pray, one must have the will to pray. Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer: one must also learn how to pray. Through a living transmission (Sacred Tradition) within "the believing and praying Church,"(DV 8) The Holy Spirit teaches the children of God how to pray.
2651 The tradition of Christian prayer is one of the ways in which the tradition of faith takes shape and grows, especially through the contemplation and study of believers who treasure in their hearts the events and words of the economy of salvation, and through their profound grasp of the spiritual realities they experience.(Cf. DV 8)

Article 1 AT THE WELLSPRINGS OF PRAYER

2661 By a living transmission -Tradition - the Holy Spirit in the Church teaches the children of God to pray.
2662 The Word of God, the liturgy of the Church, and the virtues of faith, hope, and charity are sources of prayer.

Article 2 THE WAY OF PRAYER

2680 Prayer is primarily addressed to the Father; it can also be directed toward Jesus, particularly by the invocation of his holy name: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners."
2681 "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord', except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3). the Church invites us to invoke the Holy Spirit as the interior Teacher of Christian prayer.
2682 Because of Mary's singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to entrust supplications and praises to her.

Article 3 GUIDES FOR PRAYER

2692 In prayer, the pilgrim Church is associated with that of the saints, whose intercession she asks.
2693 The different schools of Christian spirituality share in the living tradition of prayer and are precious guides for the spiritual life.
2694 The Christian family is the first place for education in prayer.
2695 Ordained ministers, the consecrated life, catechesis, prayer groups, and "spiritual direction" ensure assistance within the Church in the practice of prayer.
2696 The most appropriate places for prayer are personal or family oratories, monasteries, places of pilgrimage, and above all the church, which is the proper place for liturgical prayer for the parish community and the privileged place for Eucharistic adoration.

CHAPTER THREE: THE LIFE OF PRAYER

2697 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. This is why the Fathers of the spiritual life in the Deuteronomic and prophetic traditions 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, Orat. theo., 27, 1, 4: PG 36, 16) But we cannot pray "at all times" if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration.
2698 The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours. Sundays, centered on the Eucharist, are kept holy primarily by prayer. the cycle of the liturgical year and its great feasts are also basic rhythms of the Christian's life of prayer.
2699 The Lord leads all persons by paths and in ways pleasing to him, and each believer responds according to his heart's resolve and the personal expressions of his prayer. However, Christian Tradition has retained three major expressions of prayer: vocal meditative, and contemplative. They have one basic trait in common: composure of heart. This vigilance in keeping the Word and dwelling in the presence of God makes these three expressions intense times in the life of prayer.

Article 1 EXPRESSIONS OF PRAYER

2720 The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the feasts of the liturgical year.
2721 The Christian tradition comprises three major expressions of the life of prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplative prayer. They have in common the recollection of the heart.
2722 Vocal prayer, founded on the union of body and soul in human nature, associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart, following Christ's example of praying to his Father and teaching the Our Father to his disciples.
2723 Meditation is a prayerful quest engaging thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. Its goal is to make our own in faith the subject considered, by confronting it with the reality of our own life.
2724 Contemplative prayer is the simple 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 real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery.

Article 2 THE BATTLE OF PRAYER

2725 Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. the great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. the "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.

Article 3 THE PRAYER OF THE HOUR OF JESUS

2752 Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves and the wiles of the Tempter. the battle of prayer is inseparable from the necessary "spiritual battle" to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ: we pray as we live, because we live as we pray.
2753 In the battle of prayer we must confront erroneous conceptions of prayer, various currents of thought, and our own experience of failure. We must respond with humility, trust, and perseverance to these temptations which cast doubt on the usefulness or even the possibility of prayer.
2754 The principal difficulties in the practice of prayer are distraction and dryness. the remedy lies in faith, conversion, and vigilance of heart.
2755 Two frequent temptations threaten prayer: lack of faith and acedia - a form of depression stemming from lax ascetical practice that leads to discouragement.
2756 Filial trust is put to the test when we feel that our prayer is not always heard. the Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the conformity of our prayer to the desire of the Spirit.
2757 "Pray constantly" (? 1 Thess 5:17). It is always possible to pray. It is even a vital necessity. Prayer and Christian life are inseparable.
2758 The prayer of the hour of Jesus, rightly called the "priestly prayer" (cf ? Jn 17), sums up the whole economy of creation and salvation. It fulfills the great petitions of the Our Father.

SECTION TWO THE LORD'S PRAYER

I. "OUR FATHER!"

2759 Jesus "was praying at a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'"(Lk 11:1) In response to this request the Lord entrusts to his disciples and to his Church the fundamental Christian prayer. St. Luke presents a brief text of five petitions,(Lk 11:2-4) while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions.(Mt 6:9-13) The liturgical tradition of the Church has retained St. Matthew's text:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

2760 Very early on, liturgical usage concluded the Lord's Prayer with a doxology. In the Didache, we find, "For yours are the power and the glory for ever."(Didache 8, 2: SCh 248, 174) The Apostolic Constitutions add to the beginning: "the kingdom," and this is the formula retained to our day in ecumenical prayer.(Apostolic Constitutions, 7, 24, 1: PG 1,1016) The Byzantine tradition adds after "the glory" the words "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." the Roman Missal develops the last petition in the explicit perspective of "awaiting our blessed hope" and of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.(Titus 2:13; cf. Roman Missal 22, Embolism after the Lord's Prayer) Then comes the assembly's acclamation or the repetition of the doxology from the Apostolic Constitutions.

Article 1 "THE SUMMARY OF THE WHOLE GOSPEL"

2773 In response to his disciples' request "Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk 11:1), Jesus entrusts them with the fundamental Christian prayer, the Our Father.
2774 "The Lord's Prayer is truly the summary of the whole gospel,"(Tertullian, De orat. 1 PL 1, 1251-1255) The "most perfect of prayers."(St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 83, 9) It is at the center of the Scriptures.
2775 It is called "the Lord's Prayer" because it comes to us from the Lord Jesus, the master and model of our prayer.
2776 The Lord's Prayer is the quintessential prayer of the Church. It is an integral part of the major hours of the Divine Office and of the sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Integrated into the Eucharist it reveals the eschatological character of its petitions, hoping for the Lord, "until he comes" (1 Cor 11:26).

Article 2 "OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"

2797 Simple and faithful trust, humble and joyous assurance are the proper dispositions for one who prays the Our Father.
2798 We can invoke God as "Father" because the Son of God made man has revealed him to us. Jn this Son, through Baptism, we are incorporated and adopted as sons of God.
2799 The Lord's Prayer brings us into communion with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. At the same time it reveals us to ourselves (cf GS 22 # 1).
2800 Praying to our Father should develop in us the will to become like him and foster in us a humble and trusting heart.
2801 When we say "Our" Father, we are invoking the new covenant in Jesus Christ, communion with the Holy Trinity, and the divine love which spreads through the Church to encompass the world.
2802 "Who art in heaven" does not refer to a place but to God's majesty and his presence in the hearts of the just. Heaven, the Father's house, is the true homeland toward which we are heading and to which, already, we belong.

Article 3 THE SEVEN PETITIONS

2803 After we have placed ourselves in the presence of God our Father to adore and to love and to bless him, the Spirit of adoption stirs up in our hearts seven petitions, seven blessings. the first three, more theological, draw us toward the glory of the Father; the last four, as ways toward him, commend our wretchedness to his grace. "Deep calls to deep."(Ps 42:7)
2804 The first series of petitions carries us toward him, for his own sake: thy name, thy kingdom, thy will! It is characteristic of love to think first of the one whom we love. In none of the three petitions do we mention ourselves; the burning desire, even anguish, of the beloved Son for his Father's glory seizes us:(Lk 22:14; 12:50) "hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done...." These three supplications were already answered in the saving sacrifice of Christ, but they are henceforth directed in hope toward their final fulfillment, for God is not yet all in all.(1 Cor 15:28)
2805 The second series of petitions unfolds with the same movement as certain Eucharistic epicleses: as an offering up of our expectations, that draws down upon itself the eyes of the Father of mercies. They go up from us and concern us from this very moment, in our present world: "give us . . . forgive us . . . lead us not ... deliver us...." the fourth and fifth petitions concern our life as such - to be fed and to be healed of sin; the last two concern our battle for the victory of life - that battle of prayer.
2806 By the three first petitions, we are strengthened in faith, filled with hope, and set aflame by charity. Being creatures and still sinners, we have to petition for us, for that "us" bound by the world and history, which we offer to the boundless love of God. For through the name of his Christ and the reign of his Holy Spirit, our Father accomplishes his plan of salvation, for us and for the whole world.

Article 4 THE FINAL DOXOLOGY

2857 In the Our Father, the object of the first three petitions is the glory of the Father: the sanctification of his name, the coming of the kingdom, and the fulfillment of his will. the four others present our wants to him: they ask that our lives be nourished, healed of sin, and made victorious in the struggle of good over evil.
2858 By asking "hallowed be thy name" we enter into God's plan, the sanctification of his name - revealed first to Moses and then in Jesus - by us and in us, in every nation and in each man.
2859 By the second petition, the Church looks first to Christ's return and the final coming of the Reign of God. It also prays for the growth of the Kingdom of God in the "today" of our own lives.
2860 In the third petition, we ask our Father to unite our will to that of his Son, so as to fulfill his plan of salvation in the life of the world.
2861 In the fourth petition, by saying "give us," we express in communion with our brethren our filial trust in our heavenly Father. "Our daily bread" refers to the earthly nourishment necessary to everyone for subsistence, and also to the Bread of Life: the Word of God and the Body of Christ. It is received in God's "today," as the indispensable, (super - ) essential nourishment of the feast of the coming Kingdom anticipated in the Eucharist.
2862 The fifth petition begs God's mercy for our offences, mercy which can penetrate our hearts only if we have learned to forgive our enemies, with the example and help of Christ.
2863 When we say "lead us not into temptation" we are asking God not to allow us to take the path that leads to sin. This petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength; it requests the grace of vigilance and final perseverance.
2864 In the last petition, "but deliver us from evil," Christians pray to God with the Church to show forth the victory, already won by Christ, over the "ruler of this world," Satan, the angel personally opposed to God and to his plan of salvation.
2865 By the final "Amen," we express our "fiat" concerning the seven petitions: "So be it".


Text from the Catechism of the Catholic Church