PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section One: Prayer in the Christian Life
Chapter 1: The Revelation of Prayer
Article 2, In the Fullness of Time
Jesus teaches us how to pray (cont’d)
§ 2615 Even more, what the Father gives us when our prayer is united with that of Jesus is “another Advocate, to be with you always, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17a). This new dimension of prayer and of its circumstances is displayed throughout the farewell discourse (cf. Jn 14:23-26; 15:7, 16; 16:13-15; 16:23-27). In the Holy Spirit, Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ but also in Him: “Until now you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (Jn 16:24).
Jesus hears our prayer
§ 2616 Prayer to Jesus is answered by Him already during His ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of His Death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief) (cf. Mark 1:40-41; 5:36; 7:29; cf. Luke 23:39-43), or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman) (cf. Mk 2:5; 5:28; Lk 7:37-38).
The urgent request of the blind men, “Have mercy on us, Son of David” or “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” has been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” (Matthew 9:27; Mk 10:48). Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
- St. Augustine wonderfully summarizes the three dimensions of Jesus’ prayer: “He prays for us as our Priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in Him and His in us” (EPs 85, 1: PL 37, 1081; cf. GILH 7).
The prayer of the Virgin Mary
§ 2617 Mary’s prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the Incarnation of the Son of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperates in a unique way with the Father’s plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ’s conception; at Pentecost, for the formation of the Church, His Body (cf. Lk 1:38; Acts 1:14). In the faith of His humble handmaid, the Gift of God found the acceptance He had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made “full of grace” responds by offering her whole being: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.” “Fiat”: this is Christian prayer: to be wholly God’s, because He is wholly ours.
Tomorrow – The prayer of the Virgin Mary (to be continued) & In Brief
(Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 2 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
- “EPs” – St. Augustine, “Enarrationes in Psalmos [Expositions on the Psalms]”
- “GILH” – “General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours”
- “PL” – “Patrologia Latina [Latin Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Latin language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1841‑1855 A.D.)