PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section One: Prayer in the Christian Life
Chapter 2: The Tradition of Prayer
Article 1, At the Wellsprings of Prayer (cont’d)
The Liturgy of the Church
§ 2655 In the Sacramental Liturgy of the Church, the mission of Christ and of the Holy Spirit proclaims, makes present and communicates the mystery of salvation, which is continued in the heart that prays. The spiritual writers sometimes compare the heart to an altar. Prayer internalizes and assimilates the liturgy during and after its celebration. Even when it is lived out “in secret” (cf. Matthew 6:6), prayer is always prayer of the Church; it is a communion with the Holy Trinity (GILH 9).
The theological virtues
§ 2656 One enters into prayer as one enters into liturgy: by the narrow gate of faith. Through the signs of His Presence, it is the Face of the Lord that we seek and desire; it is His Word that we want to hear and keep.
§ 2657 The Holy Spirit, who instructs us to celebrate the liturgy in expectation of Christ’s return, teaches us to pray in hope. Conversely, the prayer of the Church and personal prayer nourish hope in us. The psalms especially, with their concrete and varied language, teach us to fix our hope in God: “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:2). As St. Paul prayed: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
§ 2658 “Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). Prayer, formed by the liturgical life, draws everything into the Love by which we are loved in Christ and which enables us to respond to Him by loving as He has loved us. Love is the source of prayer; whoever draws from it reaches the summit of prayer. In the words of the Curé of Ars:
- “I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord, and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally…My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath” (St. John Vianney, Prayer).
Tomorrow – “Today”, In Brief & Article 2, The Way of Prayer
(Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 2, Article 1 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
- “GILH” – “General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours”