Daily Series on the Catechism

PART IV:  CHRISTIAN PRAYER

Section One:  Prayer in the Christian Life

Chapter 2:  The Tradition of Prayer

Article 2,  The Way of Prayer (cont’d)

Prayer to Jesus

§ 2665  The prayer of the Church, nourished by the Word of God and the celebration of the Liturgy, teaches us to pray to the Lord Jesus. Even though her prayer is addressed above all to the Father, it includes, in all the liturgical traditions, forms of prayer addressed to Christ. Certain psalms, given their use in the Prayer of the Church [Liturgy of the Hours], and the New Testament, place on our lips and engrave in our hearts prayer to Christ in the form of invocations: Son of God, Word of God, Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, King, Beloved Son, Son of the Virgin, Good Shepherd, our Life, our Light, our Hope, our Resurrection, Friend of mankind…

§ 2666  But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in His Incarnation: JESUS. The Divine Name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity, the Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves” (cf. Exodus 3:14; 33:19–23; Matthew 1:21). The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke Him and to call Him within us. His Name is the only one that contains the Presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the Name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave Himself up for him (Romans 10:13; Acts 2:21; 3:15–16; Galatians 2:20).

§ 2667  This simple invocation of faith developed in the tradition of prayer under many forms in East and West. The most usual formulation, transmitted by the spiritual writers of the Sinai, Syria, and Mt. Athos, is the invocation, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.” It combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6–11 [“Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped…”] with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light (cf. Mark 10:46–52; Luke 18:13). By it, the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior’s Mercy.

§ 2668  The invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the Holy Name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases (cf. Mt 6:7), but holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience” (cf. Lk 8:15). This prayer is possible “at all times”, because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus.

Tomorrow – Prayer to Jesus (to be continued)

(Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 2, Article 2 – to be continued)

[Editor’s Note:  The abbreviation in today’s posting is noted below.]

  • “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
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