Daily Series on the Catechism

PART IV:  CHRISTIAN PRAYER

Section One:  Prayer in the Christian Life

Chapter 3:  The Life of Prayer

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

IV.  Persevering in Love

§ 2742  “Pray constantly…always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father” (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 5:20). St. Paul adds, “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints” (Eph 6:18). For “we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing” (CPA 49: PG 40, 1245C).

This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.

§ 2743  It is always possible to pray: The time of the Christian is that of the Risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise (cf. Matthew 28:20; Luke 8:24). Our time is in the hands of God:

  • “It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop…while buying or selling…or even while cooking” (EO 2: PG 63, 585).

§ 2744  Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin (cf. Galatians 5:16-25). How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from Him?

  • “Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin” (DAn 4, 5: PG 54, 666).
  • “Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned” (DGM).

§ 2745  Prayer and Christian life are inseparable, for they concern the same love and the same renunciation, proceeding from love; the same filial and loving conformity with the Father’s plan of love; the same transforming union in the Holy Spirit who conforms us more and more to Christ Jesus; the same Love for all men, the Love with which Jesus has loved us. “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you. This I command you, to love one another” (John 15:16-17).

  • “He ‘prays without ceasing’ who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing” (DeOr 12: PG 11, 452C).

Tomorrow – Article 3, The Prayer of the Hour of Jesus & In Brief

(Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 3 – to be continued)

[Editor’s Note:  The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]

  • “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
  • “CPA” – Evagrius Ponticus, “Capita Practica ad Anatolium [Practical Heads to Anatolius]”
  • “DAn” – St. John Chrysostom, “De Anna [About Anna]”
  • “DeOr” – Origen, “De Oratione [About Prayer]”
  • “DGM” – St. Alphonsus Liguori, “Del Gran Mezzo della Preghiera [Middle of the Great Prayer]”
  • “EO” – St. John Chrysostom, “Ecloga de Oratione [The Poem of Prayer]”
  • “PG” – “Patrologia Graeca [Greek Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Greek language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 18571866 A.D.)
Available in several languages

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