- Slides: 21
The Battle of Prayer
Context for Battle of Prayer • Part 4 “Christian Prayer” – Recall each part of the CCC is divided into two sections: • Section one covers the broad and foundational • Section two covers more specifics and practical matters e. g. the “Our Father” – After situating the doctrine of prayer within the context of Salvation History (ch 1), the CCC addresses the Tradition of prayer (ch 2), with the last chapter in section one dealing with the Life of Prayer (ch 3).
All doctrine is situated within the Story of Salvation History -4 Dimensions of Christian Life -Trinitarian -in union with Mary -Witness of the Saints & Christian Family Getting practical…this is how you live it.
A “Sure Norm for Teaching the Faith” • The CCC is teaching you how to teach: – You must know the Story of Salvation History and situate Prayer in that framework. This gives meaning and purpose to every doctrine. The battle of prayer only makes sense within this context. – The Story reveals my identity as a Christian. My Christian life has 4 dimensions (see Acts 2: 42). In order to understand prayer I need to see it in relation to the other three dimensions. – There is a hierarchy of truths revealed by God and taught by the Church. The Trinity is the most central doctrine of the Faith. All teaching must be seen in relation to the Trinity. – God has and continues to work through the Church. The Saints who have gone before us and the holy men & women of our time assist us
As you read and pray with the CCC look for these features • For Example: – Fr. Corbon refers to the dimensions of the Christian life as “Wellsprings of prayer” • • The Word of God (Creed) The Liturgy (Sacraments) Theological Virtues “Today” i. e. events of daily life (Morality)
Catechesis of Children & Prayer • CCC 2688 – again here the Catechism draws our attention to the 4 -dimensional Christian Life. – Teach them to meditate on the Word of God (Creed) – Teach them to practice it [the Word of God] in Liturgical Prayer (Sacraments) – Teach them to internalize it [the Word of God] at all times…to bear fruit in new life (Morality)
The Battle of Prayer (CCC 2725 -2745) • Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. • The Saints teach us that prayer is a battle… 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. • • I. Objections to Prayer II. Humble Vigilance in Prayer III. Filial Trust IV. Persevering in Love
Objections to Prayer • Erroneous notions of prayer – Prayer as simply a psychological activity or effort of concentration to reach a mental void. – Reduction to just ritual words and postures – The notion that prayer comes only from us and not the Holy Spirit and we do not have time to do this work with everything else on our plate.
Objections to Prayer • The mentality of this present world – Rationalism and Empiricism i. e. we can only know to be true that which we attain via reason and science. • Response = prayer is not limited to that which we are conscious of – Pragmatism i. e. production & profit are valued and prayer neither produces or makes a profit. • Response = Work has a deeper value than simply the accomplishment of a particular task. Performing tasks can result in the development of habits which result in the development of character resulting in a blessed destiny. We also, as with most actions we engage in, do not see the full ramifications of our action. Some effects go unknown for long periods of time, perhaps our whole earthly life. – Emotivism or Hedonism i. e. sensuality & comfort are the criteria of the true, good, & beautiful. • Response = some emotions do not correspond to reality (e. g. irrational fears); while many things that are true evoke no feeling in us. Some things that feel good are in fact not good. Some things that do not feel good are in fact good.
Objections to Prayer • Experience of “failure in prayer” – Discouragement due to periods of dryness – Sadness because we have many possessions (Mk 10: 22) – Disappointment when not heard according to our own will. – Wounded pride & resistance to prayer as a free and unmerited gift.
Response to all these objections • Humility • Trust • Perseverance • See Phil 2: 5 ff.
Humble Vigilance in Prayer • Facing difficulties – Distraction • Response = hunting down distractions is a trap…instead turn back to our heart. A distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve (CCC 2729) • Be vigilant…always look to Christ who has come and still comes to us each day • Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour (1 Pt 5: 8)
• Facing difficulties – Dryness CCC 2731 • The heart is separated from God…A temporary lack of consolation • If this is due to lack of roots because the Word has fallen on rocky soil the battle requires conversion. • Response = We can be comforted in knowing that like the grain of wheat, if in union with Christ we die to ourselves we will bear much fruit (cf. Jn 12: 24) • “I die everyday!” (1 Cor 15: 31)
• Facing Temptations in Prayer – Lack of Faith = most common and most hidden temptation (CCC 2732) • It is expressed when we prefer other things to God…once again a moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? • Response = cultivate the humble heart through internalizing Jesus’ words, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15: 5) – Acedia = a form of spiritual laziness due to relaxed vigilance and lack of custody of heart. • depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart • Response = The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy
Filial Trust • Proves itself in tribulation • Difficulty lies with the prayer of petition • Some stop praying because they think their prayer is not heard. • Why do we complain of not being heard? – Do you conceive of God as an instrument to be used or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? – Are you convinced that you do not know how to pray as you ought (Rom 8: 26) The Holy Spirit intercedes for us and teaches us how to pray
Filial Trust • God can only do that which is good – Are we asking God for "what is good for us"? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him, but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom…(CCC 2736) • It is possible to ask wrongly. – Asking to “spend it on our passions” (Jas 4: 3)…God cannot answer us because He desires our well being and life. – “Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer. ” (Evagrius Ponticus 4 th cent Monastic Theologian)
Filial Trust • How is our prayer efficacious? – Trust is enkindled by Christ’s supreme act of His Passion and Resurrection – Transformation of the praying heart is the first response to our petition – The prayer of Jesus makes Christian prayer an efficacious petition. He is its model, he prays in us and with us – If our prayer is resolutely united with that of Jesus, in trust and boldness as children, we obtain all that we ask in his name, even more than any particular thing: the Holy Spirit himself, who contains all gifts.
Persevering in Love • Tireless fervor can only come from love… Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love (CCC 2742) – It is always possible to pray – Prayer is a vital necessity… if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin – Prayer & Christian Life are inseparable • 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 (Origen)
• Rocky Clip https: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=uy. TAf. X 7 cni. I