Wednesday 28th September 2022

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

A Beacon Of Light… The Importance Of Prayer

July 12, 2022 Frontpage No Comments

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON JR.

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He received his BA in religious studies and his MA in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

  • + + Last week’s column introduced us to the importance prayer played in the Old Testament. From the moments of creation in the Garden of Eden, through the interactions with Abraham, Moses, and the prophets, the Old Testament begins for us what we called the “drama of prayer.” The “drama of prayer” finds its culmination, or climax, in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ.
    The Catechism begins this section by using the phrase: In the Fullness of Time. This phrase has always been associated with the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of the promise of God. So, it is appropriate then, if we are to consider prayer and its foundations, this must be done in connection with the greatest moment in human history, the moment of the Incarnation. The moment that “the word became flesh.”
    We cannot forget, however, the importance prayer played in the life of the Virgin Mary. Remember it was Mary’s living of the Jewish life of prayer that enabled her to experience the Annunciation in such a prayerful way. Mary’s prayer is revealed to us prior to the birth of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
    This in no way diminishes the importance of Mary’s prayer, however, but places it in line with the importance prayer plays in the lives of us all. Like Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and many others, Mary’s prayer is a cooperation in God’s plan of loving kindness. It was the humble faith of the “handmaid of the Lord” that fulfilled the acceptance the Lord was yearning for from the beginning.
    She who is known as “full of grace” offers her entire self in the prayerful moments of the Annunciation. Mary’s understanding of prayer and the importance of her son’s role in the “drama of prayer” is further recognized in the wedding feast at Cana. Mary sees a need and calls upon Jesus, her Son, who plays an intricate role in prayer, to participate in the needs of the people of God. Actually, the moments at Cana are seen as a foreshadowing of another feast; the Wedding of the Lamb, where Jesus offers us His Body and Blood as an acceptable sacrifice (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 2617-2619).

The Jewish Traditions

Having gained an understanding of Mary’s participation in the “drama of prayer,” we are able to examine the prominence prayer played in the life of Jesus. As the son of Mary, Jesus’ human nature would have been nourished by the religious experiences of the Virgin Mary. As Mary prayed from her heart, it was this example that taught Jesus how to pray from His heart.
Living within the Jewish traditions, however, would have also influenced Jesus’ way of prayer. Because members of His family were devout Jews, Jesus would have prayed in the synagogue of Nazareth and in the Temple of Jerusalem. We know this is correct because Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Tradition both refer to the accounts of the finding of Jesus in the Temple. It was in the Temple Jesus says: “I must be in my Father’s House” (Luke 2:49).
Through these words, Jesus begins to reveal a “filial prayer” which shows the union of the prayer that exists between the Father and the Son. This becomes for us the ultimate example of how we must live our lives of prayer. There must exist a unification between God and Man (CCC, n. 2599).
Throughout His life and ministry, Jesus used moments of prayer to teach us of its powerful importance. He used the decisive moments of His own life to teach us how God works with us in prayer. Prior to the moments of the Baptism in the Jordan and the Transfiguration, when the Father is about to give witness to His Son, Jesus prays.
As Jesus is about to enter into the Passion, He again turns to the Father in prayer. This prayer prior to the Passion has become known as the “Priestly Prayer of Jesus.” Jesus prays for Himself, He prays for the apostles, and He prays for all of humanity. But Jesus also prays during the significant moments in the lives of the ministry of the apostles: at the election and call of the twelve, before Peter’s confession of Him as the Christ, and again that the faith of the chief of the apostles, Peter, might not fail in temptation. In all, Jesus shows us how important prayer is in our lives (CCC, n. 2600).
Throughout His public ministry Jesus was referred to as a teacher, for so indeed He was. Jesus taught not only through His own life of prayer, but through other means as well. In fact, from the Sermon on the Mount onward, Jesus insists on conversion of heart as a way of assisting us on the path of true prayer: “reconciliation with one’s brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else. This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father” (CCC, n. 2608).
True prayer is rooted in the need of conversion of heart! Once we commit to a life of conversion, then, the heart learns how to pray in faith. Jesus teaches us the boldness we need to ask the Father in prayer for whatever we need, and if we believe, we will receive it (CCC, n. 2610).
Developing an understanding and ability to pray does not come from just saying words. Our prayers must be connected to our actions. Jesus is always reminding us that the “Kingdom of God is at hand,” meaning we cannot wait to unify our prayers with the actions of our lives. St. Luke provides for us three parables that demonstrate this need for unification in prayer and actions.
The Catechism preset these in this way: The first, “the importunate friend” invites us to urgent prayer: “Knock, and it will be opened to you.” To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will “give whatever he needs,” and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts. The second, “the importunate widow,” is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: It is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on Earth? The third parable, “the Pharisee and the tax collector,” concerns the humility of the heart that prays. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” the Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison!” (CCC, n. 2613).
Through the teaching of Jesus on prayer, we are entrusted with the mystery of prayer to the Father. Together with the apostles and disciples, Jesus reveals for us the dignity of the Father and the need to always keep our eyes focused on Him. The Church reminds us that prayer is a communion of love. This love, however, is not only achieved through Christ but is completed when we unite it to God the Father Himself.

Prayers Of Faith

Finally, we know our prayer is complete when Jesus hears us. But how can we know Jesus hears us? Jesus reveals to us during His public ministry that He does hear us. These signs anticipate for us the fulfillment of our prayers. This happens in two ways.
First, Jesus hears our prayers of faith as they are expressed in words. The instances where the word is expressed occur in the stories of the leper, of Jairus, the Canaanite woman, and the good thief. In each of these Jesus hears their plea and answers their prayers.
Second, Jesus hears our prayers through the silence of our faith. In these instances, we are reminded of the bearers of the paralytic man, the woman with the hemorrhage who touched His clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman who washed His feet. Whether our prayer was uttered in word or expressed in silence, Jesus shows an abundance of mercy and love each time He responds by saying: “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
St. Augustine beautifully expresses the three dimensions of prayer when he says: “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” (St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 85, 1: PL 37, 1081; cf. GILH 7).
Each day of our journey of faith, we are called to pray. Jesus has given us the model needed to pray and has instructed us how to accomplish this important aspect of the journey. Jesus entrusted the Church with the authority to teach us how to pray. In next week’s column, we will see how the Church assists us in our life of prayer by providing us with different kinds of prayer. Until then, may we grow in our life of prayer.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

">Great News for Italy. Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Giorgia Meloni’s electrifying speech at the World Congress of Families

Bishops, priests and scholars correct Pope Francis’ statement on Holy Communion

(LifeSiteNews) — Four bishops, several priests, and numerous Catholic scholars have signed a statement rebuking Pope Francis for a recent statement about the reception of Holy Communion, according to which “everyone is invited to the supper of the wedding of the Lamb (Re 19:9). To be admitted to the feast all that is required is the wedding garment of faith which comes from the hearing of his Word.” The Pope wrote these words in his…Continue Reading

A futuristic Nur-Sultan ready welcomes Pope Francis to Kazakhstan

As Pope Francis prepares to depart for Kazakhstan on Tuesday, our correspondent in Nur-Sultan takes a look at his upcoming participation in the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, as well as the small Catholic community’s great joy to receive the Holy Father.

Joe Biden Calls MAGA Americans Violent, Ignores Leftist Violence Against Churches, Pregnancy Centers

Illuminated with blood-red lights, draped in inky shadows, and flanked by U.S. Marines, President Biden launched into an angry screed Thursday night, using dangerous and inciting rhetoric to attack so-called “MAGA Republicans.” It was a terrifying sight that drew praise and flowery language from the “journalists” of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 as they lauded the “full frontal attack” and asserted he was “reclaiming patriotism.” “President Biden finishing a 24-minute speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He said as…Continue Reading

Pope Francis creates 20 cardinals for the Catholic Church

Rome Newsroom, Aug 27, 2022 / 08:31 am Pope Francis created 20 new cardinals for the Catholic Church during a liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica Saturday. “Jesus calls us by name; he looks us in the eye and he asks: Can I count on you?” Pope Francis said in a homily addressed to the College of Cardinals and its new members on Aug. 27. “The Lord,” he said, “wants to bestow on us his own…Continue Reading

Who Makes More Money In America?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY The money earned by American households has grown enormously since 1967, when President Lyndon Baines Johnson was still in office and the hippie generation was celebrating its so-called Summer of Love.The median household income in the United States that year was $50,803 in constant 2021 dollars, according to the Census Bureau’s…Continue Reading

An Attack On Human Life . . . Pope Benedict Condemns “Intrinsic Evil” Of Abortion

By STEVEN ERTELT (LifeNews) — During his time as the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict was a consistent pro-life voice condemning the evil of abortion. In comments posted on Twitter the morning of September 21, Benedict XVI reminded people that abortion is evil and an attack on human life.He made it clear that…Continue Reading

Biden Is Losing The Race For The Cure

By STEPHEN MOORE President Joe Biden recently announced, with great fanfare, his Cancer Moonshot initiative. Biden used soaring and promising rhetoric about, at last, finding a cure for one of the world’s leading killers.Speaking at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on September 12, the president declared:“Beating cancer is something we…Continue Reading

Becoming Pro-Life The Hard Way

By DONALD DeMARCO “Aujourd’hui Maman est morte. Ou, hier, peut-etre; je ne sais pas.” (Today my mother died. Or was it yesterday, I don’t know.) + + This is the celebrated opening of Nobel Laureate Albert Camus’ novel, The Stranger. It immediately establishes the main character as a person who, being emotionally unmoved by the…Continue Reading

The Queen: End Of An Era

By JOHN J. METLZER The Queen has died; the page of history has turned. The passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest serving monarch, has shocked and saddened much of the world despite the sovereign’s declining health and her 96 years of age. Just months after having joyfully celebrated her platinum Jubilee commemorating 70 years…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

On Being Faithful In A Few Things . . . Before Being Ruler Over Many Things

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this commentary on September 17 and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + I. Analysis of the Sinner — In the opening lines of the Gospel, Jesus describes a sinful steward.Delusion (of the sinner) — Jesus said to His disciples, “A rich man had a steward. . . .”Notice…Continue Reading

How Long, O Lord?

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time Readings:Hab. 1:2-3, 2:2-42 Tim. 1:6-8, 13-14Luke 17:5-10 The first reading today, from the Prophet Habakkuk, is very apropos for our time. As it was in his day, so too it is in ours: people crying to God for help, but nothing seems to happen; people crying out “violence,” but God does…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I don’t use rosary beads to say the rosary since I pray in the car or while doing gardening or housework. Is it okay to pray the rosary daily with my fingers? Also, I have seen pictures of St. Joseph with lilies, and I have been told that is the way he was chosen to be the husband of…Continue Reading

Future Bleak for Vatican II Mass

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK My parish is forced back into compliance with the “unique liturgical expression of the Roman rite” this month, as expressed by Pope Francis in Traditionis custodes, with the banning of the traditional Latin Mass in my as well as in other parish churches. This in order to open us to the full experience of the…Continue Reading

Crazy! . . . A Homily For The 24th Sunday Of The Year

(Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this on September 10 and it is posted here with permission.) + + The three parables in this Sunday’s lengthy Gospel challenge conventional thinking. They describe people doing things that we most likely would not do. All three of them — especially the first two — seem crazy. Who would ever do what the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Augustine Of Canterbury

By DEB PIROCH Apostle, Benedictine monk, first archbishop of Canterbury, and the founder of the First Eccliastical See in England, St. Augustine of Canterbury is not a name remembered by many Americans. But as England buries Queen Elizabeth II this week, we hear much of Her Majesty’s Christian faith. Without St. Augustine’s work, would Christianity in England exist at all…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Bridget

By DEB PIROCH “Oh my friends, I love my sheep so tenderly that were it possible I would die many other times for each one of them that same death I suffered for the redemption of all” — Words attributed to Christ, Revelations of St. Bridget. + + In 1999, Pope St. John Paul II issued a moto proprio, making…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)