Friday, September 22, 2006

The Battle of Prayer or Hey, we all struggle with it!

Did you know the Catechism talks about the battle of prayer?

Yes, gentle reader, it recognizes the struggle we all face in reaching out to God. Read this:

Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? 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. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.
(emphasis mine)

So, realize this, gentle reader, your struggle to pray as you ought is not unusual or unknown! It is common to man. You must see your struggle as something the greatest and the least saint has and does wrestle with. Your difficulty in prayer can be overcome. Just follow the same efforts made previously by all human flesh as illustrated in the Cathechism.

We must also face the fact that certain attitudes deriving from the mentality of "this present world" can penetrate our lives if we are not vigilant. For example, some would have it that only that is true which can be verified by reason and science; yet prayer is a mystery that overflows both our conscious and unconscious lives. Others overly prize production and profit; thus prayer, being unproductive, is useless. Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful; whereas prayer, the "love of beauty" (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God. Finally, some see prayer as a flight from the world in reaction against activism; but in fact, Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life.
Finally, our battle has to confront what we experience as failure in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness; sadness that, because we have "great possessions,"15 we have not given all to the Lord; disappointment over not being heard according to our own will; wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift; and so forth. The conclusion is always the same: what good does it do to pray? To overcome these obstacles, we must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance.

It's all right there, folks. I just recently discovered the practical value of the Cathechism. Frankly, it used to intimidate me. But having a hunger to pray well and learn more I cracked the tome open and have found a treasure trove.

In this part of the Catechism you will read about distraction, the need for diligence, the problem of dryness, temptations like lack of faith and acedia among other human struggles. It will discuss solutions and describe how to win out over these problems. So look it up here and read up on how to improve your prayer life.

1 comment:

ukok said...

The CCC used to intimidate me too, Tim. Now I have no option but to use it for my Catechist Course with Maryvale and also my writings for CCDB.

Have you visited CCDB?

Here's a link you may find helpful