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Prayer

Jul 16

Written by:
7/16/2017 12:20 AM  RssIcon

With a prayer group that I moderate, we recently went through the fourth pillar of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on Prayer. If you have never read through that section of the Catechism, it is a great read on how to grow in prayer before the Lord, thereby strengthening our lived relationship with Jesus; something which we could all improve, I think, me first among everyone!

In the classic approach to prayer, the Church Fathers and great spiritual writers summarized our prayer before God with the acronym: ACTS, standing for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication. For the column this weekend, I wanted to take a bit of a look at each of these types of prayer; and I will revisit them next week to see how they apply to our relationships with each other, too.

Adoration: Quite simply, praising God for Who He Is, in and of Himself. This is the recognition that God is Other, yet He also desires to draw us closer to Himself. For many, Adoration is equated with Eucharistic Adoration. And while that is this aspect of prayer to the highest degree, there are also many ways of adoring the Lord. For some, praying with Praise and Worship music fulfills this category. For others, that quiet time of prayer at night just thinking about God satisfies this thirst. For some, there are just fleeting moments of recognition throughout life that God is always present, holding each of us uniquely in His hand. Whenever our thoughts turn to God in some way, there is Adoration!

However, when we look at God, we also can become aware of our shortcomings and our failings to live up to the call that He has given to each of us. Hence, adoration is followed by Contrition. We recognize our sins and bring our sorrow before Him, asking that He help us to not fall into these traps again. Our contrition is not in the sense of lamenting how awful we are, but rather one that seeks to inspire us all to respond more fully to the activity and presence of God’s Grace in our lives; encouraging us to overcome those little vices that trip us up in our journey with Jesus.

As that journey becomes more and more clear, the gifts that God gives also start to appear; and our response is one of Thanksgiving. The Little Flower was quoted as saying ‘everything is grace’ in which she recognized that her entire life was a beautiful gift to her from God, who loved her so much. When we start to look for those gifts from God, they become so apparent and clear. From sunrise to sunset, the glory of God shines upon His beloved children.

Finally, we turn to what we need, Supplication. Only when we acknowledge Who God is and recognize both our weaknesses before Him and the gifts He lavishly bestows upon us, are we finally able to approach Him with our requests for this life. For many, this is where we start our prayer life instead of allowing it to be the culmination of our prayer. For when it is the culmination of our prayer, the things we request from God are kept in perspective, and that caveat that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane is echoed on the lips of the believer’: Not my will, but Your will be done!’ By finishing our prayer with the request, we also keep the pleas to what we actually need instead of out of our pride; which is always a good thing when we come before the Lord!

No matter how we pray, the approach of ACTS is a great model to grow and increase in our prayer life, as we all strive to be more and more like Jesus in our own day and age. Please know of my daily prayers for each of you!

 

In Christ,

Fr. Kyle Schnippel


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Re: Why do we place a white pall on the casket of the deceased at funeral Masses?
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