Friday, January 14, 2011

Lord, Teach us to Pray (Part III)

The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you. (John 14:26)
The Catechism opens up the Scriptures to us. Read Scripture and the Catechism together daily!

 The Catechism of the Catholic Church 
on Prayer in the Christian Life 
"The Finding in the Temple"
The Gospel of Luke: Prayer in Jesus' Life and Ministry

2599 The Son of God who became Son of the Virgin also learned to pray according to his human heart. He learns the formulas of prayer from his mother, who kept in her heart and meditated upon all the "great things" done by the Almighty (Cf. Lk 1:49; 2:19; 2:51). 

He learns to pray in the words and rhythms of the prayer of his people, in the synagogue at Nazareth and the Temple at Jerusalem. But his prayer springs from an otherwise secret source, as he intimates at the age of twelve: "I must be in my Father's house" (Lk 2:49). Here the newness of prayer in the fullness of time begins to be revealed: his filial prayer, which the Father awaits from his children, is finally going to be lived out by the only Son in his humanity, with and for men. 

2600 The Gospel according to St. Luke emphasizes the action of the Holy Spirit and the meaning of prayer in Christ's ministry. Jesus prays before the decisive moments of his mission: before his Father's witness to him during his baptism and Transfiguration, and before his own fulfillment of the Father's plan of love by his Passion (Cf. Lk 3:21; 9:28; 22:41-44). He also prays before the decisive moments involving the mission of his apostles: at his election and call of the Twelve, before Peter's confession of him as "the Christ of God," and again that the faith of the chief of the Apostles may not fail when tempted (Cf. Lk 6:12; 9:18-20; 22:32). Jesus' prayer before the events of salvation that the Father has asked him to fulfill is a humble and trusting commitment of his human will to the loving will of the Father. 

2601 "He was praying in a certain place and when he had ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray"' (Lk 11:1). In seeing the Master at prayer the disciple of Christ also wants to pray. By contemplating and hearing the Son, the master of prayer, the children learn to pray to the Father. 

James Tissot, "Jesus went out into a Desert Place"
2602 Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night (Cf. Mk 1:35; 6:46; Lk 5:16). He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that "his brethren" experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them (Cf. Heb 2:12, 15; 4:15). It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret.

Tissot, "The Pharisee and the Publican"
2613 Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke: 

- The first, "the importunate friend" (Cf. Lk 11:5-13), 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" (Cf. Lk 18:1-8), 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" (Cf. Lk 18:9-14), 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! Lord have mercy!

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