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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Mystery of Prayer

My devotional life is about to turn its focus to prayer in the Christian life. I am looking forward to this new theme now having looked at the Commandments. Prayer is celebrated in the sacramental liturgy of the Church and brought to the life of the faithful so that we might become conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to give glory to God our Father. Prayer is something Christians believe in. It is what we do and celebrate. It is our prayer that we live from that gives expression to that living union we have with Jesus Christ our Lord. What is prayer? St. Therese of Liseiux describes prayer like this:
For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.
This definition does get at the heart of prayer. What is so mysterious about this definition is the recognition of love that embraces both trial and joy. That gets at the heart of the mystery of prayer in the Christian's life. I will periodically offer some reflections for those who read here that will hopefully encourage us all. Today I offer a prayer for the Church from the heart of Lancelot Andrewes' Preces Privatae.
For the Catholic Church: for the churches throughout the world: their truth, unity and stability, to wit: in all let charity thrive, truth live: for our own church: that the things that are wanting therein be supplied, that are not right be set in order. That all heresies, schisms, scandals, as well public as private, be put out of the way: correct the erring, convert the unbelieving, increase the faith of thy church, destroy heresies, expose crafty enemies, crush violent enemies....Amen.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

Societas Sanctae Crucis

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