Our Prayer Life...Embracing both Trials & Joy!
“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” [St Therese of Lisieux] It is “…the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” [St. John Damascene]
Prayer plays a critical role in the life of a Catholic Christian. It is our means of communication with the God whom we love and serve. So for us prayer is not a chore, but a Joy! Just as we desire to talk with someone in whom we are interested or love, and want to strengthen our relationship, so prayer is an essential element of our relationship with God. It is the connection we have with our God that allows us to speak, listen and respond.
An active prayer life is vital to deepening our personal relationship with the living and true God. This is essential to sustaining our faith Journey and living the Christian life! As humans we know that there will be times when we will struggle or even give into temptation - fail and fall. Prayer puts us back on track. It is through prayer that we encounter our merciful God who is ready to forgive and welcome us back to Him.
As Catholics we are called to pray, and so we do! We pray silently or aloud. We pray as individuals or in community. The important thing is to pray! Our prayers should include family, friends and foes. Every joy and suffering, every occasion, decision and need should become a reason for prayer and thanksgiving. Prayer allows us to encounter God in every experience and learn how to trust and surrender to His will.
Forms of Catholic Prayer
God is always with us! This is why prayer is so important and the Church teaches us to pray often and in many different ways. The Holy Spirit, who teaches the Church and reminds us of all that Jesus said, also instructs us in our life of prayer. If we just call upon Him, everyday we can be inspired to raise our hearts and minds to God and express ourselves through the different forms of prayer. Sometimes we just want to bless or adore God (prayer of blessing and adoration). Other times we ask God for something for ourselves (prayer of petition). At times we pray for the needs of others (prayer of intercession); but always we should thank God in prayer (prayer of thanksgiving); and give Him praise (prayer of praise).
”Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” [1 Thess 5:16-18].
"Could you not watch one hour with Me?”[Matt 26:40] God calls each of us to an intimate and personal encounter and relationship with Him. At Stella Maris we have a beautiful Adoration Chapel where Jesus waits for us in the Blessed Sacrament. It is here that He waits for our little acts of faith, adoration, love, thanksgiving, repentance, reparation and charity that we offer Him as we contemplate His Divine Majesty in the Blessed Sacrament.
At its simplest…Eucharistic Adoration is honouring the Eucharistic Presence of Christ. In a deeper sense, it involves "the contemplation of the Mystery of Christ truly present before us". In its fullest essence…Eucharistic Adoration is "God and Man reaching out for each other, at the same time!"
During Eucharistic Adoration, we "watch and wait”. We remain "silent" in His Presence and open ourselves up to His graces which flow from the Eucharist. When we adore the Eucharistic Jesus, we become what God wants us to be - more like Him! The Lord draws us to Himself, we open our hearts to Him and He quietly and gently transforms us. We allow ourselves to be still so that we may know He is God.
The Holy Rosary
As Catholics we pray the rosary to experience a conection with Jesus and our Mother Mary as inspired through scripture. It is through Mary and her example of “perfect” obedience and trust - by saying “yes” to God - that we have our Lord Jesus Christ; and the gift of His salvation.
As we pray the Rosary, we meditate on the mysteries of the joy, sorrow and glory of God’s magnificent plan for our salvation through His Son Jesus and mother Mary. Through the Hail Mary, we ask her to pray for us (as we would ask any other loved one). As our Mother, she unites her prayers to ours and takes them to her Son who is Jesus our Saviour. We see this at the wedding at Cana [Jn 2:1-12].
The rosary is a vocal, meditative and contemplative prayer. Its repetition leads us to meditate and contemplate the mysteries of Jesus within the silence of our hearts. In the Catechism: ”Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. 'I look at him and he looks at me’” - with the goal being a greater love for Jesus and complete union with God.
We say the Rosary as a powerful weapon against evil that will bring us to true peace. Our prayers are geared for the conversion of self and others to God's word.
After Jesus ascended to Heaven, Mary, the Apostles, and other devoted disciples prayed constantly for nine days until the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday [Acts 1:4, 5]. The persistence of the Christ's followers and His mother to wait for the promise ended in fulfillment. As Catholics we look to this example of faith and trust in Christ Jesus, and from it, derived the practice of praying nine-day Novenas. A novena is a nine-day period of private or public prayer to obtain special graces, to implore special favors, or to make special petitions.
Trust God! When we pray novenas, we say the prayers with faith in God and hope that He will give us the right answer. A Novena is never prayed with the intention of manipulating God into an answer. It is not a “supernatural formula” that will address all our desires, needs and wants. There are clear spiritual benefits to be derived from praying a Novena and learning how to accept God's plan for our lives.
Chaplet of Divine Mercy
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” [Matthew 5:7] The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, is a Christian devotion to Jesus “The Divine Mercy”. This devotion, is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, who was a poorly educated Polish nun (1905–1938). As a Roman Catholic devotion, the chaplet is often said as a rosary-based prayer with the same set of beads used for reciting the Rosary.
The message of The Divine Mercy is simple: God loves us – all of us, and he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with complete trust; and ask Him for His mercy. We are commanded to be merciful to others the way God is merciful to us.
Saint Faustina wrote that Jesus said: "....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior.”