Thursday, October 15, 2015


I am part of a worldwide group of folks reading through both the Gospels in a year and the abbreviated YOUCAT version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. YOUCAT explains Church teaching in a bit more detail than the full Catechism, and has been used in RCIA classes and youth group study. This morning's piece from YOUCAT is about prayer, and I wanted to share it here.

Why should we petition God? (Part II)
What do Christians express by prayer postures? Christians bring their life before God through the language of the body: They cast themselves down before God. They fold their hands in prayer or stretch them out (the Orante position). They genuflect (bend the knee) or kneel before the All-Holy God. They listen to the Gospel while standing. They meditate while seated.
Standing in the presence of God expresses reverence (you stand up when a superior enters) and also vigilance and readiness (you are ready to set out on a journey immediately). If at the same time the hands are outstretched in praise of God (the Orante position), the person praying assumes the original gesture of praise.
While sitting in God's presence, the Christian listens to what is happening interiorly; he ponders the Word in his heart (Lk 2:51) and meditates on it.
By kneeling, a person makes himself small in the presence of God's greatness. He recognizes his dependence on God's grace.
By prostrating himself, a person adores God.
By folding the hands, a person overcomes distraction, "recollects himself" (gathers his thoughts) and unites himself to God. Folded hands are also the original gesture of petition.

Why should we petition God for other people?
As Abraham intervened by his prayer for the inhabitants of Sodom, as Jesus prayed for his disciples, and as the early Christian community looked "not only to [their] own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil 2:4), so too Christians always pray for everyonefor people who are dear to their hearts, for people who are not close to them, and even for their enemies. The more a person learns to pray, the more profoundly he realizes that he has ties to a spiritual family through which the power of prayer is made effective. With all my concern for the people whom I love, I stand in the midst of the family of mankind and may receive strength from the prayers of others and may call down divine assistance for others. (YOUCAT questions 486-487)

LORD, You always give me more to think about, especially when I think I've got a particular aspect of my spiritual life all worked out. Thank You for loving me; thank You for leading me to be a better, stronger man of God; thank You for showing me how to love.


No comments: