Viewpoint XXIV

The Church teaches: “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God (thanking him) or requesting good things from him.” When we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or “out of the depths” of a humble and contrite heart? ‘He who humbles himself will be exalted’; humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought” are we ready to receive freely the gift (or understanding) of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God.”

We all have used the expression “Thank God” for one reason or
another. We usually thank people for good things they do on our behalf or for the good they do by adding to the “greater-good.” We have never known anyone thanking God for the evil they do or someone else does. Being happy with someone elces evil act is called schadenfreude. It is the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another. Schadenfreude is a complex emotion where rather than feeling sympathy, one takes pleasure from someone elces misfortune. Many people experience schadenfreude, but generally conceal it.

Prayer as covenant

2562 “Where does prayer come from? Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole person who prays. In naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain”.

If you pray, love, or have feelings of the-good, reasonable people are able to make a “grace” generated “heart” connection. People don’t pray with their brain, but the brain must think to pray with the heart (not by all). Could it be only believers have a heart? Think– What good would it do for a brainiac to pray to physics or chemistry. “Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable
explanations” (Wikipedia). Science has little to do with spiritual out-reach, the “metaphysics” of believers. Most science is earthbound, though its subject matter need not be. Scientists like believers involve themselves in things they hope to know, the former by repeated experiment, the latter by faith in the Spirit of God in their “hearts”.

2563 According to the Catechism, “The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason, and of others(but reasonable.) Only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as an image of God we live in a relationship with him: it is the place of covenant”. In this regard the Sacred Heart of Jesus makes sense.

2564 Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and human beings in Christ. It is the action of God and of humanity, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.

Prayer as communion

2565 “In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Kingdom is “the union of the entire Holy Trinity . . . with the whole human spirit.” Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him. This communion of life is always possible because, through Baptism, we have already been united with Christ. Prayer is Christian insofar as it is communion with Christ and extends throughout the Church, which is his Body. Its dimensions are those of Christ’s love”.

It is important to know when we say: “Thank you Lord” we are praying to God the Father, because of, and along with Jesus, in the Spirit (from the heart). It is the Father whom Jesus addresses, and it is in the Spirit, through Jesus in the Father, our prayers are heard. Are they answered? Always, but not necessarily as we would have it.





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