A Year of Prayer
Submitted by Thomas Stidl
Our Holy Father has dedicated the year of 2024 to being a year of prayer. This was a wise choice. It will prepare us for the jubilee year, which is next year. What exactly is prayer? The Catholic Catechism of my youth defines prayer as the lifting of our hearts and minds to God. I can hear all the complaints and excuses over that last statement even before you read it!
Let’s be honest. There are many forms of prayer. The chances are that you are already deep in prayer. Through many articles that I have written, I have stressed prayers to saints, for the souls in purgatory, prayers to the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, prayers for the sick and elderly, and finally prayers for all the living. The Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Mass, Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s are beautiful examples of prayers.
Now, it is time to add contemplative prayer to that list of weapons we use in our day-to-day spiritual battles. Let’s make this as easy as possible. It begins in the morning when we wake up thanking God for this new day. We may say a short Act of Contrition followed by the Act of Spiritual Communion. This is our food for the journey through this day. Remember, there are no guarantees that we will see the end of the day. Next is a simple prayer that I learned in grammar school. Lord, grant that all the actions of this hour may be to thy honor and glory. We then go about performing our tasks in that hour keeping in mind that God has given us the strength to accomplish these tasks. We make these tasks a prayer when we have God constantly in our hearts and minds. When we finish the task we thank God that we were able to complete the work that He gave us.
When we start the next task, again we say that little prayer that all the actions of the new task will be to the Lord’s honor and glory, and at the end of that task we express thanks to God for everything that we accomplish. Continue this throughout your day including when you say your formula prayers such as the Rosary and grace before and after meals. You will reform your entire life basing that life on Almighty God. This is not just a Lenten observation or practice although you can begin this in Lent and continue this practice after Lent is complete. When you have reached the end of your day, examine your conscience, recite another Act of Contrition along with the Act of Spiritual Communion for food for the journey at night. Remember, there is no guarantee that you will see the next day. Why must we examine our conscience at night? We are all sinners. Even a soul with the best of intentions commits sin. The Bible tells us that even the righteous person sins at least seven times a day. Keeping these actions will cause a definite change in your life. It will also keep you from many of the evils that come from within and defile a human being. This is a remedy to the Gospel of Mark, chapter 7 verses 14-23 read on Wednesday, February 7, 2024.
You must always keep attending Sunday Mass and of course the Mass for the Holy Days of Obligation with the reception of Holy Communion. This is the summit of our faith, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. You must always care for all people along the path of life by performing the Corporal and Spiritual works of Mercy. When you care for others, you actually minister to Jesus. By keeping these religious works we avoid grievous or mortal sin and greatly reduce our inclinations to commit venial sins. We are also consoling Almighty God. Think of all the wretched evil in the world. Wouldn’t you like to be a humble consolation to the Lord and bring a smile to his Face?
It is my sincere hope that this article will touch many persons to follow this.
Until next time, Laus Tibi, Christe. Deo Gratias. Gloria Tibi Domini. Praise be to God. See you in Paradise. Amen.