Sunday, June 26, 2005

Many Ways to Pray


More from the "I Like Being Catholic" book. There's a chapter called "Favorite Prayers, Traditions and Rituals" that, just like the site in my recent Power of Prayer post, grabbed my attention. Some prayers are long, other are simple. (Like a student putting JMJ at the top of a piece of paper....I had forgotten about that!) What really spoke to me was an essay by the book's authors, Micheal Leach and Therese J. Borchard, called "The Varieties of Catholic Prayer."
A Sioux woman fingers the beads of her rosary at the back of a church in South Dakota.

A Wall Street banker sits on a bench in Battery Park, watching the parade of people, and contemplating the Christ who lives in each and all of them.

Fifteen Trappist monks chant as one in a chapel in Kentucky while outside the roosters still sleep.

A single mother in Chicago nurses her baby and asks God to help her forgive the man who abandoned them.

A teenager in Sacramento puts down his homework to realize again the love he has for his grandmother, who died of Alzheimer's disease.

A priest in Puerto Rico holds out a wafer and whispers, "Maria, el Cuerpo de Cristo." His parishioner says "Amen," and receives the bred of life on the pillow of her tongue.

A mother in Colorado Springs cooks dinner for her family of five, thinks of St. Therese's saying that "God is found among the pots and pans," and offers her work to God for those who are lonely.

Ten million people from every part of the earth, all at the same time, say "Thank you, God!" without hearing the harmony with their brothers and sisters, but knowing the joy that comes from the prayer of gratitude.

Twenty million people tell God they're sorry and promist to change their lives. Many of them hear God speak in their souls, "Your sins are as white as snow!" and they know peace, assurance, and love such as they've never known before.

One hundred million people tell someone, "Thank you," or "I'm sorry," or "I love you..." all at the same time. Right now. Here and now.
Beautiful.

What are some of your favorite ways to pray?

2 Comments:

At 10:59 PM, June 26, 2005, Blogger leonora afuyog said...

Actually prayer is still very new to me. This year has been a turning point, an awakening of sorts. The article took me back to a conversation I had with my cousin when I visited him in Rome. I've never really been a religious person, and though my cousin was a deacon and would soon be priest the topic of my religious practices and beliefs were never brought up. At that time in my life it was pretty non-existent. Not only was I a non-practicing Catholic, but I was also at best an absent Episcopalian too. Sure I believed in God, but that was about it. So my cousin showed me around Rome and we walked the old appian way, and we talked about family, friends and his upcoming ordination, and then we ran out of things to talk about, but we still had a bottle of wine to finish... and the next thing you know I brought up religion and my non-practicing ways. He asked if I prayed. I told him I can go through the motions, and that I had been doing that since I was a kid and felt nothing, so I stopped even going through the motions. Now I've always attached prayer with need, and despair, and since I never really found myself in either situation I felt I never needed to pray. The look of concern grew on my cousin's face. He then framed it so simply, "Have you ever seen a painting or piece of art so beautiful, that you thanked God for that.?" I nodded and said "Yes of course. I say that all the time I see the beauty in anything and everything." He responded, "Well that's a prayer." Then something clicked and a door that I thought was closed to me opened up. Wow! Now I'm looking back at the prayers I would go through by rote and I'm seeing and feeling them differently. So to answer your question after such a long winded example, my favorite way to pray is when it comes out spontaneously.

 
At 4:00 AM, June 27, 2005, Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Booboo, I went through a similar experience years ago. I think it is very common, actually.

Favorite ways to pray? For me, it's a conversation with someone who knows me better than I know myself. When I am settled-down enough inside to pay attention to my feelings, and then reflect on those feelings, I find myself conversing with God. Most times it's simple stuff - Why God? Thank you God; Yes, I know, God.

At Mass, my all-time favorite prayer is "Lord, I am not worthy, but only say the word and I shall be healed." The Centurian's prayer/response. It encapsualtes an awful lot of my personal theology.

And prayer is in music, sometimes in a very powerful way. Yesterday at Mass we sung 'The Servant Song'. Instead of singing (which I almost always do), I simply listened. What a great prayer...

Most every day I pray via the Sacred Space web site too.

 

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