Sunday, May 20, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 473 – Part I.


YOUCAT Question n. 473 - Part I. How are the Psalms important for our prayer?


(Youcat answer) The Psalms, along with the Our Father, are part of the Church’s great treasury of prayers. In them the praise of God is sung in an ageless way.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2585) From the time of David to the coming of the Messiah texts appearing in these sacred books show a deepening in prayer for oneself and in prayer for others (Ezra 9:6-15; Neh 1:4-11; Jon 2:3-10; Tob 3:11-16; Jdt 9:2-14). Thus the psalms were gradually collected into the five books of the Psalter (or "Praises"), the masterwork of prayer in the Old Testament.

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) There are 150 Psalms in the Old Testament. They are a collection of songs and prayers, some of them several thousand years old, which are still prayed today in the Church community - in the socalled Liturgy of the Hours. The Psalms are among the most beautiful texts in world literature and move even modern readers immediately by their spiritual power.  

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2586) The Psalms both nourished and expressed the prayer of the People of God gathered during the great feasts at Jerusalem and each Sabbath in the synagogues. Their prayer is inseparably personal and communal; it concerns both those who are praying and all men. The Psalms arose from the communities of the Holy Land and the Diaspora, but embrace all creation. Their prayer recalls the saving events of the past, yet extends into the future, even to the end of history; it commemorates the promises God has already kept, and awaits the Messiah who will fulfill them definitively. Prayed by Christ and fulfilled in him, the Psalms remain essential to the prayer of the Church (Cf. GILH, nn. 100-109).     

(This question: How are the Psalms important for our prayer? is continued)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 472 – Part II.


YOUCAT Question n. 472 - Part II. How did Moses pray?


(Youcat answer - repeated) From Moses we learn that “praying” means “speaking with God”. At the burning bush God entered into a real conversation with Moses and gave him an assignment. Moses raised objections and asked questions. Finally God revealed to him his holy name. Just as Moses then came to trust God and enlisted wholeheartedly in his service, so we too should pray and thus go to God’s school.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2576) "Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend" (Ex 33:11). Moses' prayer is characteristic of contemplative prayer by which God's servant remains faithful to his mission. Moses converses with God often and at length, climbing the mountain to hear and entreat him and coming down to the people to repeat the words of his God for their guidance. Moses "is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly, not in riddles," for "Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth" (Num 12:3,7-8).

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) The Bible mentions Moses’ name 767 times — so central is he as the liberator and lawgiver of the people of Israel. At the same time Moses was also a great intercessor for his people. In prayer he received his commission; from prayer he drew his strength. Moses had an intimate, personal relationship with God: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex 33:11a). Before Moses acted or instructed the people, he withdrew to the mountain to pray. Thus he is the original example of contemplative prayer.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2577) From this intimacy with the faithful God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Cf. Ex 34:6), Moses drew strength and determination for his intercession. He does not pray for himself but for the people whom God made his own. Moses already intercedes for them during the battle with the Amalekites and prays to obtain healing for Miriam (Cf. Ex 17:8-12; Num 12:13-14). But it is chiefly after their apostasy that Moses "stands in the breach" before God in order to save the people (Ps 106:23; cf. Ex 32:1-34:9). The arguments of his prayer - for intercession is also a mysterious battle - will inspire the boldness of the great intercessors among the Jewish people and in the Church: God is love; he is therefore righteous and faithful; he cannot contradict himself; he must remember his marvellous deeds, since his glory is at stake, and he cannot forsake this people that bears his name.     

(The next question is: How are the Psalms important for our prayer?)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 472 – Part I.


YOUCAT Question n. 472 - Part I. How did Moses pray?


(Youcat answer) From Moses we learn that “praying” means “speaking with God”. At the burning bush God entered into a real conversation with Moses and gave him an assignment. Moses raised objections and asked questions. Finally God revealed to him his holy name. Just as Moses then came to trust God and enlisted wholeheartedly in his service, so we too should pray and thus go to God’s school.  

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2574) Once the promise begins to be fulfilled (Passover, the Exodus, the gift of the Law, and the ratification of the covenant), the prayer of Moses becomes the most striking example of intercessory prayer, which will be fulfilled in "the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5).   

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) The Bible mentions Moses’ name 767 times — so central is he as the liberator and lawgiver of the people of Israel. At the same time Moses was also a great intercessor for his people. In prayer he received his commission; from prayer he drew his strength. Moses had an intimate, personal relationship with God: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex 33:11a). Before Moses acted or instructed the people, he withdrew to the mountain to pray. Thus he is the original example of contemplative prayer.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2575) Here again the initiative is God's. From the midst of the burning bush he calls Moses (Ex 3:1-10). This event will remain one of the primordial images of prayer in the spiritual tradition of Jews and Christians alike. When "the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob" calls Moses to be his servant, it is because he is the living God who wants men to live. God reveals himself in order to save them, though he does not do this alone or despite them: he calls Moses to be his messenger, an associate in his compassion, his work of salvation. There is something of a divine plea in this mission, and only after long debate does Moses attune his own will to that of the Savior God. But in the dialogue in which God confides in him, Moses also learns how to pray: he balks, makes excuses, above all questions: and it is in response to his question that the Lord confides his ineffable name, which will be revealed through his mighty deeds.     

(This question: How did Moses pray? is continued)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 471 – Part II.


YOUCAT Question n. 471 - Part II. Why is Abraham a model of prayer?


(Youcat answer - repeated) Abraham listened to God. He was willing to set out for wherever God commanded and to do what God willed. By his listening and his readiness to make a new start, he is a model for our prayer.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2570 a) When God calls him, Abraham goes forth "as the Lord had told him" (Gen 12:4); Abraham's heart is entirely submissive to the Word and so he obeys. Such attentiveness of the heart, whose decisions are made according to God's will, is essential to prayer, while the words used count only in relation to it.   

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) Not many prayers of Abraham have been handed down. But wherever he went, he set up altars, places of prayer, to God. And so along the journey of his life he had many sorts of experiences with God, including some that tried and unsettled him. When Abraham saw that God was going to destroy the sinful city of Sodom, he pleaded for it. He even wrestled stubbornly with God. His plea for Sodom is the first great intercessory prayer in the history of the People of God.

 (CCC Comment)

(CCC 2570 b) Abraham's prayer is expressed first by deeds: a man of silence, he constructs an altar to the Lord at each stage of his journey. Only later does Abraham's first prayer in words appear: a veiled complaint reminding God of his promises which seem unfulfilled (Cf. Gen 15:2 f). Thus one aspect of the drama of prayer appears from the beginning: the test of faith in the fidelity of God.  

(The next question is:  How did Moses pray?)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 471 – Part I.


YOUCAT Question n. 471 - Part I. Why is Abraham a model of prayer?


(Youcat answer) Abraham listened to God. He was willing to set out for wherever God commanded and to do what God willed. By his listening and his readiness to make a new start, he is a model for our prayer.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2592) The prayer of Abraham and Jacob is presented as a battle of faith marked by trust in God's faithfulness and by certitude in the victory promised to perseverance. (CCC 2569 b) This kind of prayer is lived by many righteous people in all religions. In his indefectible covenant with every living creature (Gen 9:8-16). God has always called people to prayer. But it is above all beginning with our father Abraham that prayer is revealed in the Old Testament.    

  Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) Not many prayers of Abraham have been handed down. But wherever he went, he set up altars, places of prayer, to God. And so along the journey of his life he had many sorts of experiences with God, including some that tried and unsettled him. When Abraham saw that God was going to destroy the sinful city of Sodom, he pleaded for it. He even wrestled stubbornly with God. His plea for Sodom is the first great intercessory prayer in the history of the People of God.

 (CCC Comment)

(CCC 2569 a) Prayer is lived in the first place beginning with the realities of creation. The first nine chapters of Genesis describe this relationship with God as an offering of the first-born of Abel's flock, as the invocation of the divine name at the time of Enosh, and as “walking with God” (Cf. Gen 4:4, 26; Gen 5:24). Noah's offering is pleasing to God, who blesses him and through him all creation, because his heart was upright and undivided; Noah, like Enoch before him, "walks with God" (Gen 6:9; 8:20- 9:17).     

(This question: Why is Abraham a model of prayer? is continued)