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Remember to thank God when you pray! June 26, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Roman Catechism, Tradition, Virtue.
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It’s easy to get into the habit of just making a list of demands to God when we pray.  I have been in that mode personally in the past.  The Roman Catechism makes the following salutary recommendations regarding prayer:

It is His Will that, before we pray to be delivered from evil, we ask that the name of God be sanctified, that His Kingdom come, and that we give thanks for all the salutary benefits which He has so lovingly bestowed on us.  Yet there are those who, if there head or foot ache, or if they suffer loss of property, or if menaces or dangers threaten them……they omit all thought of thanks or glorifying God and ask only to be delivered from these evils. This practis is at variance with the command of Christ the Lord: Seek first the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33).   To pray, therefore, as we ought, we should have in view the greater glory of God, even when we ask deliverance from calamities, trials, and dangers.

We must keep in mind that there are some things which we commonly pray God to alleviate, but which are actually to our spiritual or even temporal advantage.  Such was the sting of the flesh to which the Apostle Paul was subjected in order that, by the aid of Divine Grace, power might be perfected in infirmity (2 Cor 12:17).  When the pious man learns the salutary influences of such things, far from praying for their removal, he rejoices in them exceedingly. We pray, therefore, against those evils only, which do not conduce to our spiritual interests; not against such as are profitable for our salvation.  [This is a hard one, and requires good spiritual guidance to discern.  There may be times when we have some temptation or problem that seems to us most onerous, but suffering through it is to our immense spiritual advantage.  As such, we should pray for the removal of all true imperfections, attachments, and definitely sins or tendencies towards sin, but for many other burdensome things we can pray that God remove them, but if He does not, we should accept them as His Will and suffer through them as joyfully as we can, rendering thanks to God for the opportunity to grow in virtue and Grace.  This is an easy thing to say, but can be quite difficult in practice.]

One of our primary prayers should be that God would remove all occasions of sin and iniquity.  We do not, however, pray to be delivered from these things which all look upon as evils, but also from those things which almost all consider to be good, such as riches, honors, health, strength, and even life itself; that is, we ask that these things not be detrimental or ruinous to the soul’s welfare.

We also beg God that we be not cut off by sudden death; that we provoke not His anger against us; that we be not condemned to suffer the punishments reserved for the wicked; that we be not sentenced to endure the fire of Purgatory, from which we piously and devoutly implore that others may be liberated.

The Blessed who reign with God in Heaven have been delivered by the Divine Assistance from all evil; but, as for us, although the Almighty delivers us from some evils, it is not His Will that, while journeying in this, our mortal pilgrimage, we should be entirely exempt from all.  [For, we must suffer in this life, we pray, as opposed to the next.]

[A final note……….] According to the interpretation of St. Basil the Great, St. Chrysostom, and St. Augustine, the devil is specially called the evil one, because he was the author of man’s transgression, that is, of his sin and iniquity, and also because God makes use of him as an instrument to chastise sinful and impious men.  For the evils which mankind endures in punishment of sin are appointed by God; and this is the meaning of these words of Holy Writ: Shall there be evil in a city which the Lord hath not done? (Amos 3:6), and I am the Lord and there is none else; I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil (Is 45:7).

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Just some thoughts on prayer, and deliverance from various “evils,” from Catholic thought of, say, a century ago.  All still applies today, although some may not like to think that, especially the final bit.

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