From Father's Desk

Dear OLPH family,

Last week CrossRoads was in town and we discussed the blossoming of prayer and fasting into charity, or a life lived in generous service. For the upcoming weeks, I will present varied topics around  these  “Three Musketeers”  of spiritual practices:  prayer, fasting and almsgiving or charity . Together, they form a solid bedrock upon which to build our home of Christian holiness. Today, we focus on  prayer .

Prayer is simply the raising of one's mind and heart to God ( Catechism of the Catholic Church  (CCC) n.2590.) Prayer takes many forms: praise, adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving ( PAPIT  - to help us remember).

Praise  recognizes that God is indeed GOD. “Oh God you are my God, for you I long!” (Ps 63).

Adoration  is the fundamental attitude of the creature before our Creator. When we sing “Holy holy holy, Lord God of hosts” we are adoring!

Petition  are those requests we make on our own behalf: “Lord, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine,” or “Jesus, I do believe, help my unbelief,” or “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, say but a word and my soul shall be healed.” CCC n. 2633  “When we share in God's saving love, we understand that  every need  can become the object of petition.

Intercession  are those prayers we utter for others and for the world, for the forgotten ones, for those who suffer. Jesus prays “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” and “Father, may they be one as we are one!” Those are awesome intercessory prayers.

Thanksgiving  is easy to do, but also easy to forget. Just as in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. “We give thanks to you O God as we call upon your name.” (Ps 75) Thanksgiving is deeply connected to Eucharist (which means giving thanks!)

Try to pray with all five types of prayer each day. Try and “PAPIT” daily ;).

I would like to share with you one specific prayer found in Scripture. It is a basic and elemental Christian prayer. We encounter it on the lips of many people who meet Jesus; for that reason it is called  the Jesus Prayer : “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me!” This simple sentence contains a deep and rich spirituality prevalent in the eastern churches. Here’s how it works: with the words “Lord Jesus Christ” - breathe in; with the words “have mercy on me” - breathe out. Rhythmic. Constant. Monks trained themselves to utter these words with each breath and to make it the “prayer of the heart.” For many, this simple phrase is the answer to the call to pray constantly from the heart. Try it. Take 5 or 10 or 15 minutes. Sit in a quiet place and slowly recite with your breathing these holy and meditative words. It's great.

The Jesus Prayer takes many forms. From “Jesus, mercy!” to the more elaborate “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Each variant depends on the individual Christian. We hear a strong echo in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” This utterance revealed to Saint Faustina is not unrelated to the Jesus Prayer. Whereas the Jesus Prayer is typically considered a petition, the Chaplet is both petition and intercession.

I hope you look forward to the next installment in the series… I look forward to sharing the treasure of our faith with you.

May God bless you and may Our Lady of Perpetual Help wrap you in her loving mantel