Understanding Our Faith

Being Faithful to Prayer

“These (the first Christians) remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts of the Apostles 2:42).

This quotation has been the basis for the content of this segment of the Parish Blog over the last three weeks.  This week we look at the fourth of those pillars of the faith to which we are called to be faithful. 

Without the dimension of prayer, the other three pillars can’t really take place in us.  Prayer is like an atmosphere, within which we take the teaching of the apostles (the gospels) in to ourselves, in which the gathering of believers takes place and in which we celebrate the breaking of the bread (the Eucharist). 

Prayer is the opening up of a space within us into which God can come explicitly.  It is an opening of our hearts and minds to God.  Or we could say that it is a lifting up of our hearts to God.  This is the invitation the priest addresses to us at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer.  The priest says: “Lift up your hearts” and the assembly replies “We lift them up to the Lord”.  We raise our hearts and minds up to God.

This is also implied in the frequent use of “The Lord be with you” with its reply “And with your spirit”, in the course of the liturgy.  This greeting occurs four times throughout the liturgy and each time it is at a significant moment of the liturgy: at the beginning of Mass, before we listen to the gospel, at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer and at the end of Mass when we are about to go forth ‘to love and serve the Lord’.  But in all of our life, we know we need the Lord to be with us.  Each of these greetings is an invitation to open ourselves up to the Lord who is with us in the liturgy and remains with us when we go forth to be his witnesses.

By Fr Frank O’Loughlin

 

Faith Reflections

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