Monday, February 17, 2020

You Pray a Lot More Than You Think

O Lord, in the multitude of Thy mercies, I will enter into Thy house, and worship Thee in Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name.

It is our duty, as Catholics, to pray. We all know that. Prayer is the nourishment of our souls in between visits to Mass and the reception of the Sacraments. Most of us have periods where we demonstrate more fidelity to our prayer life than other times. That is human nature and it happens to all of us. 

There are two kinds of prayer: mental and vocal. Most people think that reciting the "Our Father" or the "Glory Be" in your head, without making a noise, is the extent of "mental" prayer, but they are mistaken. Mental prayer encompasses a lot more than that, and because it does, most of us pray a lot more than we think. 

Excerpt from Blessed Be God

[mental prayer] consists of in thought only, as when we think reverently of God, of His eternity, immensity, power, goodness, mercy, and the like; or whenever our mind dwells with pious reflection on divine things, such as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments, the Blessed Virgin or the saints, the future state of souls, heaven, purgatory, and the life to come. 

The contemplation of God, of His attributes, or of any divine truths, which arouses pious affections or good resolutions, comes under the head of mental prayer. As we can reflect in our own way and with sentiments of love on the persons of our friends and relatives who are far away, as we can think of their qualities of mind and soul, of all they have done or been to us, so in our minds alone, without the use of words, we can think affectionately and interestedly of God and of divine truths; and that is what is meant by mental prayer.

No special method or system is required for this act of religion. Neither it is necessary to single out for our meditation any particular divine subject. Rather we should dwell on those mysteries which appeal to us most, and from contemplation of which we derive most spiritual fruit. Doubtless the life of our divine Saviour is the most attractive and fruitful subject of our pious thoughts, since it is the easiest to dwell on and the most universal in its appeal.

So there you go. Contemplation of God, of the Mass, of the Sacraments, of Catholicism and its mysteries is a form of mental prayer. You are demonstrating more fidelity to your prayer responsibilities than you thought.