Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sometimes the Answer is "No"

Prayer can be meditation, turning something over in my mind and looking at it from all angles; or formal praise and petition, like the Lord's Prayer. It can be an informal but respectful conversation with the Almighty.

Just knowing about prayer isn't enough. We need to do it. Prayer also needs to be tied to how we live, and how we live:
"He 'prays without ceasing' who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing."
(Origen, as quoted in Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2745)

Deciding Who's In Charge

Prayer doesn't make God do tricks for me. Reciting particular phrases and expecting results is superstition. Catholics aren't allowed to be superstitious, and that's another topic. (Catechism, 2111)

The idea isn't to 'make' God do what I want. Answered prayer starts with changing my heart and mind, so that I want what God wants. (Catechism, 2739)

"Conversation with the Almighty?"

The old joke is right, in a way: God is a great listener, but He doesn't say much.

Having a "conversation with the Almighty" doesn't mean that I think I hear God's Voice. I have never had a 'road to Damascus' experience like the one in Acts 9:3-11.

What I mean by "conversation" is deliberately forming ideas, and sometimes words, directed at God: the same way I'd direct words at any other person. Except that in this case the other Persons are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit: and that's yet another topic.

I don't expect God to "do tricks for me," but it's okay for me to ask for help or guidance.

Sometimes the answer is "no." As a young man, I was very attracted to a particular young woman. What I didn't know was whether or not I should marry her, so I asked God what I should do. A few days later she told me to keep looking around.

That isn't the quickest response I've had to prayer, but it was prompt: and disappointing in the short run.

In the long run, it helped put me on paths that led me to marrying someone else: and that has worked out very well indeed.

A very quick look at:
  • Prayer
  • "Prayer in Gethsemane"
    Pope Benedict XVI (February 1, 2012)
  • "General Audience"
    Pope Benedict XVI (November 30, 2011)
  • "The Lord's Prayer," 14 – 17
    (St. Cyprian, Treatises (3rd century))
  • The Lord's Prayer
    • Introduction
      (Catechism, 2759-2760)
    • "The summary of the whole Gospel"
      (Catechism, 2761)
    • At the center of Scriptures
      (Catechism, 2762-2764)
    • Overview
      (Catechism, 2765-2766)
    • The prayer of the Church
      (Catechism, 2767-2772)
    • "Our Father"
      (Catechism, 2777-2796)
    • The seven petitions
      (Catechism, 2803-2854)
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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.