Prayer

“There is a rich tradition within the Catholic Church of prayer. Prayer is at the heart of Catholic life as we seek to listen to God, speak with God and become aware of God’s presence in our life.

St Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) wrote:

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
it is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy
.

Some revered and ancient practices and their more contemporary expression include:

  • The Liturgy of the Hours (also called “The Divine Office”) is the daily prayer of the Universal Church sanctifying the hours of our day. Through this Liturgy we join with Jesus in his prayer to God. The Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours constitute the formal, public prayer of the Church.  The Liturgy of the Hours originated in monastic communities of women and men, as they prayed (often sang or chanted) the Psalms, readings and prayers that compose the Liturgy.

    • The Bishops at the Second Vatican Council encouraged all the baptised to gather and pray the Hours: When the baptised pray the Liturgy of the Hours, they are “not only performing a duty for the Church, they are also sharing in what is the greatest honor for Christ's Bride: for by offering these praises to God they are standing before God's throne in the name of the Church…” (SSC, #85)

    • The parish will seek to find ways to pray the Hours at certain times of the Liturgical year.

    • The prayers for each Hour can be found here and here.

    • An overview of the Liturgy of the Hours is found here.

  • Lectio Divina is an ancient monastic prayer practice which can be prayed alone or with others. The explanation here offers the background and approach for praying in the spirit of Lectio Divina.

    • Pray-as-you-go is a prayerful podcast (c 10-13 mins) in the spirit of Lectio Divina on one of the Scripture readings for the daily celebration of the Eucharist.​

    • 'Sacred Space' is an online site for quiet, meditative prayer in the spirit of Lectio Divina, with the help of scripture chosen for every day of the week (including Sunday) and on-screen guidance.

  • Catholikes is a very accessible and fine prayerful resource, inspired by Pope Francis’ encouragement, for spending a few minutes each day reading and reflecting on a passage from the Gospel. This site also offers other helpful prayer resources.

  • The Examen of Consciousness or the Awareness Prayer is a form of daily prayer from the “Spiritual Exercises” of St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556). Fr Dennis Hamm SJ offers a helpful overview and simple guide for praying the Examen.  He calls his guide “Rummaging for God: Praying Backward through your Day”. A spiritually rich website that focuses on Ignatian spirituality and the Examen is IgnatianSpirituality.com.

  • The Rosary is a meditative form of prayer recitation drawn from the Gospels that focuses on the various mysteries of the life of Jesus. It has a long and complex history.  A knotted prayer rope, still used today by Eastern Christians, helped the desert fathers in the Third Century to pray the Jesus Prayer and the Our Father. However, it was not until the 16th century that the “Hail Mary” was added to the prayer form and the expression “Rosary” first used to refer to the prayer beads.

    • The Rosary, popularised by the Dominicans, enabled the peasant and illiterate laity simultaneously to imitate the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours with its 150 Psalms taking place in Monastic Communities. Many pious accretions and litanies have been added to the Rosary over the decades.

    • A helpful overview for praying the Rosary is offered by the US Catholic bishops who also suggest other forms of Rosary prayer.

    • In 2002, Pope John Paul II added the “Luminous Mysteries” (“Mysteries of Light”) to the Rosary.

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456 Henley Beach Road, Lockleys South Australia 5032, Australia

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