Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 473 – Part III.


YOUCAT Question n. 473 - Part III. How are the Psalms important for our prayer?


(Youcat answer - repeated) The Psalms, along with the Our Father, are part of the Church’s great treasury of prayers. In them the praise of God is sung in an ageless way.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2589 a) Certain constant characteristics appear throughout the Psalms: simplicity and spontaneity of prayer; the desire for God himself through and with all that is good in his creation; the distraught situation of the believer who, in his preferential love for the Lord, is exposed to a host of enemies and temptations, but who waits upon what the faithful God will do, in the certitude of his love and in submission to his will. The prayer of the psalms is always sustained by praise; that is why the title of this collection as handed down to us is so fitting: "The Praises." Collected for the assembly's worship, the Psalter both sounds the call to prayer and sings the response to that call: Hallelu-Yah! (“Alleluia"), "Praise the Lord!"

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) There are 150 Psalms in the Old Testament. They are a collection of songs and prayers, some of them several thousand years old, which are still prayed today in the Church community - in the socalled Liturgy of the Hours. The Psalms are among the most beautiful texts in world literature and move even modern readers immediately by their spiritual power.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2589 b) What is more pleasing than a psalm? David expresses it well: "Praise the Lord, for a psalm is good: let there be praise of our God with gladness and grace!" Yes, a psalm is a blessing on the lips of the people, praise of God, the assembly's homage, a general acclamation, a word that speaks for all, the voice of the Church, a confession of faith in song (St. Ambrose, In Psalmum 1 enarratio, 1, 9: PL 14, 924; LH, Saturday, wk 10, OR).

(This question: How are the Psalms important for our prayer? is continued)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 473 – Part II.


YOUCAT Question n. 473 - Part II. How are the Psalms important for our prayer?


(Youcat answer - repeated) The Psalms, along with the Our Father, are part of the Church’s great treasury of prayers. In them the praise of God is sung in an ageless way.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2587) The Psalter is the book in which the Word of God becomes man's prayer. In other books of the Old Testament, "the words proclaim [God's] works and bring to light the mystery they contain" (DV 2). The words of the Psalmist, sung for God, both express and acclaim the Lord's saving works; the same Spirit inspires both God's work and man's response. Christ will unite the two. In him, the psalms continue to teach us how to pray.      

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) There are 150 Psalms in the Old Testament. They are a collection of songs and prayers, some of them several thousand years old, which are still prayed today in the Church community - in the socalled Liturgy of the Hours. The Psalms are among the most beautiful texts in world literature and move even modern readers immediately by their spiritual power.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2588) The Psalter's many forms of prayer take shape both in the liturgy of the Temple and in the human heart. Whether hymns or prayers of lamentation or thanksgiving, whether individual or communal, whether royal chants, songs of pilgrimage or wisdom meditations, the Psalms are a mirror of God's marvelous deeds in the history of his people, as well as reflections of the human experiences of the Psalmist. Though a given psalm may reflect an event of the past, it still possesses such direct simplicity that it can be prayed in truth by men of all times and conditions.

(This question: How are the Psalms important for our prayer? is continued)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 473 – Part I.


YOUCAT Question n. 473 - Part I. How are the Psalms important for our prayer?


(Youcat answer) The Psalms, along with the Our Father, are part of the Church’s great treasury of prayers. In them the praise of God is sung in an ageless way.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2585) From the time of David to the coming of the Messiah texts appearing in these sacred books show a deepening in prayer for oneself and in prayer for others (Ezra 9:6-15; Neh 1:4-11; Jon 2:3-10; Tob 3:11-16; Jdt 9:2-14). Thus the psalms were gradually collected into the five books of the Psalter (or "Praises"), the masterwork of prayer in the Old Testament.

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) There are 150 Psalms in the Old Testament. They are a collection of songs and prayers, some of them several thousand years old, which are still prayed today in the Church community - in the socalled Liturgy of the Hours. The Psalms are among the most beautiful texts in world literature and move even modern readers immediately by their spiritual power.  

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2586) The Psalms both nourished and expressed the prayer of the People of God gathered during the great feasts at Jerusalem and each Sabbath in the synagogues. Their prayer is inseparably personal and communal; it concerns both those who are praying and all men. The Psalms arose from the communities of the Holy Land and the Diaspora, but embrace all creation. Their prayer recalls the saving events of the past, yet extends into the future, even to the end of history; it commemorates the promises God has already kept, and awaits the Messiah who will fulfill them definitively. Prayed by Christ and fulfilled in him, the Psalms remain essential to the prayer of the Church (Cf. GILH, nn. 100-109).     

(This question: How are the Psalms important for our prayer? is continued)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 472 – Part II.


YOUCAT Question n. 472 - Part II. How did Moses pray?


(Youcat answer - repeated) From Moses we learn that “praying” means “speaking with God”. At the burning bush God entered into a real conversation with Moses and gave him an assignment. Moses raised objections and asked questions. Finally God revealed to him his holy name. Just as Moses then came to trust God and enlisted wholeheartedly in his service, so we too should pray and thus go to God’s school.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2576) "Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend" (Ex 33:11). Moses' prayer is characteristic of contemplative prayer by which God's servant remains faithful to his mission. Moses converses with God often and at length, climbing the mountain to hear and entreat him and coming down to the people to repeat the words of his God for their guidance. Moses "is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly, not in riddles," for "Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth" (Num 12:3,7-8).

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) The Bible mentions Moses’ name 767 times — so central is he as the liberator and lawgiver of the people of Israel. At the same time Moses was also a great intercessor for his people. In prayer he received his commission; from prayer he drew his strength. Moses had an intimate, personal relationship with God: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex 33:11a). Before Moses acted or instructed the people, he withdrew to the mountain to pray. Thus he is the original example of contemplative prayer.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2577) From this intimacy with the faithful God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Cf. Ex 34:6), Moses drew strength and determination for his intercession. He does not pray for himself but for the people whom God made his own. Moses already intercedes for them during the battle with the Amalekites and prays to obtain healing for Miriam (Cf. Ex 17:8-12; Num 12:13-14). But it is chiefly after their apostasy that Moses "stands in the breach" before God in order to save the people (Ps 106:23; cf. Ex 32:1-34:9). The arguments of his prayer - for intercession is also a mysterious battle - will inspire the boldness of the great intercessors among the Jewish people and in the Church: God is love; he is therefore righteous and faithful; he cannot contradict himself; he must remember his marvellous deeds, since his glory is at stake, and he cannot forsake this people that bears his name.     

(The next question is: How are the Psalms important for our prayer?)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 472 – Part I.


YOUCAT Question n. 472 - Part I. How did Moses pray?


(Youcat answer) From Moses we learn that “praying” means “speaking with God”. At the burning bush God entered into a real conversation with Moses and gave him an assignment. Moses raised objections and asked questions. Finally God revealed to him his holy name. Just as Moses then came to trust God and enlisted wholeheartedly in his service, so we too should pray and thus go to God’s school.  

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2574) Once the promise begins to be fulfilled (Passover, the Exodus, the gift of the Law, and the ratification of the covenant), the prayer of Moses becomes the most striking example of intercessory prayer, which will be fulfilled in "the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5).   

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) The Bible mentions Moses’ name 767 times — so central is he as the liberator and lawgiver of the people of Israel. At the same time Moses was also a great intercessor for his people. In prayer he received his commission; from prayer he drew his strength. Moses had an intimate, personal relationship with God: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex 33:11a). Before Moses acted or instructed the people, he withdrew to the mountain to pray. Thus he is the original example of contemplative prayer.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2575) Here again the initiative is God's. From the midst of the burning bush he calls Moses (Ex 3:1-10). This event will remain one of the primordial images of prayer in the spiritual tradition of Jews and Christians alike. When "the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob" calls Moses to be his servant, it is because he is the living God who wants men to live. God reveals himself in order to save them, though he does not do this alone or despite them: he calls Moses to be his messenger, an associate in his compassion, his work of salvation. There is something of a divine plea in this mission, and only after long debate does Moses attune his own will to that of the Savior God. But in the dialogue in which God confides in him, Moses also learns how to pray: he balks, makes excuses, above all questions: and it is in response to his question that the Lord confides his ineffable name, which will be revealed through his mighty deeds.     

(This question: How did Moses pray? is continued)