Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 508 – Part I.

YOUCAT Question n. 508 - Part I. What happens if you do not feel anything when you pray or even experience reluctance to pray?

(Youcat answer) Distractions during prayer, the feeling of interior emptiness and dryness, indeed, even an aversion to prayer are experienced by everyone who prays. Then to persevere faithfully is itself already a prayer. 

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2735) In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? 

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) Even St. Thérèse of Lisieux for a long time could not sense God’s love at all. Shortly before her death she was visited one night by her sister Celine. She noticed that Thérèse’s hands were clasped together. “What are you doing? You should try to sleep”, Celine said. “I cannot. I am suffering too much. But I am praying”, Thérèse replied. “And what do you say to Jesus?” “I do not say anything to him. I love him.”

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2737) "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions" (Jas 4:3; cf. The whole context: Jas 4:1-10; 1:5-8; 5:16). If we ask with a divided heart, we are "adulterers" (Jas 4:4); God cannot answer us, for he desires our well-being, our life. "Or do you suppose that it is in vain that the scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us?'" (Jas 4:5). That our God is "jealous" for us is the sign of how true his love is. If we enter into the desire of his Spirit, we shall be heard. Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer (Evagrius Ponticus, De oratione 34: PG 79, 1173). God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give (St. Augustine, Ep. 130, 8, 17: PL 33, 500).     

(This question: What happens if you do not feel anything when you pray or even experience reluctance to pray? is continued)

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