We'd like to share with our readers these various articles of interest about our faith. Hopefully one or more of these links below can help enlighten your day and strengthen your prayer life! No doubt you have recieved articles and links in your e-mailboxes concering our faith that you’ve passed along to family, friends, and acquaintances. We here at Our Catholic Prayers wish to do so here as well!
We'd like to mention a good resource for our readers available as a PDF file (a file you can open and read with the Acrobat Reader. If you don't have it on your computer you can download it here.) It is a simple one-page guide to "The How and Why of Daily Prayer" and "Living the Catholic Basics" from the National Catholic Register that can be used all year round. Read it, print it, and pass it on to friends, acquaintances and loved ones!
We urge our readers to take note of the new regulations the Obama administration, through the Department of Health and Human Services, is putting in place about contraceptives and sterilization under the new Health Care law. This link provides a great deal of important and useful information on this vitally important matter. We also recommend this action alert you can use to contact your representatives in the United States Congress and the Senate as well.
Forcing Catholic hospitals and other institutions to provide birth control goes against the teachings of our faith. As is has been pointed out frequently, this is a matter not of “women’s health” but rather of religious liberty, as people of all faiths are coming to realize. If the government can mandate that the church does something against its teachings under penalty of law, how safe is our right to worship feely in this country?
Now more than ever, we must all come together on this issue of fidelity to our faith and religious freedom as well. And keep our bishops speaking out against these new regulations in your prayers! By the way, this excellent article makes the case against contraception on theological, moral, and, yes, practical grounds very well.
We’d like to share with our readers some interesting articles on the power of prayer from different angles. For starters, we offer Cardinal Timothy Dolan's thoughts on what has been called a “perfect prayer to God,” the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He wrote of the importance of going to Mass on Sundays in this column on his blog.
Do you know of someone who’s stopped going to Sunday Mass, for whatever reason? Perhaps you yourself have let a few Sundays slip by. The Cardinal can help inspire us all to make Sunday “the Lord’s Day” by attending Mass. Ideally, we should all try to go to Mass other days of the week whenever possible. But God asks of us that we at least give Him an hour or so on Sunday (or on Saturday evening at the vigil Mass).
(Remember, also for Catholics, missing Sunday Mass for a reason other than some emergency, health related concern, or other logistical impediment is a mortal sin.)
As Cardinal Dolan puts it so well in the first column mentioned above, “the Eucharist is the most beautiful, powerful prayer that we have. To miss it is to miss Jesus — His Word, His people, His presence, His Body and Blood.” In his second piece linked above, he cites the detailed results of a Pew research survey showing how “Simply put, a Catholic faithful to Sunday Mass has a happier, holier, healthier life!”
This link is great for checking out Mass schedules for your parish worldwide! We also recommend the links on this page for Mass readings and some good meditations on them.
We’d also like to draw our readers’ attention to another thoughtful article on another one of our most powerful sacraments in our Faith: the Sacrament of Penance, also known as Confession. Cardinal Dolan encourages us to “Experience the joy of forgiveness! Experience liberation from sin! Keep those confessionals busy! Keep your priests busy about the great work of dispensing the Lord’s mercy!”
Has it been a while since you, or perhaps a loved one, has been to confession? Are you afraid to examine your conscience or ask our Lord for His forgiveness and mercy for your sins? As Pope John Paul II would say, “Be not afraid!” We also have the prayer after confession, the Act of Contrition on our site.
Moving along, we’d like to turn our attention to one of the most famous Catholic prayers, one that in many ways is crucial for our salvation, the Rosary! We came across this inspiring story of how a mother’s praying a rosary novena for her son helped heal him spiritually in a profound way. We also wish to share this moving tribute to a father’s loving perseverance in praying the Rosary with his wife in the midst of his devastating illness.
As Pope John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic Letter on the Holy Rosary, “The Holy Rosary by age old tradition has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together.” But remember this prayer isn’t just for families. The Rosary can help us all to live in what Deacon Keith Fournier calls "a Mary Moment," in which we “bear God to an age in need” as the Blessed Mother did in the Gospels (and still does today!)
Speaking of Mary, we'd like to recommend this inspiring article by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Illinois urging us all to turn to her for help and protection in these trying times. "We turn to her to protect our country, to guide our leaders, and to turn our hearts to her Son," as he puts it.
Would you like to pray more but find you just don’t have time? Or do you feel too intimidated somehow? Don’t worry. You’re not alone! But developing a better prayer life isn’t as hard as it may seem. (In fact, it’s easier than keeping on a diet to lose weight, or giving up certain bad habits, such as smoking!)
Here's a good suggested schedule for prayer time during the day. Also, making a Spirtual Communion with Jesus is a simple and yet powerful way to get closer to our Lord for example. We have this prayer on our site as well.
And don’t let any distractions in prayer that you may experience keep you from praying! As St. Theresa of Avila once wrote “Do not imagine that the important thing is never to be thinking of anything else [but the prayers you're reciting] and that if your mind becomes slightly distracted all is lost....the Lord leads each of us as He sees we have need.” This article has some good points on how best to deal with those times when you feel like “nothing happens” when you’re praying.
For those times you may experience spiritual dryness from illness or other hardships, we’d like to recommend this article entitled "How can I pray when I can’t even think straight?". The important point here is not to give up when you feel you’re not communicating with God as well as you’d like. As the author writes “even if you just sit in silence and can say nothing cry out to him [God] in the simplest way and he will hear you.”
Prayer can help you get closer not only to God but to others as well, especially those who you dislike out of envy. As the well-known author Patti Maguire Armstrong writes here, "Adjust your perspective and pray through your weaknesses. Those pangs of jealousy and envy spring from your own pain, so offer up the whole thing and force yourself to pray for the very people causing your pain.”
Now more than ever we urge our readers to offer prayers for the unborn and to keep informed on pro-life issues on Life News, Life Site News, as well as EWTN's own pro-life site.
Speaking of prayers for the unborn, The Great Prayer Project - End Abortion is an inspiring website that invites us all to join in one continuous year of prayer to end the tragedy of abortion. You can participate in this project by signing up on their site to pray for 20 minutes, at a time that works best for you.
We also need to note here that the organization Americans United For Lifeis also doing some important work in trying to keep Abortion out of Health Care reform. Along these lines, it is also important for us to stand up for healthcare professionals who wish to opt out of performing abortions or other such procedures that may go against their conscience as Christians, as discussed here.
And finally, we wish to point out to our readers our section of prayers for troubled times as well as this helpful article on some practical steps you can take to keep close to God in this era of great economic distress for so many.
Keep in mind, also, that our Lord can intimately share your failures and frustrations by virtue of His Passion. As we are reminded here, no one is worthless in His eyes! Christ loves us enough to have died for us, so that we might have Eternal Life!
We here at Our Catholic Prayers hope our Lord and our wonderful Faith can be a source of great comfort and strength for each of you!