A Short Catechism on Prayer
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(This text was initially designed for college students but is
useful to teens and older adults.)
Lord's Prayer • Hail
1. What is Prayer?
Prayer is the raising up of our minds and hearts to God, either to
praise Him, or to thank Him, or to beg His grace;
and therefore it is divided into Prayer of Praise, Prayer of
Thanksgiving., and Prayer of Petition.
- [Catechism of the Catholic Church, hereinafter ccc, sec. 2559 "Prayer is the raising of
one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."]
2. What does to praise God mean?
To praise God means to rejoice at His infinite Perfections, and to
glorify and adore Him on that account (Ps.
2649 "Prayer of praise is entirely
disinterested and rises to God, lauds
him, and gives him glory for his own sake, quite beyond what he has
done, but simply because HE IS.]
- Examples: David in his Psalms; the three children
in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3.);
Blessed Virgin (Luke 1:46-55)
3. Are we obliged to praise God?
Yes, we are; for this we were created. and this will one day be
our eternal occupation in Heaven. (Rev.
- "My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and
let all flesh bless His holy name for ever, yea for ever and ever". (Ps. 145:21). "Be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to yourselves
in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing and making
melody in your hearts to the Lord." (Eph. 5:18-20.)
- [ccc 2642 "The prophets and the saints, all those who were slain on
earth for their witness to Jesus, the vast throng of those who, having
come through the great tribulation, have gone before us into the
Kingdom, all sing the praise and glory of him who sits on the throne,
and of the Lamb.[Cf. Rev 18:24; 19:1-8] In communion with them, the Church on earth also sings
these songs with faith in the midst of trial... ]
4. Must we also thank God for His gifts?
Yes, for ingratitude is a detestable vice, whereas gratitude is
the best means to obtain new benefits.
- "In all things give thanks; for this is the will
of God In Christ Jesus".(1 Thess. 5:18).
5. Must we also beg graces of God?
"'Ask,' says Jesus Christ Himself, 'and it shall be given you;
seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you'
6. Is Prayer necessary to all?
Prayer is necessary for salvation to all who have sufficiently the
use of reason.
- [ccc 2697 "Prayer is the life of the new
heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget
him who is our life and our all. This is why the Fathers of the
spiritual life ... insist that prayer is a remembrance of God often
awakened by the memory of the heart "We must remember God more often
than we draw breath." (St.
7. Why is Prayer necessary to all?
Because God has commanded it, and because, without it, we do not
receive the graces necessary to persevere to the end. [ccc
2591 "God tirelessly calls each person to this mysterious
encounter with Himself."]
- See St. Alphonsus, Admonitions, "[P]rayer is
necessary for adults as a means of salvation; that is to say, that a
person who does not pray, and neglects to ask of God the help requisite
for overcoming temptations, and for preserving grace already received,
cannot be saved." See CCC 2744.
8. But does not God already know what we stand in need
Most certainly; but we do not pray to tell God what we stand in
need of, but to acknowledge Him as the Giver of all good gifts, to
testify our dependence on Him, and thereby to render ourselves more
worthy of His gifts. [ccc
2559 "Man is a beggar before God."]
9. What are the principal fruits of Prayer?
Prayer, 1. Unites us to God; 2. Makes us heavenly minded; 3.
Strengthens us against evil; 4. Gives us zeal and energy for good; 5.
Comforts us in adversity; and 6. Obtains help for us in time of need,
and the grace of perseverance unto death.
- Examples: Moses (Exod. 17:11); Samuel ("And Samuel cried unto
the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day." 1 Kings 12:18 in the Douay Rheims, and 1 Sam 12:18 in the NIV.); also in the Douay
see Judith 9, Esther
14; and the Machabees (2 Mac. 15:27). The first Christians prayed while Peter
was in prison. (Acts 12:5)
10. How must we pray that we may obtain these
We must pray, 1. With devotion; 2. With humility; 3. With
confidence; 4. With resignation to the will of God; and 5. With
11. When do we pray with devotion?
When our prayer comes from the heart, and we avoid all distracting
thoughts as much as possible.
- 'This people honors me with their lips; but their heart is far
from me." (Matt. 15:8).
12. Are all the distractions in prayer sinful?
They are sinful when we ourselves are the cause of them, or
willfully admit or entertain them; but when we struggle against them,
they increase our merit.
- [Editor: This can be more easily understood if we think of the
times we have a duty to pray, to direct our minds and hearts toward
God, such as during the mass or sacraments. During worship we come to
be in God's presence, to listen and speak with Him. Does it then make
sense to willfully allow ourselves to be distracted? Also, it would be
like calling someone over, by name, and making a standard request by rote but not paying attention to what you
are saying, or to the person you are addressng. If you made a request
like this to your employer, what do you think his response would be?]
13. What should we do in order that we may be less
distracted in our prayers?
Before our prayers we should, as far as possible, banish all
worldly thoughts, and represent the Omnipresent God in a lively
manner to our mind.
- Ecclesiasticus 18:23 "Before prayer prepare
your soul: and be not as a man that tempts God."[But compare the NAB.] [St.
de Sales tells us: "Pray for your prayer's success."]
14. When do we pray with humility?
When we address our prayers to God with a sincere acknowledgment
of our weakness and unworthiness.
- 'The prayer of him that humbles himself shall pierce the clouds."
(Ecclesiasticus 35:21: compare Sirac
35:17NAB). See also the Pharisee
and the Publican (Luke18:9-14.)
16. When do we pray with confidence?
When we firmly hope that God will hear our prayer, inasmuch as it
is conducive to His honor and to our salvation.
- "Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavers is
like a wave of the sea, which is moved and carried about by the wind.
Therefore let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the
Lord" (James 1:6-7).
16. Why may and ought we to have this firm hope?
Because God can give us all good things, and, for the sake of
Jesus, will also really do so, as our Savior Himself solemnly assures
us, saying: "Amen, amen I say to you, if you ask the Father anything
in my name, He will give it to you". John
16:23; compare Mark
17. But why do we not always receive what we ask
- 1. Either because we do not pray as we ought; or
- 2. Because that which we ask for is prejudicial to our salvation;
- 3. Because we do not persevere in praying; therefore we must also
pray with resignation to the will of God, and perseverance.
- [See also 1 John 3:22, John 15:7, 1 Peter 3:12, 1
5:14-15, Phil. 4:6 , i.e. have confidence, avoid evil and anxiety,
and let God and his word abide in you, be part of you. Hebrews 11:6 ]
- [Fasting can help, Acts 14:23, and Matt. 17:21, see footnote to this verse in
- ["Abbe Zeno said, 'If a man wants God to hear his
prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own
soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must
pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will
hear everything that he asks.'" Desert Fathers. See Matt. 5:44.] [An "enemy" can be merely one who "opposes the interests of
another" according to the dictionary.]
18. When do we pray with resignation to the will of
When we leave it entirely to Him to hear us when and how He thinks
- "Father, not my will, but Yours be done". (Luke 22:42).
19. When do we pray with perseverance?
When we do not desist, although we are not aware of being heard,
but continue to pray the more fervently.
- Example of the woman of Chanaan (Matt. 15:22-28.); parable of the friend who
asked for three loaves (Luke 11:5-8, compare the NAB). [See also the Widow and unjust Judge. Lk 18:1-8.] [See also how Jesus prayed for
long period in a quiet place. Luke 6:12.]
20. Must we always use a set form of words in our
No, this is done in Vocal
Prayer only; but there is also an Interior or Mental Prayer,
[For Vocal Prayer see the Catechism
of the Catholic Church sections 2700 to 2704.]
21. In what does Meditation consist?
It consists in reflecting upon the life and sufferings of Jesus,
upon the Divine Perfections, or other truths of our religion, in
order to excite in our hearts pious sentiments, but especially good
and efficacious resolutions.
- [For Meditation see ccc sections 2705-2708. See also the meditation section
in Awaken to Prayer.]
22. When ought we to pray?
Christ says 'that we ought always to pray, and not to faint'
ccc sections 2742-2743.]
- [Pray constantly as St. Paul teaches in Eph. 6:18, 1 Thess 5:17; Eph 5:20. ]
- CCC 2757: "Pray constantly" (1 Thess 5:17).
It is always possible to pray. It is even a vital necessity. Prayer and
Christian life are inseparable. See ccc 2742-43, cf. Jesus' hour of prayer.
23. How is it possible to pray always?
We pray always when we frequently raise up our minds and hearts to
God, and offer up to Him all our labors, sufferings, and pleasures.
Yet at certain times we are to pray in an especial manner.
1. In time of temptation and other urgent need, and during private
and public calamities; 2. In the morning
and at night;
before and after meals; when the Angelus
bell rings; and when we are in the Church. [See About
Traditional Basic Catholic Prayers.] [See also the
of the Heart and Prayer
26. Why should we particularly pray in the
Because the Church is especially the house of God and of prayer,
where all that we see and hear is intended to raise our minds and
hearts to the meditation on Divine things.
- [The modern catechism, published in1992, suggests places that are
favorable for prayer. However they are not the only places. Actually anyplace can be a place for prayer.
- "ccc 2696 The most appropriate places for
prayer are personal or family oratories, monasteries, places of
pilgrimage, and above all the church, which is the proper place for
liturgical prayer for the parish community and the privileged place for
Eucharistic adoration." See also, ccc 2691
- "ccc 2743 It is always possible to pray: The
time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us
always, no matter what tempests may arise. Our time is in the hands of
- It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in
public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying
or selling, . . . or even while cooking." St.
26. For whom must we pray?
We must pray for all people: for the living and the dead; for
friends and enemies; especially for our parents, brothers and
sisters, benefactors, spiritual and temporal Superiors [such as
employers and political leaders], and also for [separated
Christians and non-Christians].
- [ccc "2635 Since Abraham, intercession - asking
on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to
God's mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession
participates in Christ's, as an expression of the communion of saints.
In intercession, he who prays looks "not only to his own interests, but
also to the interests of others," even to the point of praying for
those who do him harm. (Phil 2:4; cf. Acts 7:60; Lk
23:28, 34.)"] See ccc 2635-36.
- 'I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings he made for all men, for
kings, and for all that are in high station, that we may lead a quiet
and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity' (1
Tim. 2:1- 2 in the Douay-Rheims, compare
the NIV). [See footnote to this passage in the NAB.]
- Application. Consider how happy you are that you, [mere dust and
ashes,*] are allowed to speak to God, the Most High, as a child speaks
to his father. Pray, therefore, often and willingly, and always with as
much devotion as you possibly can, both at home and in the Church.
[*On Ash Wednesday we are reminded of this when
the priest marks us with ashes
and says: "Remember thou art dust..."]
useful would be the Instruction on Prayer in the catechism of the
Council of Trent.
You could also compare the material above with the catechism
of Pope Pius X, the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on the
qualities of prayer, and lesson
28 of the Baltimore Catechism on Prayer.
1. On the Lord's
- [ccc "2773
In response to his disciples' request "Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk 11:1),
entrusts them with the fundamental Christian prayer, the Our
- 2774 "The Lord's Prayer is truly the summary of
the whole gospel," [Tertullian] the "most perfect of prayers." [St.
Thomas Aquinas] It is at the center of the Scriptures.
- 2775 It is called "the Lord's Prayer" because it
comes to us from the Lord Jesus, the master and model of our prayer.
2776 The Lord's Prayer is the quintessential prayer of the Church..."] See The Prayer of the Church and generally part four section two on the
27. Which is the most excellent of all prayers?
The most excellent of all prayers is the Our Father, or the Lord's
28. Why is the Our Father called the Lord's
Because Christ our Lord has taught it to us, and commanded us to
say it (Matt.
29. What does the Lord's Prayer contain?
It contains a short Preface and Seven Petitions.
30. What do you call its Preface?
These words: ' Our Father who art in Heaven.'
31. What does the Father remind us of?
That God is our Father, so good and so worthy of veneration that
there is no earthly father like Him; and that we, therefore, ought to
pray to Him with a childlike reverence, love, and confidence.
32. Why do we say our Father, and not my Father?
Because, God being the Father of all men, we are all His children,
and should therefore love one another as brothers, and pray for one
another (cf. Mal.
2:10). [See new testament instances of the command to
one another. cf. Heb.
33. Why do we add these words: 'Who art in
- To call to our mind,
- 1. That God, though he is everywhere, dwells especially in
Heaven, where we shall one day see Him face to face (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12) (see also the New Testament use of God and Heaven.)
- 2. That we are but pilgrims upon earth, and that our true country
is in Heaven; and
- 3. That when we pray, we must detach our hearts from all earthly
things, and raise them up to Heaven.
34. What do we ask for in the First Petition:
'Hallowed be Thy name'?
That the name of God may never be profaned or blasphemed, but that
God may be rightly known, loved, and honored by us and by all men.
35. Why is this the First Petition?
Because we are to esteem the honor and glory of God more than all
36. What do we ask for in the Second Petition:
- 'Thy Kingdom come'? ccc 2816-21.
- 1. That the kingdom of God, the Church, may be more and more
extended upon earth;
- 2. That the kingdom of divine, grace and love may now be
established in our hearts, in order that,
- 3. After this life, we may all be admitted into the kingdom of
37. What is the meaning of the Third Petition:
- 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven'? ccc 2822-27
- We ask that we and all men may do the will of God on earth as
faithfully and cheerfully as the Angels and Saints do it in Heaven; and
- We profess that, in all things, we submit ourselves to the holy
will of God.
38. What do we ask for in the Fourth Petition:
Give us this day our daily bread'?
We ask that God would give us all that is daily necessary for our
soul and body. ccc
39. Why does Christ bid us ask for our daily
- To teach us that we should wish only for necessaries, not for
riches and abundance.
- "Having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are
content." (1 Tim. 6:8).
40. What do we ask for in the Fifth Petition:
'Forgive us our trespasses, as We forgive them that trespass
against us'? ccc
That God would so forgive us all our sins as we forgive others who
have offended us. [See Luke
41. May those who do not forgive expect forgiveness
- No; on the contrary, they pass judgment upon themselves as often
as they say the Our Father.
- "Forgive your neighbor if he has hurt you; and then shall your
sins be forgiven to you when you pray." (Eccius.
28:2. Compare Sirach 28:2 in the NAB.)
42. What do we ask for in the sixth Petition:
- 'Lead us not into temptation'? ccc 2846-49
- We ask that God would remove from us all temptations and all the
dangers of sin, or, at least, give us grace sufficient to resist them.
43. By whom are we tempted to sin?
- 1. By our own flesh or concupiscence; 'for the flesh lusts against the spirit' (Gal. 5:17)
- 2. By the World, i.e., by its vain pomp, bad example, and wicked maxims; and
- 3. By the Devil, 'who, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom
he may devour' (1 Pet. 5:8).
44. Why does God permit us to be tempted?
- 1. To keep us humble;
- 2. To try our faithfulness or to punish our unfaithfulness; and
- 3. To increase our zeal for virtue, and our merits.
- 1. 'Lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there
was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me' (2 Cor. 12:7). 2. "[F]or the Lord your God
tries you, that it may appear whether you love him with all your heart,
and with all your soul, or not." (Deut. 13:3). 'Blessed is the man that
endures temptation; for when he hath been proved he shall receive the
crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him' (James 1:12).
45. Is temptation in itself a sin?
- Temptation in itself is not a sin; but to expose ourselves
heedlessly to temptation, or to yield to it, is a Sin.
- For our consolation and Instruction, Christ Himself allowed the
Devil to tempt Him (See Matt. 4:1-11)
46. What must we do in order that we may not
We must especially watch and pray, as Christ our Lord says: 'Watch
and pray that enter not into temptation' (Matt.
47. What do we ask for in the Seventh Petition:
- 'But deliver us from evil' ccc 2850-54.
- That God would preserve us from all evil of soul and body,
especially from sin and eternal damnation.
48. Why do we add the word 'Amen,' or 'So be it'?
2. On the Angelical
- To express by it our ardent desire, and also our confidence of
- Application. Always say the Lord's Prayer with reverential
attention, remembering that we have received it from our Divine
- CCC 2856 "Then, after the prayer is over you
say 'Amen,' which means 'So be it,' thus ratifying with our 'Amen' what
is contained in the prayer that God has taught us."
- [ccc "2682
Because of Mary's singular cooperation with the action of the Holy
Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to
magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to
entrust supplications and praises to her."]
49. What prayer do Catholics usually say after the Our
The prayer which is said in honor of the Mother of God, and is
called the Angelical Salutation., or Hail Mary.
50. Why do we add the Angelical Salutation to the Lord's
That the Most Blessed Mother of God may second our weak prayer by
her powerful intercession with her Divine Son.
51. How many parts has the Hail Mary?
Two parts: A Prayer of Praise and a Prayer of Petition.
52. Of what is the Prayer of Praise composed?
1. Of the words of the Archangel Gabriel: 'Hail [Mary],
full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women'
1:28 in the NIV]; and
2. Of the words of St. Elizabeth: 'And blessed is the fruit of thy
womb,' to which we add the name of Jesus. [See Lk
1:42 in the NIV.]
- [See ccc sections 2676-2677.]
- 'Hail' is a term of salutation, equivalent to 'Ave or 'Salve,'
- and means 'Be well,' 'Health to thee,' or 'I salute thee' (The
Trans.) [See "hail" in the American Heritage Dictionary.]
- The word "grace" means God's favor, but there is a complicated
theology behind the use of this word. See the traditional
catholic teaching on grace at our
site, the Columbia encyclopedia and the Catholic
Encyclopedia. You can also see the grace entry in Vines Bible Dictionary. Finally look at the
material on grace in the current Catechism of the Catholic
53. When did the Archangel Gabriel speak those
When he announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would become
the Mother of God (Luke
54. When were the above words spoken by St.
When Mary went into the hill country, and visited her cousin
55. Why do we address Mary by these words: 'Full of
- 1. Because Mary was replenished with grace, even before her birth
[doctrine of the Immaculate Conception]; 2.
Because she always increased in grace; and 3. Because she brought forth
the Author of all graces.
- [CCC "508
From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the
mother of his Son. "Full of grace", Mary is "the most excellent fruit
of redemption": from the first instant of her conception, she was
totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure
from all personal sin throughout her life. "]
66. Why do we say: 'The Lord is with thee'?
- Because God is, in a most particular manner, with
- the Blessed Virgin, wherefore she is justly called the
- Chosen Daughter of the Heavenly Father, the true
- Mother of the Divine Son, and the Immaculate
- Spouse of the Holy Ghost.
Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by
Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of
her son, as "the mother of my Lord". In fact, the One whom she
conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according
to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second
person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is
truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos)."] "And since the holy Virgin brought
forth corporally God made one with flesh according to nature, for this
reason we also call her Mother of God..." IF anyone will not confess
that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is
the Mother of God (Qeotokos), inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the
Word of God made flesh [as it is written, "The Word was made flesh"]:
let him be anathema. Council of Ephesus, 431 AD.]
57. What is the meaning of these words of praise:
'Blessed art thou among women'?
- That Mary is the happiest of all the daughters of Eve:
- 1. Because she was chosen before all to be the Mother of God;
- 2. Because she alone is a Mother and, at the same time, a Virgin;
- 3. Because the first woman entailed a curse on the world; Mary,
on the other hand, brought us salvation.
"The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded
by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a
woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman
contribute to the coming of life." See Lumen Gentium, The
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Vatican II, starting in section 51.]
The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a
divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility:
"That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit"[Mt 1:18-25; Lk 1:26-38], said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee.[Mt 1:20]
Church sees here the fulfilment of the divine promise given through
the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.[Is 7:14
(LXX), quoted in Mt 1:23
58. Why do we add these words: 'Blessed is the fruit of
thy womb, Jesus'?
- To show that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the
veneration of Christ, and that we praise the Mother for the sake of the
59. Of what is the Prayer of Petition composed?
- Of the words which were added by the Church:
- 'Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the
hour of our death. Amen.'
60. Why were these words added by the Church?
- 1. That we may profess by them before the whole world that Mary
is truly Mother of God, because her child is truly God; and 2. That we
may often implore the assistance of her prayers in all our necessities,
and especially for obtaining the grace of a happy death.
61. Why should we often pray for a happy death?
- 1. Because our eternal salvation depends on the last moments of
our life; 2. Because, at that critical time, the temptations are
commonly more violent and more dangerous; and 3. Because perseverance
to the end of life is a special grace, for which we ought continually
to pray (Council of Trent, Sess. 6, Can. vi. 22).
- "Nevertheless, let those who think themselves to stand, take
heed lest they fall, and, with fear and trembling work out their
salvation, in labours, in watchings, in almsdeeds, in prayers and
oblations, in fastings and chastity: for, knowing that they are born
again unto a hope of glory, but not as yet unto glory, they ought to
fear for the combat which yet remains with the flesh, with the world,
with the devil, wherein they cannot be victorious, unless they be with
God's grace..." Council of Trent, Session 6, chapter XIII, On
the gift of Perseverance.
62. Has the Blessed Virgin great influence with
- Certainly; for it has never been heard yet that any one who had
recourse to Mary, and with true devotion implored her intercession, has
ever been abandoned by God (St. Bernard).
- (ccc 969
"Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her
manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal
salvation .... Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church
under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."
- "970 "Mary's function as mother of men in no way
obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather
shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men . .
. flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on
his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from
it." See, Lumen Gentium, The
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Vatican II, starting in section 51.]
63. What prayer do we say when, morning, noon, and night,
is rung for the 'Angelus'?
- We say the following:
- The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. And she conceived of
the Holy Ghost. Hail, Mary, etc.
- Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to
thy word. Hail, Mary, etc.
- And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary, etc.
- Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
- That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
- Let us pray:
- Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by
the message of an Angel, may, by His Passion and Cross, be brought to
the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Even if we live in countries or in places where such public
signal is not given, nevertheless, as this pious exercise [has been]
strongly recommended by the Church, and several Popes have granted many
spiritual favors and indulgences to those who daily and devoutly
practice it, [it would be beneficial] to say this prayer with great
devotion every day in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. (The
64 Why do we say this prayer?
- 1. To give thanks to God for the Incarnation of Christ; and 2. To
honor the Blessed Virgin, and to recommend ourselves to her protection.
65. What is the Rosary?
- It is a very useful and easy form of prayer, mental as well as
vocal, which was introduced by St.
Dominic in the thirteenth century, was approved by the Church, and
has, since then, always been practiced and recommended by her. [Catholic.
- This form of prayer is called Rosary because it
is, as it were, a chaplet of the most beautiful prayers and
meditations, wherein the principal mysteries of our religion are
wreathed like fragrant roses. Hence the name. It is divided into three
parts, each part consisting of five Mysteries. The first five are
called the Joyful Mysteries; the next five, the Dolorous or Sorrowful
Mysteries; and the last five, the Glorious Mysteries. It is true that
in the Rosary the same salutation is often repeated; but this ought not
to surprise us more than that, in Psalm cxxxv the words, 'His mercy endurs for ever,' are repeated
twenty-seven times; or that the Angels in Heaven incessantly sing,
'Holy, holy, holy.' Nor ought this practice to appear tedious to us,
since the mind is, in the mean time, to be occupied with the
contemplation of the Holy Mysteries.
- The titles of honor, which are given to our
Blessed Lady in the Litany of Loretto, as Mystical Rose, Tower of David, Morning Star, etc., are
symbolical expressions taken from the Holy Scripture, and are applied
to her on account of the eminent privileges and graces conferred on
her. [Catholic Encyclopedia on the
Litany of Loretto.]
- Application. Honor the Blessed Virgin in a most particular and
childlike manner. Implore her assistance in all your necessities and
concerns, and strive eagerly to imitate her charity, patience, purity,
and other virtues.
- [ccc 971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's
devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."[Lk 1:48;
Paul VI, MC 56.] The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with
special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has
been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the
faithful fly in all their dangers and needs.... This very special
devotion ... differs essentially from the adoration which is given to
the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and
greatly fosters this adoration."[Lumen Gentium 66] The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God
and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole
Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary."Cf. Paul VI, MC 42]
- [ccc "2678
Medieval piety in the West developed the prayer of the rosary as a
popular substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours."]
"39. Finally, insofar as it may be necessary we would like to
repeat that the ultimate purpose of devotion to the Blessed Virgin is
to glorify God and to lead Christians to commit themselves to a life
which is in absolute conformity with His will. When the children of
the Church unite their voices with the voice of the unknown woman in
the Gospel and glorify the Mother of Jesus by saying to Him: "Blessed
is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked" (Lk.
11:27), they will be led to ponder the Divine Master's serious
reply: "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep
11:28) While it is true that this reply is in itself lively
praise of Mary, as various Fathers of the Church interpreted it
[St. Augustine] and the Second Vatican Council has
confirmed,[Cf. II Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the
Gentium, 58] it is also an admonition to us to live our
lives in accordance with God's commandments. It is also an echo of
other words of the Savior: "Not every one who says to me 'Lord,
Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of
my Father who is in heaven" (Mt.
7:21); and again: "You are my friends if you do what I command
15:14). " Pope Paul VI, Marialis
Rev. John Fander, A Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion,
pp. 311-319. Imprimatur, John Cardinal McCloskey,
Archbishop of New York, February 19, 1876. This text was originally
published in Germany in 1847 and became the "standard" catechism in
Germany. "This Catechism, however, is not intended so much for
Children and for Elementary Schools as for Colleges, for Teachers,
and for Private Instruction." The text quoted here is from the Fifth
American Edition. Some editing has occurred to replace archaic words,
etc. Additional material, such as links, and text in brackets are not
part of the original and not covered by the imprimatur. (This
term means that the bishop named has given ecclesiastical approval
for this book's publication. See Canon
822 and following.)
- Everything presented here is for non-commercial religious and
educational purposes only. No other use is intended or permitted.
A catechism is a "book giving a brief summary of the basic
principles of Christianity in question-and-answer form" according to
You can see the Catholic
Encyclopedia entry on the Roman Catechism, which is the Catechism
of the Council of Trent. The modern
Catholic Catechism was promulgated in 1992 and the English
edition published in 1994. Previous catechisms are online at the
Master catechism as well as the modern Catholic
Catechism, which is also published on the Vatican
This page was updated last on 1/21/2009.
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