卷四基督徒的祈禱 - 生活中的祈禱 2/IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME

天主教教理

卷四基督徒的祈禱

第一部分

基督徒生活中的祈禱

第二條

時期一滿

 

2598. 祈禱的劇情,在成為肉軀並住在我們中間的聖言身上,為我們圓滿地啟示了出來。有關祂的祈禱,由祂的見証人在福音中宣我們宣布的,努力領會祂的祈禱,就是讓我們接近神聖的主耶穌,一如接近那焚燒的荊棘叢:先瞻仰祂本身如何祈禱,再聆聽祂教導我們如何祈禱,最後領悟出祂如何俯允我們的祈禱。

耶穌祈禱

2599.成為童貞女之子的天主子,學會以祂人性的心來祈禱。祂從祂母親那裡學習祈禱,母親心裡保存著全能者所行的「大事」並予以瞻想。祂在納匝肋會堂內和耶路撒冷聖殿中,從民眾祈禱的節拍及詞句中,學習祈禱。但祂的祈禱更是出自內心一個隱密的泉源,一如十二歲時,祂讓人所預感的:「我應當操心我父親的事業」(路 2:49)。時期一滿的祈禱之新穎處──赤子的祈禱,就在耶穌的祈禱中,開始啟示出來。這是天父等待已久、應發自祂子女心中的祈禱。這種祈禱終於由祂的獨生子,偕同世人並為了世人,在其人性中活出來了。

2560. 路加福音特別強調在基督的職務中,聖神的行動和祈禱的意義。耶穌每當面對自己使命的決定時刻,都首先祈禱。在受洗及顯聖容時,父為祂作見証之前;在透過自己的苦難,落實天父愛的計劃之前;在給予自己宗徒傳教使命的關鍵時刻:簡選並召叫「十二人」之前,在伯多祿宣認祂是「天主的基督」之前 ,為使宗徒之長的信德在誘惑中不致失落>,祂都祈禱。耶穌在完成天父所要求的救世事件之前所作的祈禱,是謙虛地和信賴地把自己人性的意願交託於天父的愛的意願。

2601. 一天,耶穌在某處祈禱。祂祈禱完畢後,門徒中的一位請求祂:「主,請教我們祈禱吧!」(路 11:1)難道門徒不是首先瞻仰主耶穌祈禱而心生祈禱的願望嗎?於是他可由祈禱的導師學習祈禱。子女須藉著瞻仰聖子,並聆聽聖子,學習向天父祈禱。

2602. 耶穌經常在偏僻處,或獨居,或上山,而且往往選擇夜晚祈禱。在祈禱時,祂心中懷念著眾人,因為祂降生成人時攝取了人性,並且祂自獻於父時,也將人類奉獻。成了血肉的聖言,在祂人性的祈禱中也分享著「祂弟兄」的生活體驗(希 2:12)。祂同情他們的軟弱,願意從中把他們解救出來。聖父之所以派遣祂,目的就在於此。祂的一言一行,是祂在「密處」祈禱的一種可見表現。

2603. 聖史記載了基督在傳教期間的兩端比較明顯的禱詞。每端禱詞都以感恩開始。第一端,耶穌表明相信父,承認祂,稱謝祂,因為祂對自以為博學的人,隱瞞了天國的奧秘,而啟示了給小孩子 (真福八端中的貧窮人)。祂那顫抖的呼聲「是的,父啊!」披露祂內心的深處,祂對「天父的意願」的依從,這是祂母親懷孕時,所說「爾旨承行」(fiat)的迴響,也是祂山園祈禱時,向父所說「爾旨承行」的前奏。耶穌的整個祈禱在於以其人性之心對「天父旨意之奧秘」的一種出自愛的依從(弗 1:9)。

2604. 第二端祈禱詞記載在若望福音中,是耶穌在復活拉匝祿前的祈禱。事前,祂先謝恩:「父啊!我感謝祢俯聽了我」,這表示父常俯聽祂的請求;耶穌立即接著說:「我知道祢常俯聽我」,這說明耶穌常常在祈求。如此,耶穌這種以感恩為主的祈禱,啟示我們該如何祈求:在接受恩典之前,耶穌依從那位施恩者,祂又在恩賜中交出自己。施恩者比所賜的恩典更貴重;祂本身就是「寶藏」;祂聖子的心是在祂內,所賜的恩典是「附加品」。

耶穌「大司祭的」祈禱在救恩工程中,佔有獨一無二的地位。它將作為卷四第一部分結束時的默想,它顯示出我們的大司祭的常具現實性的祈禱,同時它也涵蓋耶穌在主禱文中所教導我們的。我們將在第二部分闡明這一禱詞。

2605. 當耶穌完成父愛的計劃的「時刻」來臨時,祂讓我們窺測祂那孺子之祈禱的不可測量的深度;不單在祂甘心自我交付之前(「父啊!……不要照我的意願,但照祢的意願」路 22:42),甚至也在十字架上祂最後的幾句話裡,在十字架上的祈禱和自我交付形成一體:「父啊!寬恕他們罷!因為他們不知道他們做的是甚麼」(路 23:34);「我實在告訴你:今天你就要與我一同在樂園裡」 (路 23:43);「女人,看,你的兒子。看,你的母親」 (若 19:26-27);「我渴」(若 19:28);「我的天主,我的天主,祢為甚麼捨棄了我?」(谷 15:34);「完成了」(若 19:30);「父啊!我把我的靈魂交托在祢手中」(路 23:46),直到祂「大喊一聲」,斷了氣,交付了靈魂。

2606. 各時代那些陷於罪惡和死亡奴役中的人類的一切災難,及救恩史中的一切祈求和代禱,都匯集在降生成人的聖言的這一喊叫中。於是父接納了那些祈求和代禱,並且在人完全絕望時,使祂的聖子復活而應允所求。這樣,祈禱之劇在創造和救恩工程中就圓滿地實現。聖詠是在基督內給我們祈禱的鑰匙。是在耶穌復活的「今天」,天父說:「祢是我的兒子,我今日生了祢。祢向我請求,我必將萬民賜祢作產業,以八極為領地」(詠 2:7-8)。

希伯來人書以戲劇性的言詞,闡明耶穌的祈禱如何達成救恩的勝利:「當祂還在血肉之身時,以大聲哀號和眼淚,向那能救祂脫離死亡的天主,獻上了祈禱和懇求。就因祂的虔敬而獲得了俯允。祂雖然是天主子,卻由所受的苦難學習了服從;且在達到完成之後,為一切服從祂的人,成了永遠救恩的根源」(希 5:7-9)。

耶穌教導如何祈禱

2607. 耶穌祈禱時,已在教導我們祈禱。我們祈禱的信、望、愛的旅程,是祂向父的祈禱。此外,福音還提供給我們耶穌對於祈禱明確的教導。祂以賢師的身分,從我們的現況開始,逐步帶領我們走向父。耶穌對跟隨祂的群眾講道時,從他們熟悉的舊約祈禱開始並為他們揭開那臨於人間的天國的新事理。然後,祂以比喻向他們啟示這些新事理。最後,祂向自己的門徒公開論及天父和聖神,因為他們將來要成為教會中祈禱的導師。

2608. 從山中聖訓始,耶穌就強調內心的皈依:到祭壇獻上祭品之前,先與弟兄和好,愛仇人以及為迫害者祈禱,「在隱密處」向父祈禱 (瑪 6:6),祈禱切勿嘮叨,在祈禱中要自內心深處寬恕別人,心地純潔,尋求天國。這樣的皈依完全指向天父,是孺子的皈依。

2609. 人心一旦決定皈依,會學習在信德中祈禱。信德是以孺慕之心依附天主,它超越我們的感覺和理解。這是可能的,因為天主的鍾愛之子為我們開啟了走向天父的通道。祂能要求我們「敲門」、「尋找」,因為祂正是「門」和「道路」。

2610.就如耶穌向父祈禱並在接受恩惠前先謝恩,祂也教導我們要有子女的膽 量:「你們祈禱時,不論求甚麼,只要你們相信必得,必給你們成就」(谷
量量

11:24) 。這種祈禱出自一種絕不懷疑的信德 (瑪 21:22),這就是祈禱的力量:「為信的人,一切都是可能的」(谷 9:23)。耶穌越因家鄉的人的「無信」(谷 6:6)和門徒們的「小信德」(瑪 8:26 )而感到傷心,就越為羅馬官員、百夫長(瑪 8:10)和客納罕婦女的「偉大信德」(瑪 15:28)而讚賞不已。

2611.信德的祈禱不單在於說「主啊,主啊」,而更在於用心承行父的旨意 (瑪 7:21)。耶穌勸勉門徒在祈禱中,要有與天主計劃合作的這種關注。醒。在祈禱中,門徒要警醒注意聆聽那位常存在和常來臨者,要在記憶中
醒醒
懷念祂第一次以血肉之軀謙卑地來臨,並期待祂光榮地再來。門徒們在與老師共融中的祈禱是一種戰鬥,在祈禱中警醒,才能免陷於誘惑。


2613.路加福音記載了論祈禱的三個重要比喻比喻:
第一個:「令人討厭的朋友」,勸人要懇切祈禱;「你敲門,必給你開」。凡這樣祈禱的人,天父必賜他所需,特別賦予擁有一切恩惠的聖神。
第二個:「令人討厭的寡婦」,特別指出祈禱的特質之一:必須有信德和耐心,常常不斷祈禱,「但是,人子來臨時,能在世上找到信德嗎?」

第三個:「法利塞人和稅吏」,強調祈禱必須心地謙遜謙遜;「天主!可憐我這個罪人。」這句禱詞,教會不停地予以重複,作為自己的祈禱:「上主上主!!求祢垂憐求祢垂憐(Kyrie eleison)」。

2614. 當耶穌坦白地向門徒們說出向天父祈禱的奧秘時,祂清楚地告訴他們:當祂帶著光榮的人性回到父身邊後,他們和我們應該怎樣祈禱。現今祈禱的新穎之處在於「因祂的名而求」(若 14:13)。對耶穌的信仰引導門徒認識父,因為耶穌就是「道路、真理和生命」(若 14:6)。信德在愛中產生果實:遵守祂的話和祂的誡命,並偕同基督存留在父內,父是在基督內愛我們,以致住在我們內。在這新盟約中,我們所以確信有求必得,是以耶穌的祈禱為基礎。

2615. 更有甚者,當我們的祈禱與耶穌的祈禱結合在一起時,父所賜予我們的,是「另一位護慰者,使祂永遠與你們同在,祂是真理之神」(若 14:16-17)。這種新穎的祈禱及其條件透過「臨別贈言」展現出來。在聖神內,基督徒的祈禱是同父的共融、愛的共融,不單通過基督而且在基督內。「直至今日,你們還沒有因我名求甚麼,求吧!你們必將得到,好使你們的喜樂得以圓滿」 (若 16:24)。

耶穌俯聽祈禱

2616. 在耶穌傳教期間,人們向祂作的祈禱,都獲得祂的俯允,就是透過奇跡,一些提前顯示祂死而復活之德能的記號:祂俯允以言語表達信德的祈禱(癩病人,雅依洛的女孩,客納罕婦女,右盜),或俯允靜默中的祈禱(抬癱子的人,觸摸祂衣裳的血漏病婦人,罪婦的眼淚和香液)。瞎子懇切的請求:「達味之子!可憐我罷!」(瑪 9:27)或「耶穌,達味之子可憐我罷!」(谷 10:48)教會把這些呼求句重用於傳統的耶穌禱文中:「主,耶穌基督,天主子,可憐我罪人!」耶穌常答覆懷著信德而求祂的人,無論是求病癒或求罪赦:「平安回去吧,你的信德救了你!」。

聖奧思定美妙地指出耶穌祈禱的三個幅度:「作為我們的司祭,祂代我們祈禱;作為我們的首領,祂在我們內祈禱;祂是我們的天主,我們向祂祈禱。所以,讓我們在祂身上聽出我們的聲音,在我們身上,聽出祂的聲音」。

童貞瑪利亞的祈禱

2617. 瑪利亞的祈禱是在時期一滿的黎明中,給我們啟示了。在天主聖子尚未降生、聖神尚未降臨以前,瑪利亞的祈禱以獨特的方式,與天父慈愛的計劃合作:在天使報喜,瑪利亞懷孕基督時在聖神降臨,教會──基督的身體形成時。在卑微使女的信德中,天主的恩賜獲得了有史以來等待已久的接納。全能天主使她「滿渥聖寵」,獻出自己整個身心以作回應:「看!上主的婢女,願照祢的話成就於我罷!」「爾旨承行」就是基督徒的祈禱:我們完全屬於祂,因為祂完全屬於我們。

2618. 福音告訴我們,瑪利亞怎樣以信德祈禱和代禱:在加納婚宴上,耶穌的母親向她的兒子請求,提供婚宴上的需要。此婚宴預示另一個筵席、羔羊的婚宴,羔羊答應自己的淨配──教會的請求,在此婚宴中獻出自己的體血。是在締結新約的時刻,在十字架下,瑪利亞被視為那女人、新厄娃、真正的「眾生之母」而蒙垂聽。

2619. 為此緣故,瑪利亞之歌「我的靈魂頌揚上主」(Magnificat),既是天主之母的歌,也是教會的歌;是熙雍女兒及天主新子民的歌,是感謝天主在救贖工程中所賜豐滿之恩的歌;是「窮苦人」的歌,他們的期望,透過天主對我們祖先「亞巴郎和他的後裔」所作的永遠許諾的實現而得到滿足。

 

Article 2

IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME

2598 The drama of prayer is fully revealed to us in the Word who became flesh and dwells among us. To seek to understand his prayer through what his witnesses proclaim to us in the Gospel is to approach the holy Lord Jesus as Moses approached the burning bush: first to contemplate him in prayer, then to hear how he teaches us to pray, in order to know how he hears our prayer.

Jesus prays

2599 The Son of God who became Son of the Virgin learned to pray in his human heart. He learns to pray from his mother, who kept all the great things the Almighty had done and treasured them in her heart.41 He learns to pray in the words and rhythms of the prayer of his people, in the synagogue at Nazareth and the Temple at Jerusalem. But his prayer springs from an otherwise secret source, as he intimates at the age of twelve: "I must be in my Father's house."42 Here the newness of prayer in the fullness of time begins to be revealed: his filial prayer, which the Father awaits from his children, is finally going to be lived out by the only Son in his humanity, with and for men.

2600 The Gospel according to St. Luke emphasizes the action of the Holy Spirit and the meaning of prayer in Christ's ministry. Jesus prays before the decisive moments of his mission: before his Father's witness to him during his baptism and Transfiguration, and before his own fulfillment of the Father's plan of love by his Passion.43 He also prays before the decisive moments involving the mission of his apostles: at his election and call of the Twelve, before Peter's confession of him as "the Christ of God," and again that the faith of the chief of the Apostles may not fail when tempted.44 Jesus' prayer before the events of salvation that the Father has asked him to fulfill is a humble and trusting commitment of his human will to the loving will of the Father.

2601 "He was praying in a certain place and when he had ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray."'45 In seeing the Master at prayer the disciple of Christ also wants to pray. By contemplating and hearing the Son, the master of prayer, the children learn to pray to the Father.

2602 Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night.46 He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that "his brethren" experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them.47 It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret.

2603 The evangelists have preserved two more explicit prayers offered by Christ during his public ministry. Each begins with thanksgiving. In the first, Jesus confesses the Father, acknowledges, and blesses him because he has hidden the mysteries of the Kingdom from those who think themselves learned and has revealed them to infants, the poor of the Beatitudes.48 His exclamation, "Yes, Father!" expresses the depth of his heart, his adherence to the Father's "good pleasure," echoing his mother's Fiat at the time of his conception and prefiguring what he will say to the Father in his agony. the whole prayer of Jesus is contained in this loving adherence of his human heart to the mystery of the will of the Father.49

2604 The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John.50 Thanksgiving precedes the event: "Father, I thank you for having heard me," which implies that the Father always hears his petitions. Jesus immediately adds: "I know that you always hear me," which implies that Jesus, on his part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus' prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself. the Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the "treasure"; in him abides his Son's heart; the gift is given "as well."51

The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation.52 A meditation on it will conclude Section One. It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what he teaches us about our prayer to our Father, which will be developed in Section Two.

2605 When the hour had come for him to fulfill the Father's plan of love, Jesus allows a glimpse of the boundless depth of his filial prayer, not only before he freely delivered himself up (“Abba . . . not my will, but yours."),53 but even in his last words on the Cross, where prayer and the gift of self are but one: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do",54 "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise",55 "Woman, behold your son" - "Behold your mother",56 "I thirst.";57 "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"58 "It is finished";59 "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!"60until the "loud cry" as he expires, giving up his spirit.61

2606 All the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up in this cry of the incarnate Word. Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them by raising his Son. Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation. the Psalter gives us the key to prayer in Christ. In the "today" of the Resurrection the Father says: "You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession."62

The Letter to the Hebrews expresses in dramatic terms how the prayer of Jesus accomplished the victory of salvation: "In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered, and being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him."63

 

Jesus teaches us how to pray

2607 When Jesus prays he is already teaching us how to pray. His prayer to his Father is the theological path (the path of faith, hope, and charity) of our prayer to God. But the Gospel also gives us Jesus' explicit teaching on prayer. Like a wise teacher he takes hold of us where we are and leads us progressively toward the Father. Addressing the crowds following him, Jesus builds on what they already know of prayer from the Old Covenant and opens to them the newness of the coming Kingdom. Then he reveals this newness to them in parables. Finally, he will speak openly of the Father and the Holy Spirit to his disciples who will be the teachers of prayer in his Church.

2608 From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one's brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else.64 This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father.

2609 Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in faith. Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. He can ask us to "seek" and to "knock," since he himself is the door and the way.65

2610 Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving his gifts, so he teaches us filial boldness: "Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will."66 Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: "all things are possible to him who believes."67 Jesus is as saddened by the "lack of faith" of his own neighbors and the "little faith" of his own disciples68 as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.69

2611 The prayer of faith consists not only in saying "Lord, Lord," but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father.70 Jesus calls his disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan.71

2612 In Jesus "the Kingdom of God is at hand."72 He calls his hearers to conversion and faith, but also to watchfulness. In prayer the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes, in memory of his first coming in the lowliness of the flesh, and in the hope of his second coming in glory.73 In communion with their Master, the disciples' prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation.74

2613 Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke: 
- the first, "the importunate friend,"75 invites us to urgent prayer: "Knock, and it will be opened to you." To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will "give whatever he needs," and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts. 
- the second, "the importunate widow,"76 is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith. "and yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" 
- the third parable, "the Pharisee and the tax collector,"77 concerns the humility of the heart that prays. "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" the Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison!

2614 When Jesus openly entrusts to his disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father, he reveals to them what their prayer and ours must be, once he has returned to the Father in his glorified humanity. What is new is to "ask in his name."78 Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is "the way, and the truth, and the life."79 Faith bears its fruit in love: it means keeping the word and the commandments of Jesus, it means abiding with him in the Father who, in him, so loves us that he abides with us. In this new covenant the certitude that our petitions will be heard is founded on the prayer of Jesus.80

2615 Even more, what the Father gives us when our prayer is united with that of Jesus is "another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth."81 This new dimension of prayer and of its circumstances is displayed throughout the farewell discourse.82 In the Holy Spirit, Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ but also in him: "Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."83

Jesus hears our prayer

2616 Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief)84 or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman).85 The urgent request of the blind men, "Have mercy on us, Son of David" or "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" has-been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!"86 Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: "Your faith has made you well; go in peace."

St. Augustine wonderfully summarizes the three dimensions of Jesus' prayer: "He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us."87

The prayer of the Virgin Mary

2617 Mary's prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the incarnation of the Son of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperates in a unique way with the Father's plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ's conception; at Pentecost, for the formation of the Church, his Body.88 In the faith of his humble handmaid, the Gift of God found the acceptance he had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made "full of grace" responds by offering her whole being: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." "Fiat": this is Christian prayer: to be wholly God's, because he is wholly ours.

2618 The Gospel reveals to us how Mary prays and intercedes in faith. At Cana,89 The mother of Jesus asks her son for the needs of a wedding feast; this is the sign of another feast - that of the wedding of the Lamb where he gives his body and blood at the request of the Church, his Bride. It is at the hour of the New Covenant, at the foot of the cross,90 that Mary is heard as the Woman, the new Eve, the true "Mother of all the living."

2619 That is why the Canticle of Mary,91 The Magnificat (Latin) or Megalynei (byzantine) is the song both of the Mother of God and of the Church; the song of the Daughter of Zion and of the new People of God; the song of thanksgiving for the fullness of graces poured out in the economy of salvation and the song of the "poor" whose hope is met by the fulfillment of the promises made to our ancestors, "to Abraham and to his posterity for ever." 

撮要

2620. 在新約中,祈禱最完美的模範是耶穌以愛子的身分所作的祈禱。耶穌的祈禱常在獨處和靜默中進行,這正意味著祂滿懷愛情、依順天父的意願,直到被釘十字架,同時也絕對信任自己的祈求必蒙俯允。

2621. 耶穌在祂的訓誨中教導門徒,在祈禱時要有純潔的心、活潑而堅定的信德及敢於祈求的孺子之情。祂勸勉他們要警醒,鼓勵他們因祂的名向天主求恩。耶穌基督亦垂允向祂本身所作的祈禱。

2622.童貞瑪利亞以她的「爾旨承行」(Fiat)和「頌揚上主」(Magnificat)所作的祈禱有一特色,就是在信德中慷慨地將自己作完全的奉獻。

 IN BRIEF

2620 Jesus' filial prayer is the perfect model of prayer in the New Testament. Often done in solitude and in secret, the prayer of Jesus involves a loving adherence to the will of the Father even to the Cross and an absolute confidence in being heard.

2621 In his teaching, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray with a purified heart, with lively and persevering faith, with filial boldness. He calls them to vigilance and invites them to present their petitions to God in his name. Jesus Christ himself answers prayers addressed to him.

2622 The prayers of the Virgin Mary, in her Fiat and Magnificat, are characterized by the generous offering of her whole being in faith.

 第三條

教會時期

 

2623. 五旬節日,當「眾人都聚集在一起」 (宗 2:1),「同心合意專務祈禱」(宗 1:14),等待著聖神的來臨時,恩許之神降在門徒們身上。聖神教導教會,使她想起耶穌所說的一切,也培育她度祈禱的生活。

2624. 在耶路撒冷的第一個團體中,信友們「專心於聽取宗徒的訓誨,時常團 聚,擘餅祈禱」(宗 2:42)。祈禱植根於宗徒的信德,為愛德所確認,從感恩 祭中汲取養料,這是教會祈禱的典型順序。  

2625. 這些祈禱經文首推那些在聖經中,信友們所聽到和所閱讀的經文。但他們將這些經文變為自己的祈禱,是由於這些經文,尤其是聖詠集的經文,已在基督內實現。聖神常提醒祈禱中的教會記起基督,也引領她進入完整的真理而激發出新的祈禱詞,新禱詞在教會生活、聖事及使命中,表達基督深奧莫測的奧秘在操作。這些表達祈禱的方式將在各主要禮儀傳統和靈修傳統中逐漸發展。基督徒的祈禱常以宗徒傳下來的和教會欽定的聖經中的 祈禱形式為規範。


 Article 3

IN THE AGE OF THE CHURCH

2623 On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of the Promise was poured out on the disciples, gathered "together in one place."92 While awaiting the Spirit, "all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer."93 The Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls for her everything that Jesus said94 was also to form her in the life of prayer.

2624 In the first community of Jerusalem, believers "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and the prayers."95 This sequence is characteristic of the Church's prayer: founded on the apostolic faith; authenticated by charity; nourished in the Eucharist.

2625 In the first place these are prayers that the faithful hear and read in the Scriptures, but also that they make their own - especially those of the Psalms, in view of their fulfillment in Christ.96 The Holy Spirit, who thus keeps the memory of Christ alive in his Church at prayer, also leads her toward the fullness of truth and inspires new formulations expressing the unfathomable mystery of Christ at work in his Church's life, sacraments, and mission. These formulations are developed in the great liturgical and spiritual traditions. the forms of prayer revealed in the apostolic and canonical Scriptures remain normative for Christian prayer.

一、頌謝和朝拜

 

2626. 頌謝 (blessing)表達基督徒祈禱的基本活動:它是天主與人的相遇;在頌謝中天主的賜恩和人的接受互相呼應,彼此結合。頌謝的祈禱正是人回應天主的恩賜;因為天主降福,人心能以頌謝回應降福之源的天主。

2627. 頌謝的行動有兩個基本表達方式:有時它在聖神內經由基督而上達天父(我們讚頌天主因為祂降福了我們);有時它懇求聖神賜恩,聖神通過基督,由 (降福我們的)天父那裡降下。

2628. 朝拜是人面對造物主時,自認是受造物的第一個態度。朝拜使人讚揚上主的偉大,因為祂創造了我們;也讚揚救主的全能,因為祂從罪惡中拯救了我們。朝拜是俯伏在「光榮的君王」(詠 24:9-10)面前的心靈謙虛,也是對「永遠更大」的天主的肅然起敬。朝拜「聖!聖!聖!」而又無窮美善的天主,使人自知渺小卑微,並且確保我們的祈求獲得垂允。

 

 

二、求恩的祈禱

2629. 懇求的祈禱,在新約內詞彙豐富:求、請求、懇求、呼喊、苦求、大聲疾呼、甚至「祈禱中的掙扎」。然而,最通常的祈禱,由於是自發的,還是求恩。透過求恩,我們表達我們與天主的關係的意識:我們是受造物,非本原,也不是逆境主宰者,也不是最後的歸宿。身為基督徒,我們也意識到自己是罪人,遠離了我們的父。祈求已經是返回父家的開端。

2630. 新約幾乎沒有像在舊約中經常出現哀歌式祈禱。今後,在復活的基督內,教會的祈求是依據望德而發,縱然我們還在等待,每日仍須悔改。基督徒的祈求出自另一泉源,就是聖保祿所稱的嘆息嘆息,即受造之物「產痛」(羅 8:22)的嘆息。 這也是我們「等待我們肉身的救贖的嘆息,因為我們得救,還是在於希望」(羅 8:23-24)。最後是聖神自己那「不可言喻」的嘆息,祂「扶助我們的軟弱,因為我們不知道我們如何祈求才對」(羅 8:26)。

 

 

 

2631. 祈求寬恕是求恩祈禱的第一步,正如那稅吏的祈求:「天主,可憐我這個罪人吧!」(路 18:13)祈求寬恕也是真實而純正的祈禱的準備。充滿信心的謙卑將我們提昇到天父和祂的聖子耶穌基督之間的,以及我們彼此之間的共融光輝中。因此,「我們無論求甚麼,必由祂獲得」(若一 3:22)。感恩祭禮儀和個人祈禱也以祈求寬恕作為必要的準備。

 

 

2632. 基督徒的求恩集中在渴望和尋求天國的來臨,這正合乎耶穌的教導。在求恩中存在著等級的差別:首先是天國,然後是為迎接天國和協助天國來臨所需的一切。教會現時的使命,即協助基督和聖神的使命,正是宗徒團體祈禱的核心。這也是傑出的宗徒聖保祿的祈禱。他提示我們應如何將各教會對神聖事務的操心,化為激發基督徒祈禱的動力。所有受過洗的人,都藉著祈禱,為天國的來臨而工作。

2633. 當我們分享天主的救世之愛時,我們自會理解到,任何需求都能變成祈禱的內容。承擔一切以救贖一切的基督,能因我們以祂的聖名向天父所呈上的祈求,受到光榮。就是懷著這種信念,聖雅各伯和聖保祿鼓勵我們無論何時何地,都要祈禱。




















三、轉求的祈禱

2634. 轉求是求恩祈禱的一種,它使我們的祈禱更相似耶穌的祈禱。祂在父身邊,是我們唯一的轉求者,不斷為眾人,特別為罪人轉求。祂「常能拯救那透過祂接近天主的人,因為祂常活著為他們轉求」(希 7:25)。「聖神親自為我們轉求,……按照天主的旨意,代聖徒轉求」(羅 8:26-27)。

2635. 從亞巴郎起,轉求、為別人求恩,是一顆與天主仁慈相協調之心的特點。在教會時期,基督徒為別人的轉求分擔基督的轉求;這是諸聖共融的表達方式。在轉求中,轉求者「不只顧自己的事,也顧及別人的事」(斐 2:4),甚至為傷害他的人祈禱。

2636. 初期的基督徒團體強烈地度著此種分享的生活。保祿宗徒就是這樣讓各地基督徒團體參與他宣揚福音的職責,同時也為他們轉求。基督徒的轉求不分畛域:「為所有的人,為有權位的人祈禱」(弟前 2:1),也為迫害者和拒絕接納福音者祈求。


I. Blessing and Adoration

2626 Blessing expresses the basic movement of Christian prayer: it is an encounter between God and man. In blessing, God's gift and man's acceptance of it are united in dialogue with each other. the prayer of blessing is man's response to God's gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing.

2627 TWO fundamental forms express this movement: our prayer ascends in the Holy Spirit through Christ to the Father - we bless him for having blessed us;97 it implores the grace of the Holy Spirit that descends through Christ from the Father - he blesses us.98

2628 Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us99 and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the "King of Glory,"100 respectful silence in the presence of the "ever greater" God.101 Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.

II. Prayer of Petition

2629 The vocabulary of supplication in the New Testament is rich in shades of meaning: ask, beseech, plead, invoke, entreat, cry out, even "struggle in prayer."102 Its most usual form, because the most spontaneous, is petition: by prayer of petition we express awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to him.

2630 The New Testament contains scarcely any prayers of lamentation, so frequent in the Old Testament. In the risen Christ the Church's petition is buoyed by hope, even if we still wait in a state of expectation and must be converted anew every day. Christian petition, what St. Paul calls {"groaning," arises from another depth, that of creation "in labor pains" and that of ourselves "as we wait for the redemption of our bodies. 
For in this hope we were saved."103 In the end, however, "with sighs too deep for words" the Holy Spirit "helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words."104

2631 The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"105 It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that "we receive from him whatever we ask."106 Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer.

2632 Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ.107 There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community.108 It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer.109 By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom.

2633 When we share in God's saving love, we understand that every need can become the object of petition. Christ, who assumed all things in order to redeem all things, is glorified by what we ask the Father in his name.110 It is with this confidence that St. James and St. Paul exhort us to pray at all times.111

III. Prayer of Intercession

2634 Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners.112 He is "able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them."113 The Holy Spirit "himself intercedes for us . . . and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."114

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.115

2636 The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely.116 Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel117 but also intercedes for them.118 The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: "for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions," for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel.119

四、感恩的祈禱

2637. 感恩是教會祈禱的特徵。每當舉行感恩祭慶典時,教會就更顯示出並更成 為其為教會的本質。事實上,在救世工程中,基督將受造之物從罪惡和死 亡中拯救出來,為天父的光榮,予以重新奉獻,使之回歸天父。奧體肢體 的感恩分享奧體首領的感恩。

2638. 正如在求恩祈禱中,任何事件、任何需求都可以成為感恩的奉獻。聖保祿 的書信經常以感恩開始,並以感恩結束,感恩中,也常提到主耶穌。「你 們要事事感謝,這就是天主在基督耶穌內對你們所有的旨意」(得前 5:18)。 「你們要恆心祈禱,在祈禱中要醒寤,要謝恩」(哥 4:2)。

五、讚頌的祈禱

2639. 讚頌是最直接承認天主就是天主的祈禱方式。它不只因天主的化工,而更 是為了「祂是」天主而歌頌祂,光榮祂。此種祈禱分享心地純潔者的福 分,因他們在享見光榮的天主之前,已在信德中愛慕祂。藉著讚美的祈 禱,聖神親自和我們的心神合一,証實我們是天主的子女;聖神也給獨生 子作証,証實我們是在祂內獲得義子的地位,並藉著祂而光榮天父。讚美 的祈禱整合其他方式的祈禱,並導引它們朝向萬有根源和歸宿的那一位: 「唯一的天主,就是天父,萬物都出於祂,而我們也歸於祂」(格前 8:6)。

2640. 聖路加在其福音中,經常提到基督所行的奇跡而引起的驚訝和讚頌。他也在宗徒大事錄中 強調宗徒們的事跡是聖神的行動,而引起驚訝和讚頌,例如:耶路撒冷的團體,伯多祿和 若望治癒跛子,群眾因而光榮天主,丕息狄雅的外邦人「都歡天喜地,讚美天主的聖道」 (宗 13:48)。

2641.「你們應以聖詠、詩詞和屬神的歌曲,互相對談,全心歌頌讚美上主」(弗 5:19; 哥 3:16)。 正如受天主默感的新約作者,初期基督徒團體也以新的方式閱讀聖詠集,而在其中歌頌基 督的奧跡。在聖神新的激發下,他們根據前所未聞的奇事編寫詩歌,這些奇事是天主在其 聖子身上完成的,例如:聖子降生成人,祂以死亡戰勝死亡,祂的復活和升天,坐在聖父 的右邊等等。正是從整個救贖工程中的這種「奇妙事跡」激發出光榮、歌頌天主的歌聲。

2642. 默示錄是「未來將要發生的事」的啟示,此書以啟示天上禮儀的詩歌,以及「見証者」(殉 道者:默 6:10) 的轉求為主。為耶穌作見証而在地上被殺的先知和殉道者,一大群來自大 災難的人們,他們先我們而進入天國,這些人都歌頌那坐在寶座上的天主和羔羊的光榮。 地上的教會與他們結合一起,在考驗中,也懷著信德詠唱這些詩歌。在求恩和轉禱中的信 德,於絕望中仍懷著希望並頌謝「光明之父,一切完美恩賜都是從祂降下來的」(雅 1:17) 。如此,信德是純粹的讚頌。

2643. 感恩祭中包含所有祈禱形式並予以表達:感恩祭是整個基督奧體,「為光 榮祂的名字」,所呈上的「純潔祭獻」。按照東、西方教會的傳統,感恩 祭都稱為「讚頌之祭」。

 撮要

2644. 聖神訓導教會並提醒教會耶穌所說過的一切,祂也指引教會度祈禱的生 活,啟發不同的表達形式,這些表達方式在幾個恆久的模式範圍內時時更 新,這些形式就是:頌謝、求恩,轉求、感恩和讚頌。

2645. 由於天主的降福,人心能夠頌謝那為一切福分之源的天主,作為還報。

2646. 求恩的祈禱是以請求寬恕、尋求天國、以及一切真正的需要作為目標。

2647. 轉求的祈禱是為另一個人的好處而作的祈禱。這祈禱沒有任何界限,甚至 為敵人祈禱。

 
2648. 一切喜樂和痛苦,一切事件和需要,都可成為感恩的材料。感恩是參與基 督的感恩,應充盈整個生命:「你們要事事感謝!」(得前 5:18)。

2649. 讚頌的祈禱是完全無私的祈禱,專注在天主身上,超過祂所做的一切,為 了天主本身的緣故而讚頌祂,光榮祂,純粹因為「祂是」天主。

第二章 祈禱的傳統

2650. 祈禱並非發自內心衝動而外溢的激情。實行祈禱必須有祈禱的意願。只知 道聖經論及祈禱的啟示是不夠的,還必須學習祈禱。天主聖神是藉著活生 生的傳授(聖傳),在「堅信和祈禱的教會」內,教導天主子民如何祈禱。

2651. 基督徒祈禱的傳統,是信仰的聖傳成長的方式之一,此成長特別透過信友 們的默觀和研讀而達成,因他們把救恩史的事件和言論銘記於心,此成長 也透過他們對所體驗到的精神事物的深入瞭解而達成。 第一條 祈禱的泉源

2652. 聖神是「活水」,這活水將在祈禱者心內,「湧流到永生」(若 4:14)。聖神 教導我們在水泉本身,即基督那裡,接受永生。不過,在基督徒生活中, 有多處活水泉,基督在那裡等待我們,使我們暢飲聖神: 天主聖言

2653. 教會以特別的方式,竭力鼓勵所有基督信徒,經常誦讀聖經,藉以獲取 「耶穌基督的卓越學問」。但是誦讀聖經當以祈禱陪伴,為能形成天主與 人的對話;因為「我們祈禱時,是對天主說話;我們誦讀神諭時,是在聆 聽天主說話 」。

2654. 靈修教父們意譯瑪竇福音第七章第七節時,概述了祈禱中聆聽天主聖言時 的各種心態:「口誦而求之,心維而得之;祈禱而敲門,門將藉默觀而敞 開」。 教會的禮儀

2655. 在教會聖事禮儀中,基督和聖神的使命就是宣布、實現和通傳救恩奧跡, 而這使命在祈禱者心中仍在繼續。因此,靈修教父們有時把人心比作祭 壇。在舉行禮儀慶典的當時或以後,祈禱將禮儀內在化並同化。即使「在 暗中」(瑪 6:6) 所作的祈禱,也常是教會的祈禱,是與聖三的共融。 超性的德行 2656 進入祈禱就如進入禮儀,必須經過信德的窄門。透過上主臨在的標記,我們 所尋求、所渴慕的,是祂的聖容;我們所願聆聽和保存的,是祂的聖言。

2657. 聖神教導我們在望德中祈禱,在等待基督再來中舉行禮儀慶典。反過來 說,教會的祈禱和個人的祈禱滋養我們的望德,尤其聖詠,以具體而多變 化的語言,教導我們將我們的希望放在天主身上:「我熱切誠懇地期待了 上主,祂便垂顧了我,俯聽了我的哀訴」(詠 40:2)。「願賜望德的天主,因 著你們的信心,使你們充滿各種喜樂和平安,使你們因著聖神的德能,富 於望德」(羅 15:13)。

2658. 「望德不叫人蒙羞,因為天主的愛,藉著所賜予我們的聖神,已傾注在我 們心中了」(羅 5:5) 。藉禮儀生活所形成的祈禱,從天主的愛內汲取一切。 因著這愛,天主在基督內愛我們,並賜我們以愛還愛,就如祂愛了我們一 樣。愛是祈禱的泉源,凡在愛內汲取活水者,達到祈禱的頂峰: 聖若望•維雅內,《祈禱》:噢!我的天主,我愛祢!我唯一的渴望是愛祢直到我生命的 終點,吐出最後一口氣;噢!我無窮可愛的天主!我愛祢!我願愛祢而死,不願活著而不 愛祢;主!我愛祢!我向祢祈求唯一的恩寵,就是永遠愛祢……;我的天主!我的唇舌無 法常說我愛祢,我願我的心每跳一次,就說一聲我愛祢! 「今天」

2659. 聆聽上主的聖言,參與祂的逾越奧跡,都是我們學習祈禱的時刻。但每時 每刻,在每天的事件中,上主都賜給我們祂的聖神,使我們的心中湧出祈 禱。關於向天父祈禱和祂的眷顧,耶穌的教導可說是異曲同工: 時間操在 天父手中;是在「現在」這時刻,我們與天主相遇,不是昨天也不是明 天,而是今天:「今天你們該聽從祂的聲音,不要再心硬」(詠 95:7-8)。

2660. 在每日每刻發生的事件中祈禱,是啟示的天國之秘密的一種:這些秘密啟 示給「小孩子」,給基督的僕人,給真福中的窮苦人。祈求正義及和平之 天國的來臨,以影響歷史的進行,是理所當然的,但是,把祈禱帶入到每 日各種平凡的情況中,也同樣重要。任何祈禱方式都能成為耶穌所比擬的 天國的酵母。 撮要 2661. 聖神藉著活生生的傳授,即聖傳,在教會內教導天主的子女祈禱。

2662. 天主聖言,教會禮儀,信、望、愛三德,都是祈禱的泉源。

 第二條 祈禱之路

2663. 在活生生的祈禱傳統中,各地方教會按照歷史、社會和文化的不同背景, 提供給自己的信友們一套祈禱的語言:話語、歌曲、姿勢和聖相。教會訓 導當局有職責分辨這些做法是否忠於宗徒傳下來的信仰,而牧者和傳道員 的責任則是解釋這些做法的意義,此意義常與耶穌基督有關係。

向父的祈禱

2664. 基督徒祈禱的途徑沒有別的,只有基督、這條唯一的途徑。無論團體或個 人的祈禱,口禱或心禱,唯有「因耶穌的名字」祈禱,才能到達天主父台 前。因此,耶穌聖善的人性是聖神藉以教導我們向天主父祈禱的坦途。 向耶穌的祈禱 2665. 天主聖言和禮儀慶典所滋養的教會祈禱,教導我們向主耶穌祈禱。雖然教 會的祈禱主要指向天父,但是在一切禮儀傳統中,教會的祈禱也包含指向 基督的一些祈禱形式。一些在教會祈禱中已實現的聖詠和新約,把向基督 祈禱的一些呼求短句放在我們口中,印在我們心上,例如:天主子,天主 聖言,主,救主,天主羔羊,君王,鍾愛之子,貞女之子,善牧,我們的 生命,我們的光明,我們的希望,我們的復活,眾人的朋友……。

2666. 然而,在天主子降生成人時所取的名字:「耶穌」,卻包涵一切。天主聖 名本來是唇舌無法說出的,但是天主聖言取人性時,就把它授予我們,使 我們能稱呼祂:「耶穌」──「雅威拯救」。耶穌的名字包括一切:天主 和人,以及創世和救世的全部工程。祈求「耶穌」是呼求祂,是在我們心 中呼喊祂。唯有祂的名字含有其所表達的親臨。耶穌復活了,凡呼求祂聖 名的人,就是迎接那愛他並為他而交付自己的天主聖子。

2667. 這種出自信德,極其簡單的呼求,在東方和西方的祈禱傳統中,以不同方式發展開來。最 為通行的呼求方式是從西乃、敘利亞和阿多斯等隱修院所傳下來的「主,耶穌,基督,天 主子,垂憐我們罪人!」這呼求禱詞將斐理伯書第二章六至十一節的基督頌,與稅吏和失 明乞丐的呼求聲連結在一起。藉著這樣的呼求,人心覺察到人的悲慘,並體驗到救主的仁 慈。

2668. 呼求耶穌聖名是常常祈禱的最簡單方法。從一顆謙虛而專注的心,經常發出重複的呼求, 其力量才不致失落在「嘮叨」(瑪 6:7) 的話語中,而是要「把天主的話保存起來,以堅忍結 出果實」。這種祈禱「隨時可行」,因為它不是附屬於其他事務的事,而是唯一的事,即 愛天主的事,它使一切行動在基督內獲取力量並得以聖化。

2669. 教會的祈禱呼求耶穌至聖聖名,同樣也敬拜並稱揚耶穌聖心。教會在祈禱中欽崇降生成人 的天主聖言和祂的心,此心因愛人之故,甘願被我人所犯的罪刺透。基督徒的祈禱願意跟 隨主的足跡,走十字架的道路。從總督府至哥耳哥達,再到聖墓的苦路,描繪出耶穌以十 字架救贖世界的歷程。 「聖神,請祢降臨!」

2670. 「除非受聖神感動,沒有一個人能說:『耶穌是主』」(格前 12:3)。每當我 們開始向耶穌祈禱時,聖神總是先賜恩寵,引導我們走上祈禱的道路。既 然聖神教導我們記起基督以便作祈禱,那麼,為甚麼我們不向聖神祈禱 呢?正是為了這個理由,教會邀請我們每天呼求聖神,特別是在任何重要 事情開始時和結束時。 聖額我略•納祥,《神學演講》:如果聖神不應該受欽崇,那麼,祂怎能藉聖洗使我聖化 呢?如果聖神應該受欽崇,怎能不用特殊敬禮欽崇祂呢?

2671. 祈求聖神的傳統方式是藉著我們的主基督呼求天父,賜與我們安慰之神。 耶穌在應許賜下真理之神的那一刻,強調必須因祂的名祈求聖神。不過, 最簡單和最直接的祈禱也是傳統的:「聖神,請祢降臨」,每個禮儀傳統 曾在對經和聖詩中予以發展: 《羅馬彌撒經書》,「五旬節繼抒詠」:聖神,請祢降臨,充滿祢信徒的心,在他們心內 燃起祢的愛火。 拜占廷禮,五旬節晚禱「禮儀詩節」:天上的君王,安慰之神,真理之神,無所不在,澤 及萬有。萬善之寶庫,生命之源泉,請降臨居住在我們心中,淨化我們、拯救我們。啊, 祢是那麼聖善!

2672. 聖神是基督徒祈禱的內在導師,祂的傅油滲透我們整個的存在。祂是活生 生的祈禱傳統的工匠。當然,每位祈禱者各有不同的祈禱途徑,但是,是 同一聖神在眾人內並偕同眾人行動。在聖神的共融中,基督徒的祈禱才是 教會內的祈禱。 與天主之母共融

2673. 在祈禱中,聖神將我們與唯一聖子,在其受光榮的人性中結合成一體。透 過祂,並在祂內,我們作子女的祈禱,使我們在教會內與耶穌之母共融。

2674. 瑪利亞在天使報喜時以信德表示同意,並毫不猶疑地保持著此同意,直到 十字架下;此後,她的慈母身分便延續到她聖子「尚在人生旅途上被危險 和困難所包圍」的兄弟姊妹們身上。耶穌──唯一的中保,是我們祈禱的 道路;瑪利亞是祂的母親,也是我們的母親,這對耶穌來說,是完全明顯 的:依照東西方的傳統聖相所表達的,她「指示道路」,她也是這道路的 「標記」。

2675. 以瑪利亞和聖神行動的獨特合作為出發點,教會發展出對天主之母的祈 禱,這祈禱集中在基督一生的奧跡上。在表達這祈禱的無數讚美詩和對經 中, 兩個動向經常交替出現: 一是「頌揚」上主在祂卑微的使女身上,和 透過她而為全人類所行的「大事」;二是將天主子女的懇求和讚頌託付給 耶穌之母,因為她現在知道在她內的人性,與天主子結合為一。

2676. 向瑪利亞祈禱的雙重動向在「聖母經」中突出地表達出來: 「萬福瑪利亞 (或歡樂吧!瑪利亞)」:天使加俾厄爾的請安開啟了這祈禱。透過祂的天使 作媒介,天主自己向瑪利亞請安。懷著天主對祂卑微使女的尊重,教會大膽地向瑪利亞作 同樣的請安,並以天主在她身上所找到的喜樂而歡欣。 「滿被聖寵者,主與爾偕焉」:天使的這兩句請安的話彼此互相解釋。瑪利亞充滿聖寵, 因為上主與她同在。她充滿的聖寵是祂的臨在,祂是所有聖寵的泉源。「你應歡樂……耶 路撒冷女子……上主在你中間」(索 3:14,17a)。在瑪利亞身上,上主自己找到了居所,而瑪 利亞本人就是熙雍女子,結約之櫃,上主光榮的住所。她是「天主與人同在的帳幕」(默 21:3)。她「充滿聖寵」,完全將自己給與要來住在她內的那一位,並準備將祂給與世界。 「女中爾為讚美 「女中爾為讚美,爾胎子耶穌並為讚美 ,爾胎子耶穌並為讚美」:在天使的請安後,我們採用了依撒伯爾的請 安。「充滿了聖神」(路 1:41)的依撒伯爾,是萬世萬代中第一個稱瑪利亞為有福的人: 「那信了的人是有福的……」(路 1:45);瑪利亞在女人中蒙受祝福,是因她信了上主傳於 她的話必要完成。亞巴郎因著信德而成為「地上萬民」(創 12:3)的祝福。因著信德,瑪利 亞成了信眾之母,地上萬民都藉著她而獲得本身就是天主的祝福的那一位:「耶穌──妳 胎中之子應受讚美 」。

2677. 「天主聖母瑪利亞 「天主聖母瑪利亞,為我等祈……」:我們偕同依撒伯爾大感驚奇:「吾主的母親駕臨我 這裡,這是我那裡得來的呢?」(路 1:43)由於瑪利亞將自己的兒子耶穌賞給我們,她就成 為天主之母和我們的母親,我們就能將我們的憂慮和祈求託付給她:她為我們祈求,正如 她為自己祈求一樣「願照你的話成就於我罷!」(路 1:38)我們把自我交託在她的祈禱中, 就是偕同她委身於天主,隨從祂的旨意:「願祢的旨意承行」。 「為我等罪人,今祈天主及我等死候 ,今祈天主及我等死候」:藉著呼求瑪利亞為我們祈禱,我們自認是可憐的 罪人,來投奔完全聖潔的「仁慈之母」。在我們生活中的每個「今天」,我們將「現在」 交託給她。我們也擴大我們的信賴,將「我們死亡的時刻」現在就交付在她手中。願她在 我們臨終時在我們身旁,一如她曾站在她聖子的十字架下;願她在我們出死入生時,一如 我們的母親迎接我們,引領我們到她聖子耶穌基督跟前,永聚樂園。

2678. 西方中世紀的虔敬發展了玫瑰經,作為取代時辰頌禱禮的一種普及大眾的方式。在東方, 聖母頌 (Akathistos) 和聖神頌 (Paraclesis) 的連續短句方式,與拜占廷教會的頌唱日課更為 接近,而亞美尼亞、埃及和埃塞俄比亞,以及敘利亞的傳統則較喜歡敬禮天主之母的民間 聖歌、讚美詩。不過,在聖母經,天主之母歌,聖厄弗冷 (St Ephrem) 或聖額我略•納萊克 (St Gregory of Narek) 的讚美詩中,祈禱的傳統基本上是一樣的。

2679. 瑪利亞是完美的祈禱者,教會的典範。當我們向她祈禱時,我們便與她一 起依附天父派遣聖子拯救世人的計劃。就如那一位愛徒一樣,我們也接待 那成為眾生之母的耶穌的母親,到我們家中 1。我們可以與她一起祈禱,並 向她祈禱。教會的祈禱可說是由瑪利亞的祈禱帶動,並在望德中與瑪利亞 的祈禱連結在一起。

撮要

2680. 祈禱主要是跟父交談;同樣,亦可投向耶穌,尤其是呼求祂的聖名: 「主、耶穌、基督、天主子,垂憐我們罪人」!

2681. 「除非受聖神感動,沒有一個人能說:『耶穌是主』」(格前 12:3)。教會勸 勉我們呼求聖神,祂是基督徒祈禱的心靈大師。

2682. 童貞瑪利亞與聖神行動的合作是獨一無二的,因此,教會喜愛與她聯合, 共同祈禱,好能與她一起讚揚天主在她身上所行的大事,並將祈求與讚美 交託在她手中。 第三條 祈禱的帶路人 見証雲集

2683. 那些先我們進入天國的証人,特別是那些被教會確認為「聖人」的,以他 們生活的榜樣和傳下來的作品,以及他們「今天」的祈禱,參與活生生的 祈禱傳統。他們瞻仰天主,讚美天主,並不斷關懷遺留在世的人。當他們 進入主人的喜樂時,他們被委派「管理很多大事」。他們的代禱也是對天 主計劃的最高服務,因此,我們可以而且應該求他們為我們和整個世界代 禱。

2684. 在諸聖的共融中,很多不同的靈修在教會歷史中得到了發展。對「天主深 愛人類」的証人的個人神恩,能廣傳下來,就像厄里亞的「精神」傳給厄 里叟和洗者若翰,這樣,他們的弟子也能分享這精神。在另一些禮儀和神 學潮流的交匯中,會產生一種靈修,這是信仰本地化,即信仰整合在某一 人類社會及其歷史中的見証。基督徒的各種靈修都參與活生生的祈禱傳 統,並為信友靈修提供不可或缺的指引。雖然它們各有不同,但都是聖神 唯一皓光的折射。 聖巴西略,《論聖神》:聖神真正是諸聖的住處,聖人則是聖神的適當居所,因為聖人奉 獻自己作為天主住所,並被稱為天主的聖殿。

祈禱的僕役

2685. 基督徒家庭是教育祈禱的第一個地方。家庭奠基於婚姻聖事而成為「家庭 教會」,天主子女在這裡學習「在教會內」祈禱和在祈禱中保持堅忍。特 別為兒童,每天的家庭祈禱是教會活生生的記憶的首要見証,這記憶是聖 神耐心所喚醒的。

2686. 聖職人員有責任培育基督內的兄弟姊妹祈禱。身為善牧的僕人,他們被祝 聖是為引領天主子民到達祈禱的活泉:聖言、禮儀、超性生命,以及在人 生實際境遇中的「天主的今天」。

2687. 很多修道人為祈禱而獻出整個生命。自埃及的沙漠開始,很多獨居者、男 女隱修者將他們的時間用來讚美天主和替人代禱。沒有祈禱,獻身生活不 能維持和發揚;它是教會靈修和默觀生活的活泉之一。

2688. 兒童、青年和成人的教理講授,主要是教導他們在個人祈禱中默想天主聖 言,在禮儀祈禱中將之實現,並時時刻刻使之內在化,好能在新生活中結 出果實。教理講授也是辨別和教育民間熱心善功的好時刻。一些基本經文 的背誦能為祈禱生活提供不可或缺的支持,但是幫助他們品嘗經文的含義 也很重要。

2689. 祈禱小組或「祈禱學校」,只要是從基督徒祈禱的真實泉源中汲取所需, 都成為今天在教會內祈禱的一種標記及更新祈禱的一種動力。關心教會的 共融是教會內真正祈禱的標記。

2690. 聖神賜給一些信徒智慧、信德和辨別的恩典,目的是為教會的這一公益, 就是祈禱(靈修指導)。具有神恩的男女是祈禱活生傳統的真正僕人。 根據十字聖若望的看法,誰若想在靈修路上前進,「當慎重考慮,將自己託付給誰這一件 事,因為師傅怎樣,徒弟也會怎樣;父親怎樣,兒子也會怎樣。」再者,「除了有學養和 明智外,導師也應該是有經驗的。如果靈修導師對靈修生活沒有經驗,他將不可能帶領天 主召叫的靈魂進入其靈修生活內,他甚至也不會了解他們」。 有利於祈禱的地方

2691. 聖堂──天主的家──是堂區團體舉行禮儀和祈禱最適合的地方,也是朝 拜耶穌在聖體內真實臨在的特別場所。為了認真祈禱,選擇有利於祈禱的 地方是不容忽視的: ──為個人祈禱,祈禱的地方可以是安放聖經和聖相的「祈禱角落」,好 能在那裡「暗中」與我們的父會晤。在基督徒家庭中,這一類祈禱之 所有助於公共的祈禱。 ──在隱修院存在的地區,這些團體的被召是為使信友們能參與時辰頌禱 禮,並為他們提供安靜獨居的機會,加深他們個人的祈禱。 ──朝聖之旅使我們想起邁向天堂的塵世旅程,依照傳統,也是更新祈禱 的特別機會。為尋求活水的朝聖者來說,朝聖地的聖所 是特別有利的 地方,使人「在教會內」活出基督徒祈禱的各種方式。

撮要

2692. 旅途教會在祈禱中與天上聖者的教會聯合為一,懇請他們轉求。

2693. 基督徒的各種靈修派別都分享教會祈禱的生活傳統,也是靈修生活上的寶 貴指引。

2694. 基督徒的家庭是祈禱教育的第一個地方。

2695. 聖職人員,獻身生活,教理講授,祈禱小組,「靈修指導」等,都在教會 內為祈禱提供確切的幫助。

2696. 為祈禱最適合的地方是個人或家庭的祈禱室,隱修院,朝聖地的聖所,尤 其是教堂,那是堂區團體舉行禮儀和祈禱的適切場所,也是為「朝拜聖 體」最好的地方。 
 IV. Prayer of Thanksgiving

2637 Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for his glory. the thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their Head.

2638 As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. the letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"; "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving."120

V. Prayer of Praise

2639 Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God,121 testifying to the only Son in whom we are adopted and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal: the "one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist."122

2640 St. Luke in his gospel often expresses wonder and praise at the marvels of Christ and in his Acts of the Apostles stresses them as actions of the Holy Spirit: the community of Jerusalem, the invalid healed by Peter and John, the crowd that gives glory to God for that, and the pagans of Pisidia who "were glad and glorified the word of God."123

2641 "[Address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart."124 Like the inspired writers of the New Testament, the first Christian communities read the Book of Psalms in a new way, singing in it the mystery of Christ. In the newness of the Spirit, they also composed hymns and canticles in the light of the unheard - of event that God accomplished in his Son: his Incarnation, his death which conquered death, his Resurrection, and Ascension to the right hand of the Father.125 Doxology, the praise of God, arises from this "marvelous work" of the whole economy of salvation.126

2642 The Revelation of "what must soon take place," the Apocalypse, is borne along by the songs of the heavenly liturgy127 but also by the intercession of the "witnesses" (martyrs).128 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.129 In communion with them, the Church on earth also sings these songs with faith in the midst of trial. By means of petition and intercession, faith hopes against all hope and gives thanks to the "Father of lights," from whom "every perfect gift" comes down.130 Thus faith is pure praise.

2643 The Eucharist contains and expresses all forms of prayer: it is "the pure offering" of the whole Body of Christ to the glory of God's name131 and, according to the traditions of East and West, it is the "sacrifice of praise."

IN BRIEF

2644 The Holy Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls to her all that Jesus said also instructs her in the life of prayer, inspiring new expressions of the same basic forms of prayer: blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise.

2645 Because God blesses the human heart, it can in return bless him who is the source of every blessing.

2646 Forgiveness, the quest for the Kingdom, and every true need are objects of the prayer of petition.

2647 Prayer of intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It knows no boundaries and extends to one's enemies.

2648 Every joy and suffering, every event and need can become the matter for thanksgiving which, sharing in that of Christ, should fill one's whole life: "Give thanks in all circumstances" ( 1 Thess 5:18).

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.

CHAPTER TWO

THE TRADITION OF PRAYER

2650 Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of interior impulse: in order to pray, one must have the will to pray. Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer: one must also learn how to pray. Through a living transmission (Sacred Tradition) within "the believing and praying Church,"1 The Holy Spirit teaches the children of God how to pray.

2651 The tradition of Christian prayer is one of the ways in which the tradition of faith takes shape and grows, especially through the contemplation and study of believers who treasure in their hearts the events and words of the economy of salvation, and through their profound grasp of the spiritual realities they experience.2

Article 1

AT THE WELLSPRINGS OF PRAYER

2652 The Holy Spirit is the living water "welling up to eternal life"3 in the heart that prays. It is he who teaches us to accept it at its source: Christ. Indeed in the Christian life there are several wellsprings where Christ awaits us to enable us to drink of the Holy Spirit.

The Word of God

2653 The Church "forcefully and specially exhorts all the Christian faithful . . . to learn 'the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ' ( Phil 3:8) by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures.... Let them remember, however, that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that a dialogue takes place between God and man. For 'we speak to him when we pray; we listen to him when we read the divine oracles."'4

2654 The spiritual writers, paraphrasing Matthew 7:7, summarize in this way the dispositions of the heart nourished by the word of God in prayer "Seek in reading and you will find in meditating; knock in mental prayer and it will be opened to you by contemplation."5

The Liturgy of the Church

2655 In the sacramental liturgy of the Church, the mission of Christ and of the Holy Spirit proclaims, makes present, and communicates the mystery of salvation, which is continued in the heart that prays. the spiritual writers sometimes compare the heart to an altar. Prayer internalizes and assimilates the liturgy during and after its celebration. Even when it is lived out "in secret,"6 prayer is always prayer of the Church; it is a communion with the Holy Trinity.7

The theological virtues

2656 One enters into prayer as one enters into liturgy: by the narrow gate of faith. Through the signs of his presence, it is the Face of the Lord that we seek and desire; it is his Word that we want to hear and keep.

2657 The Holy Spirit, who instructs us to celebrate the liturgy in expectation of Christ's return, teaches us - to pray in hope. Conversely, the prayer of the Church and personal prayer nourish hope in us. the psalms especially, with their concrete and varied language, teach us to fix our hope in God: "I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry."8 As St. Paul prayed: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."9

2658 "Hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."10 Prayer, formed by the liturgical life, draws everything into the love by which we are loved in Christ and which enables us to respond to him by loving as he has loved us. Love is the source of prayer; whoever draws from it reaches the summit of prayer. In the words of the Cure of Ars:

I love you, O my God, and my only desire is to love you until the last breath of my life. I love you, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving you, than live without loving you. I love you, Lord, and the only grace I ask is to love you eternally.... My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love you, I want my heart to repeat it to you as often as I draw breath.11

"Today"

2659 We learn to pray at certain moments by hearing the Word of the Lord and sharing in his Paschal mystery, but his Spirit is offered us at all times, in the events of each day, to make prayer spring up from us. Jesus' teaching about praying to our Father is in the same vein as his teaching about providence:12 time is in the Father's hands; it is in the present that we encounter him, not yesterday nor tomorrow, but today: "O that today you would hearken to his voice! Harden not your hearts."13

2660 Prayer in the events of each day and each moment is one of the secrets of the kingdom revealed to "little children," to the servants of Christ, to the poor of the Beatitudes. It is right and good to pray so that the coming of the kingdom of justice and peace may influence the march of history, but it is just as important to bring the help of prayer into humble, everyday situations; all forms of prayer can be the leaven to which the Lord compares the kingdom.14

IN BRIEF

2661 By a living transmission -Tradition - the Holy Spirit in the Church teaches the children of God to pray.

2662 The Word of God, the liturgy of the Church, and the virtues of faith, hope, and charity are sources of prayer.

Article 2

THE WAY OF PRAYER

2663 In the living tradition of prayer, each Church proposes to its faithful, according to its historic, social, and cultural context, a language for prayer: words, melodies, gestures, iconography. the Magisterium of the Church15 has the task of discerning the fidelity of these ways of praying to the tradition of apostolic faith; it is for pastors and catechists to explain their meaning, always in relation to Jesus Christ.

Prayer to the Father

2664 There is no other way of Christian prayer than Christ. Whether our prayer is communal or personal, vocal or interior, it has access to the Father only if we pray "in the name" of Jesus. the sacred humanity of Jesus is therefore the way by which the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray to God our Father.

Prayer to Jesus

2665 The prayer of the Church, nourished by the Word of God and the celebration of the liturgy, teaches us to pray to the Lord Jesus. Even though her prayer is addressed above all to the Father, it includes in all the liturgical traditions forms of prayer addressed to Christ. Certain psalms, given their use in the Prayer of the Church, and the New Testament place on our lips and engrave in our hearts prayer to Christ in the form of invocations: Son of God, Word of God, Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, King, Beloved Son, Son of the Virgin, Good Shepherd, our Life, our Light, our Hope, our Resurrection, Friend of mankind....

2666 But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. the divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity the Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: "Jesus," "YHWH saves."16 The name "Jesus" contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray "Jesus" is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.17

2667 This simple invocation of faith developed in the tradition of prayer under many forms in East and West. the most usual formulation, transmitted by the spiritual writers of the Sinai, Syria, and Mt. Athos, is the invocation, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners." It combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light.18 By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior's mercy.

2668 The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases,19but holds fast to the word and "brings forth fruit with patience."20 This prayer is possible "at all times" because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus.

2669 The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior's steps. the stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world.

"Come, Holy Spirit"

2670 "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit."21 Every time we begin to pray to Jesus it is the Holy Spirit who draws us on the way of prayer by his prevenient grace. Since he teaches us to pray by recalling Christ, how could we not pray to the Spirit too? That is why the Church invites us to call upon the Holy Spirit every day, especially at the beginning and the end of every important action.

If the Spirit should not be worshiped, how can he divinize me through Baptism? If he should be worshiped, should he not be the object of adoration?22

2671 The traditional form of petition to the Holy Spirit is to invoke the Father through Christ our Lord to give us the Consoler Spirit.23 Jesus insists on this petition to be made in his name at the very moment when he promises the gift of the Spirit of Truth.24 But the simplest and most direct prayer is also traditional, "Come, Holy Spirit," and every liturgical tradition has developed it in antiphons and hymns.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.25 
Heavenly King, Consoler Spirit, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere and filling all things, treasure of all good and source of all life, come dwell in us, cleanse and save us, you who are All Good.26

2672 The Holy Spirit, whose anointing permeates our whole being, is the interior Master of Christian prayer. He is the artisan of the living tradition of prayer. To be sure, there are as many paths of prayer as there are persons who pray, but it is the same Spirit acting in all and with all. It is in the communion of the Holy Spirit that Christian prayer is prayer in the Church.

In communion with the holy Mother of God

2673 In prayer the Holy Spirit unites us to the person of the only Son, in his glorified humanity, through which and in which our filial prayer unites us in the Church with the Mother of Jesus.27

2674 Mary gave her consent in faith at the Annunciation and maintained it without hesitation at the foot of the Cross. Ever since, her motherhood has extended to the brothers and sisters of her Son "who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties."28 Jesus, the only mediator, is the way of our prayer; Mary, his mother and ours, is wholly transparent to him: she "shows the way" (hodigitria), and is herself "the Sign" of the way, according to the traditional iconography of East and West.

2675 Beginning with Mary's unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the holy Mother of God, centering it on the person of Christ manifested in his mysteries. In countless hymns and antiphons expressing this prayer, two movements usually alternate with one another: the first "magnifies" the Lord for the "great things" he did for his lowly servant and through her for all human beings29 The second entrusts the supplications and praises of the children of God to the Mother of Jesus, because she now knows the humanity which, in her, the Son of God espoused.

2676 This twofold movement of prayer to Mary has found a privileged expression in the Ave Maria: 
Hail Mary [or Rejoice, Mary]: the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer. It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her.30 
Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: These two phrases of the angel's greeting shed light on one another. Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. the grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace. "Rejoice . . . O Daughter of Jerusalem . . . the Lord your God is in your midst."31 Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is "the dwelling of God . . . with men."32 Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world. 
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. After the angel's greeting, we make Elizabeth's greeting our own. "Filled with the Holy Spirit," Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary "blessed."33 "Blessed is she who believed...."34 Mary is "blessed among women" because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's word. Abraham. because of his faith, became a blessing for all the nations of the earth.35 Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God's own blessing: Jesus, the "fruit of thy womb."

2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, "and why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"36 Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: "Let it be to me according to your word."37 By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: "Thy will be done." 
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the "Mother of Mercy," the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. and our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender "the hour of our death" wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son's death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing38 to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.

2678 Medieval piety in the West developed the prayer of the rosary as a popular substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours. In the East, the litany called the Akathistos and the Paraclesis remained closer to the choral office in the Byzantine churches, while the Armenian, Coptic, and Syriac traditions preferred popular hymns and songs to the Mother of God. But in the Ave Maria, the theotokia, the hymns of St. Ephrem or St. Gregory of Narek, the tradition of prayer is basically the same.

2679 Mary is the perfect Orans (prayer), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes,39 for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. the prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.40

IN BRIEF

2680 Prayer is primarily addressed to the Father; it can also be directed toward Jesus, particularly by the invocation of his holy name: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners."

2681 "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord', except by the Holy Spirit" ( 1 Cor 12:3). the Church invites us to invoke the Holy Spirit as the interior Teacher of Christian prayer.

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.

Article 3

GUIDES FOR PRAYER

A cloud of witnesses

2683 The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom,41 especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were "put in charge of many things."42 Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.

2684 In the communion of saints, many and varied spiritualities have been developed throughout the history of the churches. the personal charism of some witnesses to God's love for men has been handed on, like "the spirit" of Elijah to Elisha and John the Baptist, so that their followers may have a share in this spirit.43 A distinct spirituality can also arise at the point of convergence of liturgical and theological currents, bearing witness to the integration of the faith into a particular human environment and its history. the different schools of Christian spirituality share in the living tradition of prayer and are essential guides for the faithful. In their rich diversity they are refractions of the one pure light of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is truly the dwelling of the saints and the saints are for the Spirit a place where he dwells as in his own home since they offer themselves as a dwelling place for God and are called his temple.44

Servants of prayer

2685 The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. Based on the sacrament of marriage, the family is the "domestic church" where God's children learn to pray "as the Church" and to persevere in prayer. For young children in particular, daily family prayer is the first witness of the Church's living memory as awakened patiently by the Holy Spirit.

2686 Ordained ministers are also responsible for the formation in prayer of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Servants of the Good Shepherd, they are ordained to lead the People of God to the living waters of prayer: the Word of God, the liturgy, the theological life (the life of faith, hope, and charity), and the Today of God in concrete situations.45

2687 Many religious have consecrated their whole lives to prayer. Hermits, monks, and nuns since the time of the desert fathers have devoted their time to praising God and interceding for his people. the consecrated life cannot be sustained or spread without prayer; it is one of the living sources of contemplation and the spiritual life of the Church.

2688 The catechesis of children, young people, and adults aims at teaching them to meditate on the Word of God in personal prayer, practicing it in liturgical prayer, and internalizing it at all times in order to bear fruit in a new life. Catechesis is also a time for the discernment and education of popular piety.46 The memorization of basic prayers offers an essential support to the life of prayer, but it is important to help learners savor their meaning.

2689 Prayer groups, indeed "schools of prayer," are today one of the signs and one of the driving forces of renewal of prayer in the Church, provided they drink from authentic wellsprings of Christian prayer. Concern for ecclesial communion is a sign of true prayer in the Church.

2690 The Holy Spirit gives to certain of the faithful the gifts of wisdom, faith and discernment for the sake of this common good which is prayer (spiritual direction). Men and women so endowed are true servants of the living tradition of prayer.

According to St. John of the Cross, the person wishing to advance toward perfection should "take care into whose hands he entrusts himself, for as the master is, so will the disciple be, and as the father is so will be the son." and further: "In addition to being learned and discreet a director should be experienced.... If the spiritual director has no experience of the spiritual life, he will be incapable of leading into it the souls whom God is calling to it, and he will not even understand them."47

Places favorable for prayer

2691 The church, the house of God, is the proper place for the liturgical prayer of the parish community. It is also the privileged place for adoration of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. the choice of a favorable place is not a matter of indifference for true prayer. 
- For personal prayer, this can be a "prayer corner" with the Sacred Scriptures and icons, in order to be there, in secret, before our Father.48 In a Christian family, this kind of little oratory fosters prayer in common. 
- In regions where monasteries exist, the vocation of these communities is to further the participation of the faithful in the Liturgy of the Hours and to provide necessary solitude for more intense personal prayer.49 
- Pilgrimages evoke our earthly journey toward heaven and are traditionally very special occasions for renewal in prayer. For pilgrims seeking living water, shrines are special places for living the forms of Christian prayer "in Church."

IN BRIEF

2692 In prayer, the pilgrim Church is associated with that of the saints, whose intercession she asks.

2693 The different schools of Christian spirituality share in the living tradition of prayer and are precious guides for the spiritual life.

2694 The Christian family is the first place for education in prayer.

2695 Ordained ministers, the consecrated life, catechesis, prayer groups, and "spiritual direction" ensure assistance within the Church in the practice of prayer.

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.

 第三章 祈禱生活

2697. 祈禱是新生之心的生活。它應該時常激發我們。雖然天主是我們的生命和 一切,我們卻常忘記祂。為此,秉承了申命紀和先知傳統的靈修教父,再 三強調祈禱是「思念天主」,是「心靈的記憶」頻頻的覺醒:「我們思念 天主要比呼吸次數多」 。可是,如果我們沒有在特定的時間渴望祈禱,我 們是不能「經常」祈禱的。這些特定的時間,無論在質和量方面,都是基 督徒祈禱的重要時刻。

2698. 教會聖傳向信友提供祈禱的節奏,以培養連貫的祈禱。有些是每天的,例 如早晚課、飯前和飯後的祈禱、時辰禮儀。以感恩祭為中心的主日,主要 是透過祈禱而得以聖化。禮儀年的週期和大的慶節也是基督徒祈禱生活的 基本節奏。

2699. 上主以祂喜悅的途徑和方式引導每一個人,每一位信友也是依照自己的決 心和個人祈禱的表達方式來作回應。不過,基督徒傳統保留了三種主要的 表達:口禱、默想和心禱。它們有一個共同點:心靈的收歛。警醒地保存 聖言和居住在天主親臨中,能使這三種表達成為祈禱生活的強勁時間(強 拍)。

第一條 祈禱的各種表達

一、口禱

2700. 天主透過祂的聖言向人說話。我們的祈禱藉著心裡想的或口中講的言語而 具體化。不過,最重要的還是聚精會神,凝視在祈禱中與我們交談的那一 位:「我們的祈禱是否被垂聽,並不在於說話的多少,而是在於我們心靈 的熱切」。

 2701. 口禱是基督徒生活的基本要素。雖然門徒們被他們師傅的靜默祈禱所吸 引,但是,耶穌仍然教他們口禱的經文:「我們的天父」。祂不但在會堂 中高聲誦唸禮儀的祈禱,而且福音指出祂也大聲地作祂個人的祈禱,從頌 揚天父的喜悅到革責瑪尼園祈禱的憂傷。

2702. 內在的祈禱配合感官的這種需要, 符合我們人性的要求。我們是由靈魂和 肉身所組成的,因此,我們感覺到需要將我們的感受形之於外。我們須以 我們整個的存在祈禱,好能全力作懇求。

2703. 這需要也符合一個出自天主的要求。天主尋找以真理和心神的朝拜者,因 此祂尋找發自靈魂深處的生動祈禱。祂要求那連結肉身與內在祈禱的外在 表達,因為這表達給祂帶來祂對一切應得的完美崇敬。

2704. 由於口禱是外在的和完全合乎人性的祈禱,因此,它是一種最適合群眾的 祈禱方式。縱使最內在的祈禱,也不該忽視口禱。只有當我們意識到「我 們向祂說話」的那位時,祈禱才變為內在的。因此,口禱是心禱的初階。 二、默想

2705. 默想主要是一種探索。心靈尋求了解基督徒生活的目的和途徑,好能依附 和回應上主的要求。默想所要求的專心是很難維持的。通常我們求助於書 本,而基督徒在這方面並不匱乏:有聖經,特別是福音書,聖相,每日或 時節的禮儀經文,靈修教父的著作,靈修學作品,大自然這本偉大的書, 以及歷史書,即天主的「今天」之頁。

2706. 默想我們所閱讀的,並將我們自己與之對照,幫助我們將之化為己有。這 樣另一本書,即生活之書便被打開。我們從思想進入實際。只要我們謙遜 和充滿信德,我們會在默想中發現那些推動內心的活動,並能對它們加以 辨別。辨別在於踐行真理,好能來到「光明」那裡:「主,祢要我做甚 麼」?

2707. 默想方法的不同,一如靈修導師的不同。基督徒應有規律地作默想,不然 便相似撒種比喻中的前三類場地。然而方法只不過是指引:重要的是偕同 聖神在祈禱的唯一道路上前進,這道路就是耶穌基督。

2708. 默想運用思維、想像、情感和渴望。動員這些官能是必需的,為能深化我 們信仰的信念,激起我們內心的皈依,並強化我們跟隨基督的意願。基督 徒的祈禱以默想「基督的奧跡」為優先,就如在誦讀聖言 (lectio divina) 或 玫瑰經中所作的那樣。這種祈禱中的反省方式很有價值,但基督徒祈禱應 更上一層樓:認識耶穌基督的愛,並與祂結合為一。

三、心禱

2709. 甚麼是心禱?聖女大德蘭答說:「依我的見解,心禱無異於朋友間的密 談;意思就是經常單獨與我們深知那愛我們的天主交談」。 心禱尋求「我心所愛的那一位」(歌 1:7)2,就是尋求耶穌並在祂內尋求 父。我們尋求祂,因為對祂的渴望常是愛的開端;在純正的信德中尋求 祂,這信德使我們由祂而重生,並在祂內生活。在心禱中仍可默想,但注 意力集中在主身上。

2710. 心禱的時刻和時間長短的選擇,是來自堅定的意志,它披露內心的秘密。 做心禱不只因為有時間,而是騰出時間,與主會晤。無論甚麼考驗與枯 燥,都不會改變決心而收回時間。人不能時常默想,但常可以進入心禱, 完全不為健康情況、工作或情緒所左右。在貧乏和信德中,內心是這種尋 求和與主相遇的地方。

2711. 進入心禱與參與感恩祭相似:收歛心神,在聖神的推動下集中我們整個的 存在,住在上主的居所,即我們自身,並喚醒信德,好能進到等待我們的 那位面前;卸下面具,回心歸向那愛我們的主,為將我們呈獻給祂,猶如 一分要淨化和轉化的獻禮。

2712. 心禱是天主子女的祈禱,是罪過蒙赦免者的祈禱,他同意去接受那分愛他 的愛。他希望愛得更深,來回應這愛。但是他明白他的還愛是聖神傾注在 他內心的,因為一切都是天主的恩寵。心禱就是以虛懷若谷之心,把自己 完全交託於父的愛的意願,日益與祂鍾愛之子密切結合。

2713. 心禱是祈禱奧秘的最單純表現。它是一分禮物,一分恩寵,只能以虛懷若 谷之心來接受。心禱是天主在我們內心所建立的一分盟約關係。心禱是共 融,在這共融裡,聖三使人──天主的肖象,「肖似祂的模樣」。

2714. 心禱也是祈禱中最卓越的強勁時間 (強拍)。在這祈禱中,天父「藉著聖神以 祂的大能強化我們內在的人,並使基督因著信德住在我們心內,使我們在 愛德上根深蒂固」(弗 3:16-17)。

2715. 默觀是以耶穌為焦點的信德的凝視。「祂望著我,我望著祂」: 這是一位亞爾斯農民向其本堂神父提及他在聖體櫃前祈禱的情 況。專心注意祂就是捨棄「自我」。祂的注視潔淨我們的心;祂 注視的光輝照亮我們的心目,教導我們在其真理及其憐憫眾生之 情的光照下去看一切事物。默觀也注視基督生活的奧跡。如此它 叫人學習「對主的內在認識」,為更愛祂,更跟隨祂。

2716. 心禱是聆聽天主聖言。這聆聽並不是被動的,而是信德的服從,僕人的無 條件接受和子女之情的依附。它參與成為奴僕的聖子的「是」和天主謙遜 婢女的「爾旨承行」。

2717. 心禱是沉默,是「未來世界的象徵」或「無聲之愛」。心禱中的言語並不 是說話;而是好像使愛情之火得以燃燒的木柴。就是在這為「虛浮」的人 無法忍受的沉默中,天父向我們講述祂聖言的降生、受苦、死而復活;孝 愛之神使我們分享耶穌的祈禱。

2718. 心禱就其使我們參與基督的奧跡而論,是與基督祈禱的結合。教會在感恩 祭中慶祝基督的奧跡,聖神則使之活現在我們的心禱中,為使奧跡在愛德 行動中彰顯出來。

2719. 心禱就其同意留在信德的黑夜中而論,是愛的共融,它會將「生命」帶給 眾人。復活的逾越之夜要先經歷痛苦和墓穴之夜,這是耶穌的時辰中三個 重要時刻,祂的聖神 (不是軟弱的肉身) 使之活現在心禱中。我們應甘願 「與祂醒寤一個時辰 」。

 撮要
2720. 教會勸勉信徒作定時的祈禱:每日的祈禱,時辰頌禱禮,主日感恩祭,禮 儀年的慶節。

2721. 基督徒傳統中的祈禱生活,包括三個主要的表達方式:口禱、默想和心 禱。三者的共通之處,是收歛心神。

2722. 按人性來說,精神和身體是合而為一的,基於此,口禱將身體和內心的祈 禱聯繫一起,以基督為榜樣,祂向天父祈禱,也教導門徒以「我們的天 父」祈禱。

2723. 默想是在祈禱中運用思考、想像、情感、渴望所作的探索。其目的是把所 默想的對象,面對自己的實際生活,在信仰中化為己有。

2724. 心禱是祈禱奧秘的一種淳樸的表達,是對基督的信德凝視,是對聖言的聆 聽和默默的愛意。心禱使人與基督的祈禱連結在一起,而至使我們參與基 督的奧跡。

 第二條 祈禱的戰鬥

2725. 祈禱是一分恩寵,也是我們一分決心的回應,因此,它常需要一分努力。 基督之前,舊約中的祈禱大師,一如天主之母及偕同基督的諸聖一樣,都 教導我們:祈禱是一場戰鬥。對抗誰呢?對抗我們自己和誘惑者的詭計; 誘惑者盡其所能使人離棄祈禱及與天主的合一。我們怎樣生活就怎樣祈 禱,因為怎樣祈禱就怎樣生活。如果我們不願慣常地依照基督之神而行 動,我們就不能慣常地因祂的名而祈禱。基督徒新生命的「屬靈戰鬥」與 祈禱的戰鬥是分不開的。 一、反對祈禱的論點 反對祈禱的論點

2726. 在祈禱的戰鬥中,我們需要面對自己和我們周圍的人,對祈禱所懷有的錯 誤看法。有人視祈禱為一種簡單的心理活動,另有人看之為達到空虛境界 的收歛工夫,也有人將祈禱歸納為禮儀經文或姿勢。很多基督徒則無意識 地認為祈禱與他們的當行事務互不相容:他們沒有時間。那些以祈禱去尋 求天主的人,有時很快便失去勇氣,因為他們不知道祈禱也是來自聖神, 而不只是靠他們自己。

2727. 我們也要面對一些「現世」的意識型態,如果我們不警醒,它們會滲透我 們的生活。例如:只有那些能為理性和科學所証實的才是真理(而祈禱則是 一個超越我們有意識和無意識心境的奧秘);價值是在於生產和報酬(不事生 產的祈禱便一無是處)。享樂主義和安逸是真、善、美的標準 (但是,祈禱 ──美的追求,則鍾情於那生活而真實的天主的光榮)。也有人視祈禱為一 種反對行動主義的遁世行為(但是,基督徒祈禱既不逃避歷史實況,也不脫 離現實生活)。

2728. 最後,我們的戰鬥要面對我們在祈禱中的挫敗經驗:經歷枯燥時的沮喪; 未能完全交託給上主而難過,因為我們有「很多產業」;我們的意願未被 垂聽而感到失望;我們的驕傲受傷,使我們身為罪人的不配之心更加硬 化;對「祈禱是一分不勞而獲的恩賜」感到厭惡等等。結論常是一樣:祈 禱有甚麼用?要克服這些障礙,我們必須為謙遜、信心和恆心而戰鬥。 二、心的謙卑警醒 面對祈禱的困難

2729. 祈禱常見的困難是分心。它能影響口禱時的用字及其意義;更深一層,它 能涉及口禱(禮儀的或個人的)、默想和心禱的祈禱對象。盡力驅逐分心,就 等於自投羅網,因此,只須返回自己的內心就夠了: 分心正向我們揭示我 們所依戀的是甚麼,而這分在主前的謙卑意識,應喚醒我們要優先愛祂, 並立志向祂獻出我們的心,求祂淨化。因此,戰鬥就在這裡:要抉擇事奉 那位作主人。

2730. 從積極方面來說,跟具有佔有慾和統治慾的自我去戰鬥,需要警醒和心靈 的自制。當耶穌強調警醒時,這警醒常與祂自己有關:祂在末日的來臨, 每天的來臨,「今天」的來臨。新郎半夜來臨;那不應熄滅的光就是信德 之光:「論及你,我的心靈曾說,『尋求祂的儀容 』」(詠 27:8)!

2731. 特別對那些真誠願意祈禱的人來說,另一個困難就是枯燥。枯燥屬於心禱 的一部分。在枯燥時,心靈好似與天主分離,對思想、記憶、情感,甚至 對屬靈的事物都感到乏味。這正是信德要真實地表現的時刻:忠誠地伴隨 耶穌進入痛苦中和到墓穴裡。「一粒麥子如果不落在地裡死了,仍只是一 粒;如果死了,才結出許多子粒來」(若 12:24)。如果枯燥是因聖言落在石 頭上而沒有根的緣故,那這戰鬥便要求皈依。 面對祈禱中的誘惑

2732. (祈禱時)最普遍而又最不為人察知的誘惑是缺乏信德。它很少表達在明認的 不信上,而更是在我們的實際作為的取向上。當我們開始祈禱的時候,成 千上萬被認為是緊急的工作或焦慮,會優先出現在眼前。再說一次,這為 心靈是要面對真理的時刻:究竟甚麼是它的真愛。有時我們轉向上主作為 最後的憑藉:但真的如此相信嗎?有時我們以上主作盟友,但我們的心仍 在自恃中。在這一切境況中,我們的缺乏信德顯示我們仍未到達心謙的境 界:「離了我,你們甚麼也不能作」(若 15:5)。

2733. 傲慢自負替另一種誘惑開了路,那就是懈怠。靈修教父以此名詞來表示因 靈修功夫的鬆懈、警醒的低落、心靈的漫不經心而導致的消沉。「心神固 然切願,但肉體卻軟弱 」(瑪 26:41)。自恃越高,跌得越痛。沮喪的痛苦是 自負的另一面。謙遜的人不會對自己的可憐感到驚奇,反而會促使他更加 信賴,更堅定不移。 三、子女般的信賴

2734. 子女般的信賴在磨難中得到驗証(自我考驗)。最主要的困難是有關求恩祈 禱:為自己或為他人代禱。有人以為他們的祈求未蒙垂允,就停止祈禱。 在此有兩個問題:為甚麼我們以為祈求未蒙垂允?我們的祈禱怎樣算是蒙 垂允是「有效」? 我們為何抱怨未蒙垂允?

2735. 首先,我們應對這一發現感到驚訝:一般來說,當我們讚美天主或感謝祂 的恩惠時,我們不怎樣擔心我們的祈禱是否中悅祂。反之,我們要求見到 我們求恩的結果。那麼,是甚麼形象的天主推動我們去祈禱:是一件被利 用的工具?或是我們的主耶穌基督的父?

2736. 我們是否深信「我們不知道我們如何祈求才對」(羅 8:26)?我們向天主祈 求的是「合宜的事物」嗎?我們的父在我們求祂以前,已知道我們的需 要,但祂等待我們祈求,因為祂子女的尊嚴是在於他們的自由。因此,我 們要聯同祂的自由之神祈禱,好能真正洞悉祂的心願。

2737. 「你們得不到,是因為你們不求;你們求而不得,是因為你們求的不當, 想要浪費在你們的淫樂中」(雅 4:2-3)。如果我們以一顆分散的心,「淫 亂」的心去祈求(雅 4:4),天主一定不會答應我們,因為祂渴望的是我們的 益處,我們的生命。「『天主以嫉妒愛慕祂在我們內所安置的聖神,』你 們以為聖經的這句話是白說的嗎?」(雅 4:5)我們的天主「嫉妒」我們,這 正表現出祂的愛是何等真實。如果我們進入祂聖神的渴望中,自會獲得垂 允。 聖奧思定,《書信集》:你若沒有立刻獲得你向天主所求的,切勿自擾;因了你恆心不懈 而同祂停留在祈禱中,祂願意賜給你更大的好處。天主要我們的願望在祈禱中受到考驗, 原是在準備我們來接受祂已準備好要賞給我們的恩惠。 如何使我們的祈禱有效

2738. 在救恩史中,祈禱的啟示教導我們,信德是以天主在歷史中的行動為基 礎。子女般的信賴是由天主的卓越行動所激發:就是祂聖子的苦難和復 活。基督徒的祈禱就是與天主的眷顧和祂愛的計劃相配合。

2739. 對聖保祿來說,這信賴是大膽的,它建基於聖神在我們內的祈禱和天父始 終不渝的慈愛上,因祂將獨生子賜給了我們。對我們所求恩惠的首先答 覆,是使祈禱的心有轉化。

2740. 耶穌的祈禱使基督信友的祈禱成為有實效的祈求。祂是祈禱的典範。祂在 我們內並偕同我們祈禱。既然聖子的心只尋求父所喜悅的,那麼,子女的 祈禱又怎能太集中在恩惠上而超過施恩者呢?

2741. 耶穌也為我們祈禱,祂代替我們、並為我們的利益祈禱。我們所有的祈求 都一次而永遠地被收納在十字架上的吶喊內,並在祂的復活中,已蒙天父 垂允,為此,祂從未終止為我們向天父祈求。如果我們的祈禱在子女般的 大膽信賴中,牢不可破地與耶穌的祈禱結合在一起,我們將獲得因祂的名 所求的一切,甚至比任何個別事物還要多:天主聖神自己,祂擁有一切恩 惠。

四、在愛中恆心不渝 在愛中恆心不渝

2742. 「不斷祈禱」(得前 5:17),「為一切事,要因我們的主耶穌基督的名時時感 謝天主父」(弗 5:20),「時時靠著聖神,以各種祈求和哀禱祈禱;且要醒寤 不倦,為眾聖徒祈求」(弗 6:18)。因為「我們並沒有受命不斷工作、警醒和 守齋,但根據規定,我們要不斷祈禱」。這種不倦的熱忱只能源自愛。為 抵抗我們的慣性和惰性,祈禱的戰鬥就是一場謙遜之愛、信賴和持久之愛 的戰鬥。這愛使我們的心向著三個清晰而賦予生命的信德事實開放。

2743. 時時都可以祈禱 時時都可以祈禱:基督徒的時間就是復活基督的時間,無論有怎樣的狂風 巨浪,祂都「天天同我們在一起」(瑪 28:20)。我們的時間是在天主手裡: 金口聖若望,《講道選集》:走在街市或獨自散步時,在商店中,在買、賣時,甚至在廚 房作飯時,都可以經常而熱心的祈禱。

2744. 祈禱是基本的需要。反面的証據也有同樣的說服力:如果我們不讓聖神引 領我們,我們會再墮入罪惡的奴役中。如果我們的心遠離聖神,祂怎能是 「我們的生命」呢? 金口聖若望,《講論聖亞納的道理》:沒有任何事物可以與祈禱的價值相比;祈禱能使不 可能的成為可能,使困難變成容易。祈禱的人不可能故意犯罪。 聖亞豐索•力戈里,《論祈禱之方法》:祈禱的人一定得救;不祈禱的人一定喪亡受罰。

2745. 基督徒的生活與祈禱是密不可分的,因為它們關係到同樣的愛和同樣發自 愛的自我捨棄。以同樣的赤子之愛,順從天父的慈愛計劃;在聖神內有同 樣的改變與合一,祂不斷使我們日益肖似耶穌基督。以耶穌愛我們的同樣 之愛來愛眾人。「你們因我的名不論向父求甚麼,祂必賜給你們。這就是 我所命令你們的:你們應該彼此相愛」(若 15:16-17)。 奧利振,《論祈禱》:誰將祈禱與工作,工作與祈禱,在生活中連接起來,他就是在不斷 祈禱。也只有這樣,我們認為不斷祈禱的原則才能得以實現。

耶穌「時辰」的祈禱

2746. 當耶穌的「時辰」來到時,祂就向父祈禱。祂在福音中傳下來的最長禱 詞,包括創造和救贖的整個計劃,就如祂的死亡和復活。耶穌時辰的祈 禱,現在仍常是祂的祈禱,就如祂的「逾越」奧跡一樣,「一次而永遠 地」,常臨在於祂教會的禮儀中。

2747. 基督信仰的傳統很恰當地稱耶穌時辰的祈禱為「司祭」的祈禱。這是我們 大司祭的祈禱,這祈禱和祂的祭獻是分不開的;與祂「逾越」此世而回歸 天父也是分不開的,因為祂完全祝聖自己而獻給父。

2748. 在此逾越祭獻的祈禱中,萬有「總歸」於基督:天主與世界;聖言與血 肉;永生與時間;捨己之愛與對愛不忠之罪;當時身邊的門徒與日後因他 們的宣講而信仰祂的人;被貶抑與受光榮;這的確是合一的祈禱。

2749. 耶穌完成了所有天父的事業;祂的祈禱一如祂的犧牲,伸展到時期的圓 滿。祂這時辰的祈禱充盈「末期」,將末期帶向其圓滿。父把一切都交給 了聖子耶穌,耶穌也將自己完整地還歸於父。 同時,祂以至高的自由,依 據祂由天父所接受而統治一切血肉的權力,表達自己的意思。聖子甘願自 作僕人,卻是主,萬有的統治者 (Pantocrator)。為我們祈禱的大司祭,也在 我們內祈禱,同時又是垂允我們的天主。

2750. 歸屬於主耶穌的聖名之下,我們才能夠從中接受祂教我們的禱詞:「我們 的天父!」祂的大司祭祈禱深深地啟發了「主禱文」的偉大祈求:對天父 的聖名熱切關懷,對其王國(光榮)的熱忱;完成天父的旨意和祂的救恩計 劃;使我們脫免凶惡。

2751. 最後,在此祈禱文中,耶穌啟示並賜給我們對父及子那不可分的「認 識」。這就是祈禱生活的奧秘。

撮要

2752. 祈禱需要努力和奮鬥,對抗我們自己和「誘惑者」的圍攻。祈禱的戰鬥與 「屬靈的戰鬥」是分不開的,為努力不懈地依循基督的聖神而行事,是必 需的:一個人怎樣生活就怎樣祈禱,因為怎樣祈禱就怎樣生活。

2753. 在祈禱的戰鬥中,我們必須面對一些錯誤的見解、不同意識型態的潮流、 我們失敗的經驗。我們必須以謙遜、信賴和恆心,來回應這些誘惑所投下 的疑慮,即祈禱的實效,甚或祈禱的可行性。

2754. 操練祈禱時最大的困難是分心和枯燥,其救藥在於信德、皈依和心靈的警 醒。

2755. 威脅祈禱的兩種常見的誘惑:缺乏信德和懈怠,後者是由於靈修功夫的鬆 懈而導致的一種消沉情況,結果使人沮喪失望。

2756. 當我們感受到天主不常俯聽我們的祈禱時,我們子女般的信賴就會受到考 驗。福音邀請我們自問,我們的祈禱是否符合聖神的渴望。

2757. 「不斷祈禱」(得前 5:17)。時時都可以祈禱。祈禱是一種生活的基本需要。 祈禱和基督徒生活是分不開的。

2758. 耶穌「時辰」的祈禱極恰當地稱為「大司祭的祈禱」,因為這祈禱總合整 個創造和救恩工程,並啟發主禱文中的偉大祈求。
 CHAPTER THREE

THE LIFE OF PRAYER

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 in the Deuteronomic and prophetic traditions 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."1 But we cannot pray "at all times" if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration.

2698 The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours. Sundays, centered on the Eucharist, are kept holy primarily by prayer. the cycle of the liturgical year and its great feasts are also basic rhythms of the Christian's life of prayer.

2699 The Lord leads all persons by paths and in ways pleasing to him, and each believer responds according to his heart's resolve and the personal expressions of his prayer. However, Christian Tradition has retained three major expressions of prayer: vocal meditative, and contemplative. They have one basic trait in common: composure of heart. This vigilance in keeping the Word and dwelling in the presence of God makes these three expressions intense times in the life of prayer.

Article 1

EXPRESSIONS OF PRAYER

I. Vocal prayer

2700 Through his Word, God speaks to man. By words, mental or vocal, our prayer takes flesh. Yet it is most important that the heart should be present to him to whom we are speaking in prayer: "Whether or not our prayer is heard depends not on the number of words, but on the fervor of our souls."2

2701 Vocal prayer is an essential element of the Christian life. To his disciples, drawn by their Master's silent prayer, Jesus teaches a vocal prayer, the Our Father. He not only prayed aloud the liturgical prayers of the synagogue but, as the Gospels show, he raised his voice to express his personal prayer, from exultant blessing of the Father to the agony of Gesthemani.3

2702 The need to involve the senses in interior prayer corresponds to a requirement of our human nature. We are body and spirit, and we experience the need to translate our feelings externally. We must pray with our whole being to give all power possible to our supplication.

2703 This need also corresponds to a divine requirement. God seeks worshippers in Spirit and in Truth, and consequently living prayer that rises from the depths of the soul. He also wants the external expression that associates the body with interior prayer, for it renders him that perfect homage which is his due.

2704 Because it is external and so thoroughly human, vocal prayer is the form of prayer most readily accessible to groups. Even interior prayer, however, cannot neglect vocal prayer. Prayer is internalized to the extent that we become aware of him "to whom we speak;"4 Thus vocal prayer becomes an initial form of contemplative prayer.

II. Meditation

2705 Meditation is above all a quest. the mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking. the required attentiveness is difficult to sustain. We are usually helped by books, and Christians do not want for them: the Sacred Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, holy icons, liturgical texts of the day or season, writings of the spiritual fathers, works of spirituality, the great book of creation, and that of history the page on which the "today" of God is written.

2706 To meditate on what we read helps us to make it our own by confronting it with ourselves. Here, another book is opened: the book of life. We pass from thoughts to reality. To the extent that we are humble and faithful, we discover in meditation the movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: "Lord, what do you want me to do?"

2707 There are as many and varied methods of meditation as there are spiritual masters. Christians owe it to themselves to develop the desire to meditate regularly, lest they come to resemble the three first kinds of soil in the parable of the sower.5 But a method is only a guide; the important thing is to advance, with the Holy Spirit, along the one way of prayer: Christ Jesus.

2708 Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.

III. Contemplative Prayer

2709 What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: "Contemplative prayer [oracion mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us."6 
Contemplative prayer seeks him "whom my soul loves."7 It is Jesus, and in him, the Father. We seek him, because to desire him is always the beginning of love, and we seek him in that pure faith which causes us to be born of him and to live in him. In this inner prayer we can still meditate, but our attention is fixed on the Lord himself.

2710 The choice of the time and duration of the prayer arises from a determined will, revealing the secrets of the heart. One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials and dryness one may encounter. One cannot always meditate, but one can always enter into inner prayer, independently of the conditions of health, work, or emotional state. the heart is the place of this quest and encounter, in poverty ant in faith.

2711 Entering into contemplative prayer is like entering into the Eucharistic liturgy: we "gather up:" the heart, recollect our whole being under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, abide in the dwelling place of the Lord which we are, awaken our faith in order to enter into the presence of him who awaits us. We let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to him as an offering to be purified and transformed.

2712 Contemplative prayer is the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more.8 But he knows that the love he is returning is poured out by the Spirit in his heart, for everything is grace from God. Contemplative prayer is the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son.

2713 Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gift, a grace; it can be accepted only in humility and poverty. Contemplative prayer is a covenant relationship established by God within our hearts.9 Contemplative prayer is a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, "to his likeness."

2714 Contemplative prayer is also the pre-eminently intense time of prayer. In it the Father strengthens our inner being with power through his Spirit "that Christ may dwell in (our) hearts through faith" and we may be "grounded in love."10

2715 Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. "I look at him and he looks at me": this is what a certain peasant of Ars used to say to his holy cure about his prayer before the tabernacle. This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self. His gaze purifies our heart; the light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men. Contemplation also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ. Thus it learns the "interior knowledge of our Lord," the more to love him and follow him.11

2716 Contemplative prayer is hearing the Word of God. Far from being passive, such attentiveness is the obedience of faith, the unconditional acceptance of a servant, and the loving commitment of a child. It participates in the "Yes" of the Son become servant and the Fiat of God's lowly handmaid.

2717 Contemplative prayer is silence, the "symbol of the world to come"12 or "silent love."13 Words in this kind of prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the "outer" man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose; in this silence the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus.

2718 Contemplative prayer is a union with the prayer of Christ insofar as it makes us participate in his mystery. the mystery of Christ is celebrated by the Church in the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit makes it come alive in contemplative prayer so that our charity will manifest it in our acts.

2719 Contemplative prayer is a communion of love bearing Life for the multitude, to the extent that it consents to abide in the night of faith. the Paschal night of the Resurrection passes through the night of the agony and the tomb - the three intense moments of the Hour of Jesus which his Spirit (and not "the flesh [which] is weak") brings to life in prayer. We must be willing to "keep watch with (him) one hour."14

IN BRIEF

2720 The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the feasts of the liturgical year.

2721 The Christian tradition comprises three major expressions of the life of prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplative prayer. They have in common the recollection of the heart.

2722 Vocal prayer, founded on the union of body and soul in human nature, associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart, following Christ's example of praying to his Father and teaching the Our Father to his disciples.

2723 Meditation is a prayerful quest engaging thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. Its goal is to make our own in faith the subject considered, by confronting it with the reality of our own life.

2724 Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery.

Article 2

THE BATTLE OF PRAYER

2725 Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. the great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. the "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.

 

I. Objections to Prayer

2726 In the battle of prayer, we must face in ourselves and around us erroneous notions of prayer. Some people view prayer as a simple psychological activity, others as an effort of concentration to reach a mental void. Still others reduce prayer to ritual words and postures. Many Christians unconsciously regard prayer as an occupation that is incompatible with all the other things they have to do: they "don't have the time." Those who seek God by prayer are quickly discouraged because they do not know that prayer comes also from the Holy Spirit and not from themselves alone.

2727 We must also face the fact that certain attitudes deriving from the mentality of "this present world" can penetrate our lives if we are not vigilant. For example, some would have it that only that is true which can be verified by reason and science; yet prayer is a mystery that overflows both our conscious and unconscious lives. Others overly prize production and profit; thus prayer, being unproductive, is useless. Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful; whereas prayer, the "love of beauty" (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God. Finally, some see prayer as a flight from the world in reaction against activism; but in fact, Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life.

2728 Finally, our battle has to confront what we experience as failure in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness; sadness that, because we have "great possessions,"15 we have not given all to the Lord; disappointment over not being heard according to our own will; wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift; and so forth. the conclusion is always the same: what good does it do to pray? To overcome these obstacles, we must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance.

II. Humble Vigilance of Heart

Facing difficulties in prayer

2729 The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.16

2730 In positive terms, the battle against the possessive and dominating self requires vigilance, sobriety of heart. When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. the bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith: "'Come,' my heart says, 'seek his face!'"17

2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit."18 If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.19

Facing temptations in prayer

2732 The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart: 
"Apart from me, you can do nothing."20

2733 Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. the spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."21 The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. the humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.

III. Filial Trust

2734 Filial trust is tested - it proves itself - in tribulation.22 The principal difficulty concerns the prayer of petition, for oneself or for others in intercession. Some even stop praying because they think their petition is not heard. Here two questions should be asked: Why do we think our petition has not been heard? How is our prayer heard, how is it "efficacious"? 
Why do we complain of not being heard?

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?

2736 Are we convinced that "we do not know how to pray as we ought"?23 Are we asking God for "what is good for us"? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him,24 but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants.25

2737 "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."26 If we ask with a divided heart, we are "adulterers";27 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?'"28 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.29

God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give.30

How is our prayer efficacious?

2738 The revelation of prayer in the economy of salvation teaches us that faith rests on God's action in history. Our filial trust is enkindled by his supreme act: the Passion and Resurrection of his Son. Christian prayer is cooperation with his providence, his plan of love for men.

2739 For St. Paul, this trust is bold, founded on the prayer of the Spirit in us and on the faithful love of the Father who has given us his only Son.31 Transformation of the praying heart is the first response to our petition.

2740 The prayer of Jesus makes Christian prayer an efficacious petition. He is its model, he prays in us and with us. Since the heart of the Son seeks only what pleases the Father, how could the prayer of the children of adoption be centered on the gifts rather than the Giver?

2741 Jesus also prays for us - in our place and on our behalf. All our petitions were gathered up, once for all, in his cry on the Cross and, in his Resurrection, heard by the Father. This is why he never ceases to intercede for us with the Father.32 If our prayer is resolutely united with that of Jesus, in trust and boldness as children, we obtain all that we ask in his name, even more than any particular thing: the Holy Spirit himself, who contains all gifts.

IV. Perservering in Love

2742 "Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father."33 St. Paul adds, "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints."34 For "we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing."35 This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.

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.36 Our time is in the hands of God:

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.37

2744 Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin.38 How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him?

Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy.... For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin.39

 

Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned40

2745 Prayer and Christian life are inseparable, for they concern the same love and the same renunciation, proceeding from love; the same filial and loving conformity with the Father's plan of love; the same transforming union in the Holy Spirit who conforms us more and more to Christ Jesus; the same love for all men, the love with which Jesus has loved us. "Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he [will] give it to you. This I command you, to love one another."41

He "prays without ceasing" who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing.42

Article 3

THE PRAYER OF THE HOUR OF JESUS

2746 When "his hour" came, Jesus prayed to the Father.43 His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection. the prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his Passover "once for all" remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church.

2747 Christian Tradition rightly calls this prayer the "priestly" prayer of Jesus. It is the prayer of our high priest, inseparable from his sacrifice, from his passing over (Passover) to the Father to whom he is wholly "consecrated."44

2748 In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ:45 God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity.

2749 Jesus fulfilled the work of the Father completely; his prayer, like his sacrifice, extends until the end of time. the prayer of this hour fills the end-times and carries them toward their consummation. Jesus, the Son to whom the Father has given all things, has given himself wholly back to the Father, yet expresses himself with a sovereign freedom46 by virtue of the power the Father has given him over all flesh. the Son, who made himself Servant, is Lord, the Pantocrator. Our high priest who prays for us is also the one who prays in us and the God who hears our prayer.

2750 By entering into the holy name of the Lord Jesus we can accept, from within, the prayer he teaches us: "Our Father!" His priestly prayer fulfills, from within, the great petitions of the Lord's Prayer: concern for the Father's name;47 passionate zeal for his kingdom (Glory);48 The accomplishment of the will of the Father, of his plan of salvation;49 and deliverance from evil.50

2751 Finally, in this prayer Jesus reveals and gives to us the "knowledge," inseparably one, of the Father and of the Son,51 which is the very mystery of the life of prayer.

IN BRIEF

2752 Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves and the wiles of the Tempter. the battle of prayer is inseparable from the necessary "spiritual battle" to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ: we pray as we live, because we live as we pray.

2753 In the battle of prayer we must confront erroneous conceptions of prayer, various currents of thought, and our own experience of failure. We must respond with humility, trust, and perseverance to these temptations which cast doubt on the usefulness or even the possibility of prayer.

2754 The principal difficulties in the practice of prayer are distraction and dryness. the remedy lies in faith, conversion, and vigilance of heart.

2755 Two frequent temptations threaten prayer: lack of faith and acedia - a form of depression stemming from lax ascetical practice that leads to discouragement.

2756 Filial trust is put to the test when we feel that our prayer is not always heard. the Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the conformity of our prayer to the desire of the Spirit.

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.

2758 The prayer of the hour of Jesus, rightly called the "priestly prayer" (cf  Jn 17), sums up the whole economy of creation and salvation. It fulfills the great petitions of the Our Father.

   
   
   
   
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