Expressing the Catholic Faith
Helpful Resources and Sources
There are many ways to express our Catholic faith. These include prayer, looking to Mary as our model of faith, Eucharistic Adoration, devotions to Mary, the saints and angels, reading sacred scripture, visiting the stations of the cross and observing the many symbols and rituals that comprise the Catholic faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2559) states, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” God desires closeness with us, an intimate relationship. Prayer is communication with God that allows our relationship with Him to develop and grow. Prayer can be public or private - formal or spontaneous. There are many types of prayer but all center on living and experiencing our relationship with the living God. The following is a treasury of Catholic Prayers.
Mary: Our Model of Faith
As Catholics, we turn to Mary, the Mother of God and our mother. Mary’s journey with God was one of deep faith and great trust. She had a grace-filled openness to the mystery of God in her life. We, like Mary, are asked to bring forth a Savior to a weary, hurting world. The mystical body of Christ is pregnant with hope and calls us to be a Christ-bearer to a world desperately in need. It is a world in waiting for our eager and decisive “Yes” to the Lord and our “Yes” to a life of faith, as we are sent forth to follow the example of Mary and follow in the Christ’s footsteps. The following is a treasury of Marian prayers.
Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus Christ. Eucharistic Adoration is the worship, praise, and adoration of Jesus Christ present in the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist is displayed in a special holder called a monstrance, and people come to pray and worship Jesus continually throughout the day and often the night. Christ loves us without limit, and offers Himself to us in the Holy sacrament of the Eucharist. Eucharistic adoration is a way for us to give Jesus love and worship in return. For more information on Eucharistic Adoration and on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, including articles and resources, go to The Real Presence. Adoration at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick is offered every Wednesday. All are welcome to come and spend an hour of quite prayer with our Eucharistic Lord.
Saints: Our Heroes in Faith
The Church has always venerated the saints and set them before us as men and women who lived an exemplary testimony to genuine Christian life while they were alive. They are Catholic disciples of the Lord who lived lives of virtue, faith, charity, and love. They provide a good and clear example for us of what it looks like to live our lives in the service of God. They were human beings like us in all things, even sin, who trusted in God and lived their lives in God’s presence. The saints are not saints because they did great things but rather because they allowed God to accomplish great things through them. Thus a key characteristic of a saint is openness to God. Saints are also models of holiness because they preached and lived the Gospel in their daily lives. Catholics pray to the saints and ask them the mediate on their behalf because the saints are in heaven and close to God. The saints are in God’s presence now but they still remain connected to us as one community of faith. In the same way that we may ask a living person to pray for us, we can ask the same of the saints. It is important to note that we are not praying to the saints as if they have the power to grant our prayers but rather we are asking them to pray with and for us – we are praying through them. We believe the saints are true intercessors for us because they were so close to God on earth, as models of holiness, and now they are even closer to God, as witnesses in heaven. Invocation (asking saints to pray for us) and intercession (knowing that saints pray for us, even without asking) is a form of reverence for God. The following are some Prayers of the Saints.
The rosary has been prayed since the thirteenth century. While meditating on the life of Jesus, one recites the prayers that brings one closer to Him and to His Mother, Mary. Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description." The following are instructions on How to Recite the Rosary.
Stations of the Cross: The Journey of Christ
The Stations of the Cross are a devotion consisting of 14 incidents that mark the condemnation, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus Christ. Each station represents an event that occurred during Jesus' Passion and death at Calvary on Good Friday. The stations depict the journey of Jesus from his condemnation by Pilate to his being laid in the tomb. The 14 stations are marked by pictures, paintings, or carvings often arranged around the inside walls of churches. The Stations are often prayed during Lent, and may be prayed by individuals or groups. The prayer consists of passing from station to station and meditating on each incident through prayer and reflection. This devotion is a good way to walk with Jesus and meditate on his passion and to allow Jesus to walk with us in our daily lives and struggles. The following is an online resource for praying the Stations of the Cross.
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