Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

In His Holy Name—New Post Series

on January 5, 2012

There are some practices in the Catholic Church that I am not used to yet. For example, the Liturgical Year begins around November 27th (on the first day of Advent). Because the Church year begins on Picture from Microsoft OfficeAdvent and not January 1st, I totally missed the Pope’s declaration of the Year of Faith. Apparently, the Year of Faith begun on October 11, 2011 and will go until November 24, 2012. [1, 2] (I find it rather interesting—coincidence or something more?—that I started this blog on October 10, 2011). That’s great that the Pope declared a Year of Faith, but what does it mean?

The Church Liturgical Year rise and falls with the life of Christ. The Liturgical year starts with Christ’s birth, climaxes with the death and resurrection of our Lord, and ends with a reminder of our own mortality and a call to repentance so that we may always be ready for the second coming of Christ. Each month has a particular focus, so it seems natural to me that the year would have a theme as well.

The Year of Faith is the Pope’s call for all people in the Church to study our faith, to learn more, to grow, and to become stronger, so that we can defend it and evangelize others, in particular the people (and countries) who were confirmed Catholic but have left the Church. [2] In his apostolic letter titled Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI states, “… the Church… clasping sinners to her bosom, is at once holy and always in need of purification. The Year of Faith, from this perspective, is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.” [1] His apostolic letter is full of beautiful gems that are worth reading. You can read the entire letter here or highlights and summary by Catholic Online here.

Prayer?

At reading this, I rubbed my hands in anticipation and thought, this is great, it’s the whole reason I started this blog! But where do I begin? January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus (also a feast day on January 3rd). [3] Benedict Baur is quoted on Catholic Culture, “In His name we pray to the Father with assurance of being heard.” [3] It occurred to me, the best place to start anything is in prayer.

Picture from Microsoft OfficeAnd I must admit—I’m not very good at praying. When I was a little girl, I would talk and sing to God all the time, but then I became a teenager and an adult, and somehow I lost that ability. Praying feels awkward. Questions like, ‘Am I talking too much and not listening enough?’, ‘Am I asking for too much and not thanking enough?’, and ‘Is it selfish to be asking so much for me and not much for the rest of the hurting world?’ rise up and then I kind of flounder around like a fish out of water. It was so easy when I was a kid; why isn’t it easy now?

So in light of the Year of Faith, the Holy Name of Jesus, and all those barriers to prayer, here is my next series of posts this month.

  • The first post will be on the five W’s (who, what, when, where and why) of prayer during the week of January 8, 2012.
  • In the second post, I will explore the benefits of structured and spontaneous prayer in the week of January 15, 2012.
  • For the week of January 22, 2012, I will explain the meaning of various Catholic prayers such as Our Father and Hail Mary.
  • The month will wrap up in a list of ways to improve our prayer life.

Happy New Year my friends!

References

[1] Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (11 October 2011), Online

[2] Keith Fournier, The Door of Faith: Pope Calls for Year of Faith, Issues Apostolic Letter (18 October 2011), Online

[3] Catholic Culture, Month of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 2012), Online

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5 responses to “In His Holy Name—New Post Series

  1. cinhosa says:

    For me prayer can seem awkward. Fr. Robert Barron suggests that prayer is elevated language and so it requires practice to speak with God using elevated and reverent language – the mass is one long prayer, for example.

    I have also found that daily prayer provides practice. I read a lot of prayers using iMissal. I think Catholic.org has a prayers section as well. There are many beautiful prayers, written by someone else that use reverent words. Reading these out load transitions my spirit away from the world I am stuck in now and the spiritual world of God.

    • Pamalogist says:

      Thank you for adding to the post. 🙂 That is some great advice. I’ve heard a lot about Fr. Robert Barron and about the iMissal. I will be looking into both this month, I thinks.

      I think it is common for people to feel odd about prayer… Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one, but in truth most people do. I’ve never thought of prayer being an elevated and reverent language. Wonderful thought! Thank you for sharing, and I hope that you will feel compelled to share more on the future posts of these series.

  2. dana doyle says:

    I look forward to reading these posts about prayer. I need to practice (the art) of prayer more myself.

  3. […] This is a continuation of the series of posts on prayer, in particular The Five W’s of Prayer: Part 1.  See also the introductory post, In His Holy Name. […]

  4. […] major question remains. How do we pray? It seems like such a simple thing—just talk to God—and yet I feel no shame in asking this question as it is the very question that the disciples of Jesus asked of […]

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