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walter1234
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« on: November 26, 2012, 06:51:39 AM »

How is the prayer life of the Catholic Church? Do Catholic Christians always pray to God?Do Catholic Christian believe that they are called to pray without ceasing?

What is the difference between the prayer life of Catholic and Orthodoxy?

The ultimate goal of Orthodox Christian is to have communion with God. How about Catholic Christian?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 06:59:45 AM by walter1234 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 02:10:00 PM »

As a disclaimer, I'm no longer Catholic, and I only became Orthodox very recently. But I think it's okay for me to still answer these questions...


How is the prayer life of the Catholic Church? Do Catholic Christians always pray to God?
These are two very different questions. The Catholic Church has a vibrant prayer life, with daily Masses, Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Adoration, and many, many private devotions. The Church encourages the faithful to have an active prayer life, and gives them many opportunities to do so. However, on an individual level, many Catholics struggle to pray, and their prayer life can often be forgotten. I see this as more of a human struggle than a Catholic one.


Do Catholic Christian believe that they are called to pray without ceasing?
Let's take this answer from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Quote
2742 "Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father." 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." 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." 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.
By the way, the fourth and final part of the Catechism is entirely dedicated to the topic of prayer, and the Catechism is a really large book. Prayer is certainly not a neglected topic in the Catholic Church!


What is the difference between the prayer life of Catholic and Orthodoxy?
I know that what you believe affects the prayers you say, the devotions you use, and your approach to prayer, so there would be differences. Again, I'm a very new Orthodox Christian, so maybe I'll notice more striking differences as time goes on... but as of now, I feel like my prayer life comes closer to what the Catholic Church wanted me to have all along. Before I started investigating the Orthodox Church, my prayer life had been stuck in a rut that I couldn't seem to pull out of. Now, it's still slow progress, and it's moving in fits and starts, but I do feel like my spiritual life is moving forward now.

I don't know if you can blame the Catholic Church for my problems with prayer, though. It's probably just me.


The ultimate goal of Orthodox Christian is to have communion with God. How about Catholic Christian?
Back to the Catechism!
Quote
760 God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the "convocation" of men in Christ, and this "convocation" is the Church.
and
Quote
773 In the Church this communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never ends," is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world. "[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. And holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom." Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle." This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine."
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walter1234
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 02:23:24 PM »

Do Orthodox Christians struggle to pray and often forget the prayer life?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 02:25:02 PM by walter1234 » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 02:50:12 PM »

To expand, (I am Roman Catholic):

There are many prayers of the Roman Catholic Church, however many have fallen into disuse for the parish laity, so that it has been practically reduced to celebrating the Sacraments for many people. Matins and Vesper services come to mind, as well as lots of the blessings for houses, children, cars, etc.

In our private prayer life, ideally we should continually pray to God. I often fail to pray to God however, when I am doing my work (or posting here!  Embarrassed ). We do also have the "prayer" to the Saints, but ideally it is the same as asking any of you to pray for us to God, since the Saints are not dead but alive. Of course there are distortions such that, especially, Mary is the one prayed to and Jesus is forgotten, but that is not what is expected.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, there is also a long series of people that have written that offering your daily work to God makes it the same as a direct prayer to God. Whether this is true, I do not know. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, I believe they have generally kept the necessity of the continuous prayer of the heart similar to Orthodoxy, and have a similar prayer life.

The mystical theologians, especially the Carmelites St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, have written about the mystical union between the soul and God, the highest stage of prayer, as a mystical marriage. Orthodox wouldn't like it being put that way, being too romantic and a host of other things, but I believe that is the same as the later stages of theosis. In any case it is, we believe, a pure gift from God to reach that state; the soul can only do so much to prepare for it by mental prayer and mortification, and God has to grant the rest through what is called the "dark nights of the sense and spirit". This is where God denies any sensory or spiritual consolations so that the soul is forced to seek Him purely for who He is, rather than what He does. Although that is the goal for all of us Catholics, few reach it, and probably the nature of this state is such that no one would know that someone had reached it, being a state of near-perfect humility above all things. It is also said no human language can express what it is to be in this mystical union, and I only know of it from what I have read, so I doubt I have expressed it properly.
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walter1234
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 02:55:09 PM »

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Mary is the one prayed to and Jesus is forgotten, but that is not what is expected

I think this problem may be caused by rosary prayer.Does orthodox Christian have this problem?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 02:58:02 PM by walter1234 » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 03:10:31 PM »

I'm not sure why that would be the case, Walter. It might be illuminating for you to read some Eastern Orthodox perspective on the rosary; it differs from the Roman Catholic (particularly in the history of how the rosary came to be), but it does not say that there is a problem with the rosary in itself -- only that it has fallen out of use in the Church.

My own particular church does not use it, but I have a hard time imagining objections to it due to its content as related in that article. I will say that one potential issue could be with the meditations, as we are told not to envision things during prayer. But I never used those anyway, even when I was Roman Catholic (I guess I'm "blessed", for lack of a better way to put it, to be largely without the necessary imagination to envision things in prayer in the first place). Just the Hail Mary prayer, which is not in any way problematic. Our Theotokias say as much. Smiley
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 03:11:02 PM by dzheremi » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 05:42:35 PM »

Do Orthodox Christians struggle to pray and often forget the prayer life?

Being received into the Orthodox Church has not made consistent, heartfelt prayer suddenly come easy to me. I still struggle, even to get started. But when I put in the effort, I feel like I'm making progress, and Orthodoxy has so many tools to help me along the way. I've also gotten permission from my priest to do some Catholic devotions that I was reluctant to let go of, because I know they've helped me (but not without him asking some questions first, to make sure that they would be used in an Orthodox way).

Prayer has always been difficult for me. I'm not a natural. If you're concerned because you haven't struggled with prayer in the past, don't worry about my weakness, because it probably won't be an issue for you. If you do struggle, praying will still take work if you become Orthodox, but there are tools to help you.
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 05:51:02 PM »

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Mary is the one prayed to and Jesus is forgotten, but that is not what is expected

I think this problem may be caused by rosary prayer.Does orthodox Christian have this problem?

Negative.  Every Catholic I've ever known, myself included, who prays the rosary uses the Fatima prayer after every decade:

Quote
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

Clearly Jesus is not forgotten and it's only a red herring to say so. 
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 05:51:31 PM »

Do Orthodox Christians struggle to pray and often forget the prayer life?

Being received into the Orthodox Church has not made consistent, heartfelt prayer suddenly come easy to me. I still struggle, even to get started. But when I put in the effort, I feel like I'm making progress, and Orthodoxy has so many tools to help me along the way. I've also gotten permission from my priest to do some Catholic devotions that I was reluctant to let go of, because I know they've helped me (but not without him asking some questions first, to make sure that they would be used in an Orthodox way).

Prayer has always been difficult for me. I'm not a natural. If you're concerned because you haven't struggled with prayer in the past, don't worry about my weakness, because it probably won't be an issue for you. If you do struggle, praying will still take work if you become Orthodox, but there are tools to help you.

I can only say, "Ditto." 
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 07:51:11 PM »

Being received into the Orthodox Church has not made consistent, heartfelt prayer suddenly come easy to me. I still struggle, even to get started. But when I put in the effort, I feel like I'm making progress, and Orthodoxy has so many tools to help me along the way. I've also gotten permission from my priest to do some Catholic devotions that I was reluctant to let go of, because I know they've helped me (but not without him asking some questions first, to make sure that they would be used in an Orthodox way).

Prayer has always been difficult for me. I'm not a natural. If you're concerned because you haven't struggled with prayer in the past, don't worry about my weakness, because it probably won't be an issue for you. If you do struggle, praying will still take work if you become Orthodox, but there are tools to help you.

Amen. You've put into words what I felt as I read this thread.
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walter1234
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2012, 10:51:29 PM »

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Mary is the one prayed to and Jesus is forgotten.


Do Orthodox Christians have this problem in their prayer life?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 10:52:54 PM by walter1234 » Logged
Delphine
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2012, 01:01:32 PM »

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Mary is the one prayed to and Jesus is forgotten.


Do Orthodox Christians have this problem in their prayer life?

Maybe? I haven't been Orthodox long enough to say. But both the Catholic Mass and the Orthodox Liturgy are centered around Christ. The only way you could forget Jesus in either is if you're not actually listening or participating in the life of the Church. Even Mary's most popular titles ("Mother of God", "God Bearer") point to Christ.

One of the problems with memorized prayers and titles is that you can repeat them so often that you lose sight of what they mean. People can know that a prayer focuses on Mary without understanding why, even though the explanation is right there in the prayer! And it's always about God.

On the other hand, you benefit from memorized prayer when you pay attention to what you're saying, taking the opportunity to learn about the faith as you pray. But if you're not being attentive, that benefit is wasted--you'd be just as well served making up your own prayers at that point.

So yes, it's possible that some Orthodox Christians pray to Mary and forget about Jesus, but only if they aren't listening.
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2012, 07:18:47 PM »

Maybe? I haven't been Orthodox long enough to say. But both the Catholic Mass and the Orthodox Liturgy are centered around Christ. The only way you could forget Jesus in either is if you're not actually listening or participating in the life of the Church. Even Mary's most popular titles ("Mother of God", "God Bearer") point to Christ.
Right. I never meant that the Mass itself, or the other public liturgies of the RCC, or even the Rosary, are not Christ centered, only that people in their really private devotions can easily run off and pray to Mary more than Christ if they aren't careful. And that's a function that Mary has many titles in the RCC that don't point directly to Christ, e.g. Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Queen of the Angels, Our Lady of          , Undoer of Knots...the East would have less of an issue for just the reason you mentioned.

Also, when the Mass was in Latin, many would show up to fulfill the obligation, and proceed to say their own prayers (often the Rosary) while the priest was saying Mass. Part of Vatican II's "Sacrosanctum concilium" was to encourage the people to participate in the Mass itself instead while making some minor reforms (with a loophole that liturgical experiments may be conducted to better "inculturate" the Mass in places where it is not widespread) but then everyone went crazy with the Mass reforms to try to please everyone, and so we have what goes on now.
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2012, 02:09:20 AM »

Right. I never meant that the Mass itself, or the other public liturgies of the RCC, or even the Rosary, are not Christ centered, only that people in their really private devotions can easily run off and pray to Mary more than Christ if they aren't careful.

If they're doing that in their "really private devotions", how would you know?

And that's a function that Mary has many titles in the RCC that don't point directly to Christ, e.g. Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Queen of the Angels, Our Lady of         , Undoer of Knots...the East would have less of an issue for just the reason you mentioned.

According to this website, http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/ocrc/2009/06/st-mary-in-the-orthodox-church/, "Queen of the Angels", "Queen of the Saints" are also Orthodox titles for St. Mary.

And according to this website, http://lacopts.org/orthodoxy/our-faith/the-holy-virgin-mary/titles-of-the-holy-theotokos-saint-mary/, the Coptic Orthodox have many, many more titles for St. Mary that don't to "point directly to Christ" by your criteria, such as: "The Beautiful Dove", "The City of God", etc.

FWIW "Star of the Sea" has been a known title for Mary since the 9th century. She's called that because, like Polaris, the "guiding star", she is a reliable guide who leads us to our safe harbor - her Son.  Smiley
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 02:11:53 AM by theistgal » Logged

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