Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

2024: Year of Prayer before Jubilee Year

Did you know that Pope Francis declared this the Year of Prayer? It is a prelude to next year’s Jubilee Year of Hope. At the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on March 28, he stressed the importance of rediscovering our need “to cultivate prayer that is not obligatory and functional, but freely chosen, tranquil and prolonged.” He said, “Let us return to adoration and the prayer of the heart.”

         We certainly need prayer nowadays when our country, Church, and the whole world is in turmoil.

         During Lent we were to practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I adopted two prayer practices. It takes a long walk through long halls to get from my apartment to the Province Center where our chapel, the main dining room, the library, and my office are located. I decided to pray as I walked. Sure, I greeted people and added steps on my Fitbit along the way. But most of those minutes spent walking were “dead time,” which I could put to use by connecting with Jesus.

My other prayer resolution was to pay attention to the words when I prayed at Mass or prayed the Divine Office. Much of the time trying to have my brain stick to the meaning of the words was akin to the expression trying to nail jello to the wall.

         Now that Lent is over, I intend to carry on these two practices. If you prayed more during Lent, you might keep up whatever you did too.

Prayer for Intentions

Many of our prayers are devoted to asking for something. Last night on Call the Midwife Fred was at death’s door. The oldest Sister spent hours in chapel even without eating praying for him. She persuaded the other Sisters and nurses in the house to join her in prayer. Miraculously Fred survived to appear in more episodes.

         A friend of our community was hospitalized with a mysterious infection. She too was on the brink of death and not expected to recover. We were asked to pray for her, and now she is now out of the hospital and in rehab.

         Of course, God doesn’t always see fit to give us what we think is good. He may say “No,” “Wait a while,” “I have a better idea,” or (as Jimmy Carter said), “You’ve got to be kidding.”

We resort to prayers of petition when we are in dire straits, and they are pleasing to God, for they demonstrate faith in him. But they don’t compare to “prayer of the heart.”

Kinds of Prayer for 2024

The Pope is asking for more time spent in prayer and prayer over and above normal prayer. He means time quietly adoring God, loving him, and thanking him. It reminds me of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne whose dream of working with Native Americans was at last fulfilled‑‑but when she too old to do much and unable to master their language. In Kansas she spent hours before the Blessed Sacrament, so much so that the Potawatomi called her “Woman Who Prays Always.” It’s said that one boy spread kernels of corn on the skirt of her habit as she prayed to test whether she moved. When he returned, the kernels were still in place.

         A more modern example of super prayer: One of our Sisters always seems to have a rosary in her hand as I meet her. She said that she aims to pray four Rosaries (all the mysteries) every day. (Our Holy Rule obliges us to pray just one Rosary.)

         What can you do to reinvigorate your prayer life this year? You might spend time before the Blessed Sacrament. St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time that you will spend on earth.” 

Our chapel in Chardon this Easter Week

 Rise earlier in the morning to pray quietly.

Think of God as you are vacuuming, jogging, or preparing a meal.

In the evening, don’t just make an examination of conscience, but review the day and pinpoint “Godwinks.” Then thank God for them.

         The end all and be all of prayer is not to have our wishes granted but to develop a close relationship with the God who loves us and showers us with gifts like our world and its marvels, our bodies with its senses, and the hope of living forever because of the gift of the incarnation.

         Speaking of marvels, on April 8 many of us will enjoy a solar eclipse: a glorious phenomenon. Sights in creation like that touch our hearts, even make us gasp, and prompt us to reflect on our imaginative and powerful Creator.

Three Books on Prayer

I’ve written the following three books with the goal of assisting people to pray better. They are available on Amazon and from me (preferably).

Prayer-Moments for Every Day of the Year. This is a collection of one-line prayers that can be repeated over and over as mantras. Sometimes when you are tired, worried, or in pain, you can’t pray any other way. A mantra makes you realize God’s loving presence.

  • Praying on Empty.  Sometimes as we pray we no longer feel God is there, or we fight distractions. This book offers explanations and remedies. It includes suggestions for renewing your prayer life.

  • A Catholic’s Companion to the Psalms. We pray and sing psalms at Mass. They are prayers God gave us in the Bible. This book explains the psalms and different ways we can pray them.


This video plays “How Great Thou Art” as an instrumental with lyrics against the sky:

• Have you adopted a different way of praying recently? Is so, what?

• Does a way of praying mentioned in this post appeal to you?

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Jesus depends on us to spread the Good News of God’s love, offering the world hope and joy. Mary Kathleen, a Sister of Notre Dame from Chardon, Ohio, responds through writing, speaking, giving retreats, and teaching. Her motto, adopted from Eddie Doherty’s gravesite, is “All my words for the Word.”

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