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Catechism of the Catholic Church

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 damned. 40

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

Notes:

33 I Thess 5:17; Eph 5:20.

34 Eph 6:18.

35 Evagrius Ponticus, Pract. 49: PG 40, 1245C.

36 Cf. Mt 28:20; Lk 8:2.4.

37 St. John Chrysostom, Ecloga de oratione 2: PG 63, 585.

38 Cf. Gal 5:16-25.

39 St. John Chrysostom, De Anna 4, 5: PG 54, 666.

40 St. Alphonsus Liguori, Del gran Mezzo della preghiera.

41 Jn 15:16-17.

42 Origen, De orat. 12: PG 11, 452c.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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