The Bible speaks often of prayer as an intimate communion and conversation with God. The Church teaches us that there are various forms of prayer, including: prayer of blessing or adoration, prayer of petition, prayer of intercession, prayer of thanksgiving, and prayer of praise.
Meditation is a Christian practice of prayer dating back to the early Church. As the Catechism states: "Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking." By meditating on the Gospels, holy images, liturgical texts, spiritual writings, or "the great book of creation," we come to make our own that which is God's.
Praying with Sacred Scripture
Spiritual reading of Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is an important form of meditation. This spiritual reading is traditionally called lectio divina or divine reading. Lectio divina is prayer over the Scriptures.
Popular devotions are expressions of love and fidelity that arise from the intersection of one's own faith, culture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is important to remember that we understand prayer through our celebration of the Sacraments and in the Liturgy of the Hours. The word liturgy comes from a Greek term meaning "public work or work done on behalf of the people."
A work, then, done by an individual or a group was a liturgy on behalf of the larger community. All the worshipers are expected to participate actively in each liturgy, for this is holy "work," not entertainment or a spectator event. Every liturgical celebration is an action of Christ the High Priest and of his Mystical Body, which is the Church. It therefore requires the participation of the People of God in the work of God.
Liturgy is centered on the Holy Trinity. At every liturgy the action of worship is directed to the Father, from whom all blessings come, through the Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit. We praise the Father who first called us to be his people by sending us his Son as our Redeemer and giving us the Holy Spirit so that we can continue to gather, to remember what God has done for us, and to share in the blessings of salvation.
The liturgical year is made up of six seasons:
- Advent - four weeks of preparation before the celebration of Jesus' birth
- Christmas - recalling the Nativity of Jesus Christ and his manifestation to the peoples of the world
- Lent - a six-week period of penance before Easter
- Sacred Paschal Triduum - the holiest "Three Days" of the Church's year, where the Christian people recall the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus
- Easter - 50 days of joyful celebration of the Lord's resurrection from the dead and his sending forth of the Holy Spirit
- Ordinary Time - divided into two sections (one span of 4-8 weeks after Christmas Time and another lasting about six months after Easter Time), wherein the faithful consider the fullness of Jesus' teachings and works among his people