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Chapter 10: Christian Prayer

Chapter 10: Christian Prayer

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Chapter 10: Christian Prayer

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  1. Chapter 10: Christian Prayer INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM

  2. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) ANTICIPATORY SET Write confidentially for a few minutes about your earliest prayer experiences. How old were you? When did you pray? What did you say? What was the result of your prayer?

  3. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) BASIC QUESTIONS What is prayer? Who is the model of prayer? What are some of the obstacles to prayer? What are the main purposes and expressions of prayer? KEY IDEAS Prayer is a dialogue with God. It is essential for the religious life and is the way we develop, deepen, and sustain our relationship with him. Christ is the model of Christian prayer, revealing both the forms of prayer and the proper interior dispositions necessary to pray well. Prayer is difficult but possible with our perseverance and the help of the Holy Spirit. Four main purposes of prayer are petition, adoration, contrition, and thanksgiving. Three major expressions of prayer are vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplation.

  4. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) FOCUS QUESTIONS Did the Apostles pray before they met Christ? Yes. As observant Jews, they prayed the Shema daily, visited the Temple during the festivals, and were familiar with the Sacred Scriptures. What is the most basic, introductory kind of prayer? The most basic, introductory kind of prayer is to ask God for the things we want. Extension: While this type of prayer is relatively superficial, it is, nonetheless, a valid prayer of petition and a means to begin exploring the deeper heart of prayer. What is at the heart of prayer? Prayer is the way we develop, deepen, and sustain our relationship with God. At its heart, prayer is our dialogue with God.

  5. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) FOCUS QUESTIONS According to St. John Damascene, what is prayer? According to St. John Damascene, prayer is the raising of our minds and hearts to God, or the requesting of good things from him. What is the focus of Christian prayer? The focus of Christian prayer is Christ himself: meditating on his mysteries to get to know him, to love him, and to be united to him.

  6. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the most perfect prayer, according to Christian tradition? The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect prayer, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, and a summary of the whole Gospel, according to Tertullian. According to Christ, what are the proper interior dispositions one should have in prayer? Christ indicated that one should have the interior dispositions of humility, faith, trust, hope, perseverance, and conformity to God’s will. How did Christ express the ideal attitude to prayer in Gethsemane? He prayed to God the Father, “‘Not my will, but thine be done’” (Lk 22:42).

  7. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) GUIDED EXERCISE Jesus is the model of Christian prayer. Work with a partner to list in bullet points as many facts about Jesus’ prayer life as you can, based on this section of the text.

  8. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the “battle of prayer”? The “battle of prayer” is the struggle to pray well and to trust our prayers are effective despite difficulties in prayer. According to Romans 8:26, what role does the Holy Spirit play in the “battle of prayer”? According to this passage, the Holy Spirit helps us and prays for us in times of difficulties in prayer.

  9. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to create and complete a graphic organizer on the “Battle of Prayer,” identifying each of the problems, indicating the origin of the problem and identifying a solution.

  10. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228)

  11. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) FOCUS QUESTIONS What are the four purposes of prayer? The four purposes of prayer are petition, adoration, contrition, and thanksgiving. What is the prayer of petition? It is a request for anything good from God for oneself or anyone else.

  12. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is intercessory prayer? It is prayer on behalf of someone else. What is the prayer of adoration? It is prayer in which one praises and worships God for his greatness and perfection, especially in regard to the mysteries of the Blessed Trinity and the redemption.

  13. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the prayer of contrition? It is the expression of true sorrow for one’s sins or those of another. What is the prayer of thanksgiving? It is gratitude for God’s countless gifts.

  14. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) FOCUS QUESTIONS What are the three major expressions of prayer? The three major expressions of prayer are vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplation. What is vocal prayer? Vocal prayer is the exterior, physical expression of our interior dispositions by means of speech and gesture. It is often a group activity.

  15. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is meditation? Meditation is the active engagement of our thoughts, imagination, emotions, and desires in which we speak to God and God speaks to us. What is contemplation? Contemplation is a wordless, active listening to God.

  16. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) HOMEWORKASSIGNMENT Study Questions 1-2, 4 (p. 242) Workbook Questions 1-11 Read “The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer” through the sidebar “The Mysteries of the Rosary” (pp. 229-233)

  17. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) CLOSURE Write a paragraph defining prayer and explaining its main purposes and forms.

  18. 1. Prayer (pp. 224-228) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Write a letter to a seven-year-old defining and identifying models of prayer, revealing difficulties, and explaining the major purposes of prayer as simply as possible.

  19. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) ANTICIPATORY SET Using a lectionary or Web site, read the readings for the current day. Discusshow the First Reading, Responsorial Psalm, and Gospel seem to interrelate. A Web site with the readings can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/

  20. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) BASIC QUESTIONS What is the greatest prayer? What are the purposes of the Mass? What are some popular prayers and devotions? And what is their purpose? KEY IDEAS The Mass is truly the greatest prayer. The purposes of the Mass are to give glory and honor to God, to build up the faith of the people and instruct them, to respond with faith and love to God’s blessings, and to exercise the priestly office of Christ. Christian piety has developed many popular forms of prayer and devotion, such as the Rosary, to help the faithful live the faith and pray continually.

  21. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) FOCUS QUESTIONS How important is the Mass, according to the Second Vatican Council? The Mass is “the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed” and “font from which all her power flows.” In other words, the Mass is both the source of the Church’s power and the goal toward which that power is directed. What are the purposes of the Mass? The Mass is celebrated to give glory and honor to God, to build up the faith of the people and instruct them, to respond with faith and love to God’s blessings, and to exercise the priestly office of Christ.

  22. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) FOCUS QUESTIONS What does liturgy mean? It means public work performed for the common good (Gr. ergosleiton, or “work of the people”). In the Church it means her public and official worship of God, the highest form of which is the Mass. Why is it appropriate that worship of God be both physical and intellectual? Human beings are creatures comprised of both body and soul and should, therefore, worship God both physically and intellectually.

  23. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to create and complete a table for any three of the many liturgical symbols and gestures used in worship, indicating (1) the name of the symbol or gesture, (2) its meaning, and (3) when it is used.

  24. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233)

  25. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) FOCUS QUESTIONS Why should a person pray always? He or she should pray always to remain constantly in the presence of God. What are some “rhythms of prayer” the Church provides for the faithful? Some examples are the weekly, Sunday liturgy; the cycle of the liturgical year and major feasts; morning and evening prayers; and grace before meals.

  26. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) FOCUS QUESTIONS How does the Church recommend the faithful read the Scriptures? Everyone should read the Scriptures in a spirit of prayer and meditation. This can lead to a meaningful encounter with the Word of God and allow God to speak. What is the Liturgy of the Hours? It is the official, daily prayer of the Church consisting of psalms, prayers, hymns, Scripture readings, and selections from the writings of the Fathers of the Church. It is prayed at specific times throughout the day and is recommended for all Catholics.

  27. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the object of the Rosary? Its object is to meditate on particular moments and mysteries of the lives of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. What are some other popular devotions? Other popular devotions include lectiodivina, a contemplative method for approaching Scripture; novenas, which are prayers repeated over nine days; the Stations of the Cross, which recalls Christ’s Passion; the Chaplet of Divine Mercy; the Angelus, commemorating the Annunciation; the morning offering dedicating the day to God; and grace at meals.

  28. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) GUIDED EXERCISE Pope Bl. John Paul II, who was deeply devoted to the Rosary, said that the faithful could create new mysteries of the Rosary upon which to meditate, and he suggested the addition of the five Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary. Work with a partner to create your own set of five mysteries of the Rosary based on some theme in the life or teachings of Christ. Be sure to include scriptural references for each new mystery.

  29. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 3, 5-6, 9 (p. 242) Practical Exercise 1 (p. 242) Workbook Questions 12-18 Read “Sacramentals” through “Conclusion” (pp. 234-238)

  30. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) CLOSURE Free write about how you might incorporate one or more popular devotions into your daily, spiritual life.

  31. 2. The Mass, Our Greatest Prayer, and Popular Prayers and Devotions (pp. 229-233) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Complete Practical Exercise 1 by researching three popular prayers or devotions.

  32. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) ANTICIPATORY SET Open the class by solemnly making the Sign of the Cross. Then discuss what this sacramental indicates about the Faith of the Church.

  33. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) BASIC QUESTIONS What are sacramentals? What is mortification? KEY IDEAS Sacramentals are holy objects, celebrations, or acts of piety that help direct the mind and heart toward God, enhancing prayer and making a person more receptive to grace. Mortification, or self-denial, is an indispensable means of avoiding sin and growing in virtue so as to live the Christian life.

  34. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is a sacramental? A sacramental is a holy object, celebration, or act of piety that helps direct the mind and heart toward God, enhancing prayer and making a person more receptive to his grace. Do sacramentals directly confer grace like the Sacraments do? No, but by the Church’s prayer, they prepare people to receive grace and dispose them to cooperate with it. Where do the Sacraments and sacramentals draw their power? Both draw their power from the divine grace that flows from the Paschal Mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.

  35. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) GUIDED EXERCISE Create and complete a graphic organizer listing any three sacramentals and describing what the sacramental is and what it means.

  36. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238)

  37. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) GUIDED EXERCISE For the next fourteen Fridays, incorporate the Stations of the Cross into the Opening Prayer.

  38. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) FOCUS QUESTIONS When can a person practice mortification? He or she can practice it frequently or even continually. How can a person mortify him- or herself when it comes to sin? He or she can avoid the “near occasions” of sin by guarding the eyes or biting the tongue.

  39. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) FOCUS QUESTIONS How can a person mortify him- or herself when it comes to innocent pleasures? He or she can deny him- or herself some little thing, like having black coffee instead of with sugar or cream, or getting up with the alarm instead of lounging in bed for a while. How can mortification help a person grow in virtue? He or she can, for example, grow in the virtue of patience by bearing suffering without complaint.

  40. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) FOCUS QUESTIONS What are some mortifications the Church requires of the faithful? Lenten fasting and abstinence and the Communion fast are two examples. What perfects mortification? Mortification is perfected by uniting it with charity. For example, fasting and then donating the money one would have spent on the food unites mortification and charity.

  41. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the root meaning of mortification? Mortification means literally “dying to the flesh.” What is the significance of mortification in the Christian life? Mortification is a means of seeking holiness through self-discipline and self-denial. What is the purpose of mortification? The purpose of mortification is to subdue the body so as to strengthen the soul and to avoid sin.

  42. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 7-8 (p. 242) Practical Exercises 2-3 (p. 242) Workbook Questions 19-24

  43. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) CLOSURE Write a paragraph explaining how popular piety, sacramentals, and mortification contribute to helping you become holier.

  44. 3. Sacramentals and Self-Denial (pp. 234-238) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Identify confidentially one concrete act of mortification you can practice to improve your spiritual or moral life in each of the following areas: 1. to avoid sin; 2. to offer up an innocent pleasure; 3. to offer up an unexpected suffering; and 4. to carry out something required by the Church. Then, indicate some good for which you can offer each mortification with the aim of perfecting it with charity.

  45. THE END