Liturgical Prayer: United with the Entire Church

Praying handsLast week, this article described the importance of prayer and recommended several types of prayer. This article and the next one will comment on four specific ways to deepen one’s prayer life: increased devotion to the Eucharist; the Liturgy of the Hours; the rosary; and lectio divina, which is a meditative reading of Scriptures.

The Eucharist is, as the Vatican II Council said in its Constitution on the Liturgy, “the source and summit of our faith,” for in the Eucharist is Jesus Himself, as much as He was with us when He walked the earth. And the Mass is the highest liturgy, where Jesus comes to us in that humble appearance of bread and wine.

Particularly during Lent, one could make a special effort to come to daily Mass in addition to Sunday Mass. If the regular 8:30 daily Mass is not feasible due to work, school or the like, one could still attend the Mass on Saturdays or holidays. One could also come early to Mass to be more in the presence of Jesus and read ahead of time the Scriptural readings and prayers for Mass. The readings for the Sunday Masses are available in our missals in church; and the readings and prayers for all Masses are available online at such sites as usccb.org (in the Worship
section), or in publications such as the Magnificatt.

Another liturgy that clergy pray each day is called the Liturgy of the Hours, an organized series of prayers that focus on the psalms and the other hymns and poems in the Bible. The term “hours” here does not mean a 60  minute time, but rather different times during the day that the prayers consecrate. The Liturgy of the Hours includes Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer, and the Office of Readings, the latter of which involves longer readings from the Bible, the saints and Church councils. Priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters pray the Liturgy of the Hours each day. And the Vatican II Council also encouraged the laity to pray this liturgy, which is available either in the full four volumes, with passages for each day, or a simplified
version in what is called The Book of Christian Prayer. It is also available online at such sites as divineoffice.org.

Next week’s article will describe two popular devotions that also enhance our appreciation for the Mother of God and the word of God.

Prayer: Entering the Divine Realm

Iconography in the Byzantine-style by parishioner and Knight, Mr. Don EvansLast week, this article described the Lenten themes of repentance, prayer, fasting and almsgiving. This article will focus on the glory of prayer. Prayer is nothing less than being in the presence of the Almighty God, who created the sun, the moon and the stars, the past, the present and future. It is a conversation with the One who created us, loves us, and invites us to eternal life. It is an awesome and incredible thing to think about the fact that the Almighty God, enthroned above all praises, before whom the angels bow down in worship, is truly present to us, really does listen to us, and speaks to us in the depths of our hearts. When we are in prayer, we open our hearts to Him and He gives us a sense of His presence, knowledge of the greater realm, and communion even now with the angels and saints.

People often ask how they can enter more deeply into prayer. The fourth part of the Catechism recommends several types of prayers. First, there are the liturgies of the Church, such as the Mass, all of the sacraments, Eucharistic Adoration, and the Liturgy of the Hours (more on that next week.)

Liturgies are prayers of the whole Church together, throughout the world and even of heaven itself. There are also devotions, such as the rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, stations of the Cross and novenas with the saints, that unite the faithful throughout time and space. These set words of such devotions are not mere repetition, but are ways of entering into the realms of divine wisdom through well founded paths, such as the mysteries of the rosary, the awesomeness of Divine Mercy, the Cross of Jesus, and the communion of saints.

There is also the prayerful reading of Scriptures, in which God speaks to us as His children, giving us the light of heaven on earth. We can also use other spiritual readings to help us meditate on the truths of our faith. In addition, there is more informal prayer, which can include requests of God (as in intercessions and petitions), thanksgiving, contrition for sins,
praise of God for His majesty and the things He has done, or simple adoration in the presence of God.

Next week’s article will further comment on four of these types of prayer.

Prayer – Entering the Divine Realm

Our Blessed LadyPrayer is nothing less than being in the presence of the Almighty God, who created the sun, the moon and the stars, the past, the present and future. It is a conversation with the One who created us, loves us, and invites us to eternal life. It is an awesome and incredible thing to think about the fact that the Almighty God, enthroned above all praises, before whom the angels bow down in worship, is truly present to us, really does listen to us, and speaks to us in the depths of our hearts. When we are in prayer, we open our hearts to Him and He gives us a sense of His presence, knowledge of the greater realm, and communion even now with the angels and saints.

People often ask how they can enter more deeply into prayer. The fourth part of the Catechism recommends several types of prayers. First, there are the liturgies of the Church, such as the Mass, all of the sacraments, Eucharistic Adoration, and the Liturgy of the Hours (more on that next week.) Liturgies are prayers of the whole Church together, throughout the world and even of heaven itself.

There are also devotions, such as the rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, stations of the Cross and novenas with the saints, that unite the faithful throughout time and space. These set words of such devotions are not mere repetition, but are ways of entering into the realms of divine wisdom through well founded paths, such as the mysteries of the rosary, the awesomeness of Divine Mercy, the Cross of Jesus, and the communion of saints.

There is also the prayerful reading of Scriptures, in which God speaks to us as His children, giving us the light of heaven on earth. We can also use other spiritual readings to help us meditate on the truths of our faith. In addition, there is more informal prayer, which can include requests of God (as in intercessions and petitions), thanksgiving, contrition for sins, praise of God for His majesty and the things He has done, or simple adoration in the presence of God.

Next week’s article will further comment on four of these types of prayer.

Ash Wednesday

Ash wednesdayDon’t forget Ash Wednesday – February 10.

While all Catholics are encouraged to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday in order to begin the Lenten season with the proper attitude and reflection, Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation. It is, however, a day of fasting and abstinence.

Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church at 7 PM.

Jubilee Year of Mercy

jubilee-year-of-mercy

The theme for this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy is:  Be merciful, as your father is merciful.

Listen to a six-minute Pilgrim Audio Guide about the Jubilee “Holy Door” which will be opened to commence the Extraordinary Year of Mercy, which begins Tuesday, December 8, 2015, (here).

From Bishop Loverde

Together in the Heart of Christ, Remarks by the Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde at the “Together in the Heart of Christ” Celebration on November 2,2 015:

I am profoundly grateful, more than I can put adequately into words. I heard so many beautiful things this evening, and I am very grateful for those heartfelt expressions. I kept thinking, “I wonder if there is someone else here named Paul Loverde! Who is he?” And yet it would be ungracious of me not to accept them and to acknowledge the progress that has taken place in these 16 years here. We have done it together, in Christ, and from that power that comes from the overflowing love of His heart. Indeed there has been much progress, much achievement, but as I said, we have done it together. No bishop can do things by himself. Impossible. And all the more impossible for me. So yes, in Christ’s name, we have done it: yes, with my leadership, yes with the collaboration of all of you… Read more in the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Send Bishop Loverde a “Spiritual Bouquet ” in thanksgiving for his 50 years of priestly ministry, (here).

Monthly Food Drive

donate foodThe Ladies Council sponsors a monthly food collection, “Manna Sunday,” to benefit Page One, on every Second Sunday. Please bring non-perishable items and place them in the Vestibule and the Annex bins. Thanks for your support!

The next collection is Sunday, February 13/14, 2016.

March for Life

Our Lady of the Valley and the Knights of Columbus are sponsoring a bus to the 43rd annual March for Life and Rally in Washington D.C. on Friday, January 22, 2016.We will travel with members of Valley Family Forum and Blessed SacramentChurch in Harrisonburg, VA.

The cost is $20.00 per person, which does notcover the cost of meals. The bus will make a fast food stop in Haymarket, VA,on the return trip. The bus will leave the Our Lady of the Valley parking lotaround 9:00 A.M., and return around 8:00 P.M.

If you are interested in attending the March forLife, please sign-up in the Church Vestibule by Saturday, January 16, 2016.

For more information on the March for Life,visit our March for Life tab. This year’s theme is: “Pro-Life and Pro-Woman go Hand in Hand“.

The Rally and start of the March locations aredifferent this year. Find an interactive map of the route, (here). Download the March for Life 2016 mobile app, (here). Readthe 2016 March for Life Planner, below, and download it, (here).

Please contact Jim Bradecamp at 540-860-2715 formore information. See you at the March!

Serving the Holy Family

Serving the Holy Family in News Ways, A Column by the Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde:

“When Pope Francis visited the United States last year, he spent a great deal of timedescribing familiar experiences of families throughout the world: the joy of married life; the generosity exercised in raising children; and the treasure found in grandparents’ wisdom, among others.

At the same time, he describedall-too-common challenges that families face in our world: unemployment andunderemployment; the experience of caring for children with special needs andfamily members who are ill; and the ordinary challenge of maintaining healthycommunication and quality time in a busy world filled with many distractions.”

Read more in the Arlington Catholic Herald.