Monday, May 12, 2008

Poll-Release Monday #50

Here is this week's new poll question:

True or false?: The parish is the first place for education in prayer.

If you've never done this before, the poll is in my sidebar. Also, after you vote, click the "Comments" link at the bottom of the poll and explain your answer. If the parish isn't the first place for education in prayer, what is?

That said, here are the results from last week's poll:
  • True or False?: Prayer is directed primarily at Jesus.
    • True: 8 (32%)
    • False: 17 (68%)
The correct answer, according to the USCCB's quiz on the Catechism, is:
  • False; cf. Para. 2680: Prayer is primarily addressed to the Father; it can also be directed toward Jesus, particularly by the invocation of his holy name: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners."
This one is sort of a trick question, because of the primacy that Christians tend to give to one's relationship with Jesus. But, while all three Persons of the Trinity are equally God, the Father does hold the place of primacy, and Jesus came to return us to communion with Him. So, in that sense, it is understandable that we should direct our prayer primarily to the Father.

For more on the Trinity, see the following resources: Pax Christi,

1 comment:

Laudate Dominum said...

In my opinion the question is slightly misleading and the answer is perhaps more so. Of course Christian prayer is about communion with the Father, but this is always in and through Jesus and in the Holy Spirit. To frame the matter as though the Father is the guy we should be addressing, but if you really want, you can also pray to Jesus, strikes me as a misguided answer. The universal catechism has much better explanations of such things (although to be fair it can be admitted that this was not the intention of the quiz creator).
I would have preferred Saint Augustine’s explanation, “He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his is us.” As if it is really possible to pray to Jesus "too much" or as if we can pray to the Father apart from the One Mediator. The fact is, all prayer to Jesus is directed to the Father even if this intention is not explicit, and there is no prayer to the Father apart from Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

CCC 2663-2669 explains this well and gives the meaning of the statement "prayer is primarily addressed to the Father." Of course this quiz is not a real catechism so the lack of proper elucidation is not exactly a fault. But I am rubbed the wrong way by the suggestion that "the primacy that Christians tend to give to one's relationship with Jesus" is somehow problematic. The Persons of the Trinity are not in competition for our attention and if one's faith is orthodox there is no way that one's "relationship with Jesus" is somehow taking away from the Father.
While the catechism is quite good I would say that the historical Catholic Liturgy provides the ultimate catechesis in authentic prayer in all its Christological and Trinitarian dimensions.

Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem haec omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et praestas nobis.

Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et gloria. Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Pater noster, qui es in coelis: sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quoditianum da nobis hodie: et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem. Sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, praeteritis praesentibus, et futuris: et intercendente beata, et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus Sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiae tuae adiuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab onmi perturbatione securi.
Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus.

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