4: Prayer: Spending Time With God


Prayer and spirituality must constitute a life plan for Catholics. This spiritual foundation comes to us through participation in Holy Mass, Communion, personal prayer, repentance of sins, and spiritual texts and the Scriptures, together integrated to maintain and nurture a deep relationship with God.

The Mass is the center of our lives as Christians. It provides both an organizing principle of everyday life and a forum for communication and spiritual union between Christians and Christ, through the Holy Eucharist. As a result, Christians should attend Mass daily, if possible, or at least frequently and regularly.

Prayer is another important component of a spiritual program. This form of conversation with God is indispensable to establish and maintain a relationship with Our Lord. The Archbishop of Chicago distinguishes between two different kinds of prayer: 1) vocal prayer constituted by words and formulas, i.e., the Rosary with its Mysteries, and 2) mental prayer that comes from the heart. In mental prayer, we express our most inner sentiments to God by relaxing and focusing on His presence.

Repentance and conscience examination must be regular activities in our lives as Christians. Repentance is the sacrament in which we meet Christ in order to receive forgiveness for our sins and find strength for future efforts. Conscience examination, rather, demands deep self-reflection and better understanding of ourselves.

The Apostolate is the continuation of the mission of Christ in our world. In light of this goal, Cardinal Bernardin advises us to view our relationship with Christ as all encompassing, and not isolated from other relationships in our lives. A Christian must reach out to his neighbors and experience their joys and sorrows as his own. He urges us to let God be part of our lives, to find time for Him – a few minutes or days – according to the choice and disposition of our soul. Prayer, he emphasizes, can be a great help in dealing with the challenges of one's life.