Get rid of your anger before you pray; Church Fathers: Day 054

Tertullian reminds us how important it is not to be angry with our neighbors when we approach God. How can we ask for forgiveness when we ourselves have not forgiven? Remembering the Lord’s commandments paves the road to heaven for our prayers. And the chief commandment is that we should not go up to God’s altar before we make up whatever argument or offense we’ve got into with our brothers. What do we think we’re doing if we approach the… Read more

Look for quiet when you pray; Church Fathers: Day 053

St. Basil tells us that a quiet heart will help us overcome our passions and our temptations. We have to break our bad habits and start new good habits, and a little solitude will help a lot. We must work to have a quiet mind. You can’t see an object right in front of you if your eye is moving restlessly up and down and sideways; you have to look at it steadily. In the same way, your mind can’t… Read more

Expect Satan’s attack when you pray; Church Fathers: Day 052

Satan knows how much we gain by praying, says St. John Chrysostom, so that’s when he attacks us the most. We need to be on our guard and not let in the stray thoughts the devil suggests. We talked yesterday about the power of prayer. I pointed out how the devil, that deceiver, lies in wait when we pray. For he sees how much we gain from prayer, so that’s when he attacks us the most, to break down our… Read more

Lead us not into temptation; Church Fathers: Day 051

When we pray “Lead us not into temptation,” are we praying that we should never be tempted at all? No, says St. Cyril of Jerusalem—temptation is always there. But, like St. Peter, we can get over it and come through the other side. “And lead us not into temptation.” So is the Lord teaching us to pray that we should not be tempted at all? Then why would it be said elsewhere that “a man untempted is a man untested”?… Read more

Off the Shelf 037 with Trent Horn

Trent Horn is an apologist and speaker for Catholic Answers, an apostolate that is dedicated to explaining and defending the Catholic faith. He specializes in teaching Catholics how to graciously defend their faith with sound arguments and persuasive communication techniques. Trent earned a graduate degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy from Holy Apostles College. He is a regular guest on the radio program Catholic Answers Live, a lecturer who… Read more

Our daily bread is the Word of God and the Mass; Church Fathers: Day 050

Give us this day our daily bread”: we pray these words even if we have plenty of bread in the pantry. Why? St. Augustine says it’s because we need something more than ordinary bread. When you say, “Give us this day our daily bread,” you admit that you’re God’s beggar. But don’t be ashamed of that. No matter how rich you are on earth, you’re still God’s beggar. And what does the rich man need? I dare say he needs… Read more

Dare to call God Father, Church Fathers: Day 049

The atonement of Christ changes everything, says St. Leo the Great. We were miserable outcasts, but now we’re children of God. Whoever you are, if you devoutly and faithfully boast of the name of Christian, value this atonement rightly. You were a castaway, banished from the realms of paradise, dying of your weary exile, reduced to dust and ashes, with no more hope of living. But by the incarnation of the Word, you were given power to return from far… Read more

Praying the Our Father, Church Fathers: Day 048

Tertullian tells us that practically the whole teaching of Christianity is summed up in the Lord’s Prayer. On that foundation we can build our own private prayers for whatever we really need. Just a few succinct words, but how much they contain of what the proph­ets, the Gospels, and the Apostles said! How many of the speeches, examples, and parables of the Lord! How many duties are dealt with at once! The honor of God in the “Father”; The witness… Read more

Watch for distractions when you pray, Church Fathers: Day 047

It’s far too easy to get distracted when we’re trying to pray. St. Augustine was a great observer of nature, and one of the foremost scientists of his day—but he warns us not to let curiosity distract us from more important things. Our curiosity is tempted every day in the most minute and contempt­ible things. And who can count how many times we succumb? How often, when people are telling idle tales, do we begin by tolerating them (we don’t… Read more

Be reconciled before you pray, Church Fathers: Day 046

Writing an instruction book for monks, St. John Cassian amplifies the Gospel’s advice; if you go to pray and remember that anyone has anything against you, even unjustly, drop your prayer and run to be reconciled with your brother. We often spurn the brethren who are injured and saddened, and despise them, and say that they were not hurt by any fault of ours. Because of that, the Healer of souls, who knows all secrets, wishing to root out completely… Read more

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