Draw near to God and He will draw near to you | James 4:8
If you want to get to know someone, you have to spend time with them, right? Spending time daily with Jesus in prayer is the way to get to know Him. Consider setting aside 15 minutes each morning before school to be with Jesus. Here are a few steps that you can follow in daily prayer time:
Fix your eyes on Jesus
Start your time of prayer by focusing on God and asking Him to speak to you during your prayer. Turn your life over to God and ask Him to work in your heart.
Spend time thanking God for the blessings you have received in your life.
Read the scripture passage of the day. Ask yourself questions such as: “Who do I identify with in this scripture passage?” and “What does this passage say to me?”
Reflecting and Listening
Ask yourself, “What is God saying to me through this scripture? Is God using this passage to tell me something? To ask me to do something?”
Pray that you will become closer to God, that you will become more and more like Christ. Pray for your own needs adn teh needs of those you love.
What do you want to do in response to what you have read and heard in this prayer time?
We suggest that you journal your resolution. Conclude with an “Our Father” or any prayers you like.
Prayer is our avenue to a relationship with God.
God is available to us every moment of every day. Let’s decide to make ourselves available to Him.
Prayers & Order
While holding the crucifix make the Sign of the Cross and then recite the Apostle’s Creed.
Recite the Our Father for the Pope on the first large bead.
Recite the Hail Mary for an increase of faith, hope, and love on each of the three small beads.
After the 3 Hail Marys recite the Glory Be and the O My Jesus.
Recall the first Rosary Mystery and recite the Our Father on the large bead.
On each of the ten small beads (referred to as a “decade”), recite a Hail Mary while reflecting on the mystery.
After the 10 Hail Marys, pray the Glory Be and the O My Jesus.
Each of the following decades are prayed similarly by recalling the appropriate mystery, reciting the Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, the Glory Be, and the O My Jesus prayer while reflecting on the mystery.
When the fifth mystery is completed, the Rosary is concluded with the Hail Holy Queen.
Joyful Mysteries | Monday & Saturday – also on Sundays from the beginning of Advent until Lent
Sorrowful Mysteries | Tuesday & Friday – also on Sundays during Lent
Glorious Mysteries | Wednesday & Sunday – also on Sundays from Easter until Advent
Luminous Mysteries | Thursday
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee. Blessed art though among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O My Jesus
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.
Hail Holy Queen
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Oh clement, oh loving, oh sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, oh Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
1st Decade: The Annunciation of Our Lord (Luke 1:31-32)
2nd Decade: The Visitation (Luke 1:42, 45)
3rd Decade: The Nativity of Jesus (Luke 2:6-7)
4th Decade: The Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:22)
5th Decade: The Finding in the Temple (Luke 2:46-47)
1st Decade: The Resurrection of Our Lord (Matthew 28:5-6)
2nd Decade: The Ascension into Heaven (Luke 24:50-51)
3rd Decade: The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3-4)
4th Decade: The Assumption of Mary (Judith 13:18)
5th Decade: The Coronation of Mary (Revelations 12:1)
1st Decade: The Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:36, 39)
2nd Decade: The Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:25-26)
3rd Decade: The Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27: 28-29)
4th Decade: The Carrying of the Cross (John 19:17-18)
5th Decade: The Crucifixion and Death (Luke 23:45-46)
1st Decade: The Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:17)
2nd Decade : The Miracle at Cana (John 2:1-12)
3rd Decade: The Proclamation of the Kingdom (Mark 1:15)
4th Decade: The Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-35)
5th Decade: The Institution of the Eucharist (John 13)
Preparing for Confession
Pray for the Holy Spirit to help enlighten your conscience so you may know your sins, be sorry for them, and tell them honestly and sincerely. | With the Holy Spirit’s help, identify your sins (what sins and how often). | Pray for courage to make a good confession, and prepare to receive the great gift of forgiveness. Remember, Jesus wants what is best for you. He is waiting to forgive you, and welcome you back.
Making your Confession
When you arrive at confession, the priest will greet you and both of you will make the Sign of the Cross. | You may begin by saying: “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been (state length of time) since my last confession. These are my sins.” Then tell your sins, especially any serious sins. The priest will give the necessary advice and assign penance. Then you pray the Act of Contrition (see below). | It is okay to take the prayer on a piece of paper in with you. You may also say your own Act of Contrition, as long as your prayer mentions that you are sincerely sorry, and that you will try not to commit these sins again. Then the priest will give you absolution (forgiveness). | Do your penance as soon as possible.
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having off ended You, and I detest all of my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they off end You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly intend, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.
Examination of Conscience
The examination of conscience generally takes place before going to individual confession, but can be used at any time to review one’s past. The purpose is to call to mind our sins in an orderly fashion (using the Ten Commandments), to best prepare to receive God’s forgiveness.
1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
Do I pray daily, and seek to place God as the highest priority in my life?
Do I seek to surrender myself to God’s Word, as taught by the guidance of the Church?
Have I been involved with superstitious practices or witchcraft (ouija board, tarot cards, fortune telling, horoscopes), which falsely attribute power to anyone or anything else than God?
Have I received communion knowingly while in a state of mortal sin, without making an effort to go to confession?
Have I ever purposely withheld a sin from the priest in confession?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Have I used God’s name carelessly?
Have I sworn or used foul language?
Have I told jokes which ridicule God, Mary, or the Saints?
Have I ever wished or prayed for evil upon someone?
3. Remember to keep Holy the Sabbath.
Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or on other Holy Days of Obligation?
Do I pay attention and participate at Mass, or am I passive and uninvolved?
Have I tried to keep Sunday as a day of rest and a time for family?
Do I do needless work on Sunday?
4. Honor your father and mother.
Do I do my best to honor and obey my parents, and those in authority in my life?
Have I ever insulted my father or mother, swearing at them or talking poorly about them to others?
When I have wronged my parents, do I apologize and admit my failings?
Have I used tobacco, or drank alcohol against the wishes of my parents?
5. You shall not kill.
Have I had an abortion or encouraged anyone to do so?
Have I abused alcohol or other drugs?
Have I driven recklessly, possibly putting myself or others at risk?
Have I harbored feelings of hatred or envy towards others, been resentful or jealous?
Have I been in any fights (physical or verbal?)
6. You shall not commit adultery.
Have I respected members of the opposite sex, or have I treated them as objects?
Do I sincerely seek to be chaste (pure) in my thoughts, words and actions?
Have I engaged in impure acts by myself (romantic fantasy or masturbation)?
Have I engaged in sexual touching with another person or had sexual intercourse?
7. You shall not steal.
Have I stolen anything from a store or another person which is not rightfully mine?
Do I cheat in school, either by copying homework or stealing answers on a test?
Do I waste time at school or at work, thereby cheating myself or my employer?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Have I lied or deliberately withheld the entire truth to protect myself?
Have I exaggerated any claims to make myself look better, or to impress my friends?
Have I gossiped, purposely telling things about someone to harm their good name?
Do I keep confidential what was told to me in secret, or do I break my word?
9. You shall not covet (desire) your neighbor’s wife.
Have I consented to impure thoughts, not trying to control my imagination?
Have I looked at pornographic videos, magazines, computer images or stories?
Have I told impure jokes or stories that would offend God or the dignity of others?
10. You shall not covet (desire) your neighbor’s goods.
Am I jealous of other people’s gifts, talents, or possessions? Am I greedy or selfish?
Am I materialistic? Do I think about the poor? Do I make an effort to reach out to help them?
Why is this sacrament necessary? Why not confess your sins directly to God? Why go to a priest, or any human being?
It is appropriate and necessary to repent directly to God for one’s sins. In fact, when Catholics participate in this sacrament they are primarily expressing their repentance and sorrow for sin to God, and seeking to be reconciled to Him. Catholics believe that Jesus had a purpose in granting particular persons the authority to forgive sins in God’s name.
God chooses to use human beings to continue His work on earth. When our sins are forgiven by one who has been set apart by the church to represent Jesus Christ, we can experience the mercy of Jesus himself through that person. Confessing sins to a person reminds them of the social dimension of sin. When someone sins, he not only off ends God, but his sin also has an effect (either direct or indirect) on other people. The priest who grants God’s forgiveness not only represents Jesus Christ, but also the whole Christian community, the church. Hence, the priest has the authority to reconcile a sinner to the body of Christ, the Church.
The priest or minister is often able to counsel, encourage, or even pray with the penitent for healing of some area of sin or brokenness in the person’s life. Jesus often uses His representative, the priest, to minister to the needs of people in remarkable ways through the sacrament of reconciliation.
Why do we have to be confirmed? What is the purpose?
Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, to live that message, and to continue Jesus’ mission and ministry to the world. Just as the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus at the beginning of his public ministry and transformed the fearful disciples at Pentecost, the Spirit equips every Christian for a life of service and witness. Catholics believe and have witnesses that God desires to send the fullness of his Holy Spirit through confirmation, and that the manifestation and gifts of the Holy Spirit will be evident when this sacrament is approached with expectant
Is the bread really the body of Jesus, and the wine really His blood, or are they symbols?
When Jesus said to His followers, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53), He was speaking about them receiving His body and blood in bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist. This was no “symbolic” reception, according to John, but was actually eating the real body of Christ and drinking his real blood.This teaching is as much of a challenge to the faith of Christians today as it was to the readers of John’s gospel. Catholic Christians accept this challenging teaching at its face value, and believe that when they receive the bread and wine of the Eucharist, they are actually partaking in the body and blood of Jesus Christ.This presence of Jesus can only be accepted in faith, since the outward appearance of the bread and wine does not change. Catholics do not “worship the host”, but worship
Jesus Christ whom they discern by faith to be present in the host.
Why do we refer to Mary as our mother, the mother of Christians?
Obviously, Mary is not a “physical” mother to all Christians, but she is recognized as a mother “in faith”. This is because of Jesus’ words while He was on the cross: “When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’” (John 19:26-27). This is also true because of her special relationship with Him. Christians have become the body of Christ and brothers and sisters to Jesus through His grace. In the same way and by the same grace, Mary has become the spiritual mother of every Christian, since she is the mother of Jesus Christ.
Are we, as Catholics, supposed to worship and pray to Mary?
Catholics honor Mary and look to her as our mother in faith but we do not worship Mary or “pray to Mary” as we pray to God. Worship belongs only to God. Catholics do ask Mary to pray for us, and believe that her intercession has a great effect in calling forth God’s grace and mercy. But this is because of her special relationship with Jesus, not because of her own merits.
Why do Catholics ask Mary to pray for them?
God himself accomplishes and provides everything that mankind needs, but in the richness of his plan He also chooses to entrust His creatures with a share in His work. Jesus is the one great high priest (Hebrews 8:1), and yet he calls Christians a “priestly people” and invites them to share in His priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Catholics believe that Mary has a special role of intercession because of her special role in God’s plan of salvation. Jesus and Mary are not in competition. Jesus is the source of all God’s grace and salvation, and Mary directs her prayers and our attention to Jesus. Catholics believe that God has chosen to use Mary as a unique channel of the grace of her Son because of her special relationship with Him. He has given her a motherly concern for all His sons and daughters.
What is the communion of saints?
The phrase “the communion of saints” refers to the bond of unity among all those, living and dead, who are or have been committed followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus prayed that His followers would be united to each other just as closely as He was united to the Father (see John 17:20- 23). This close, living in unity among all who belong to God through Jesus is what the Apostles’ Creed calls “communion”. When Catholics profess that they believe in the communion of saints, they are professing their unity with all the faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
What about seeking the intercession of saints?
Another way that the members of the communion of saints can support one another is by praying for each other. Most of us have asked another Christian (“saint”) to pray for us when we have had a particular need. Prayer seems to be a normal way for the saints on earth to support each other. Catholics believe that if we ask our fellow saints on earth to pray for us, we should also be able to ask for prayers from the saints who are already united with the Lord. If the prayers of certain Christians here on earth seem to have special power because of their great faith or holiness, how much more powerful and effective are the prayers of those who are fully united to God in heaven!
What about the worship of saints?
The practice of honoring the saints in heaven and asking for their prayers can be abused. In the fifth century A.D., St. Augustine warned against any devotion to the saints becoming a form of worship. Following his teaching, Catholics venerate and honor those saints but do not worship them (again, worship belongs only to God). The saints in heaven can pray or intercede to God for us, and we can ask them to pray for us, just as we can ask a fellow Christian to pray for us. The intercession of the saints and of Mary on our behalf does not detract from the unique mediation of Jesus, any more than would asking someone here on earth to pray for us. All Christian prayer, whether the prayer of saints in heaven or Mary, the mother of the Lord, or of us the saints here on earth, is directed to the Father through Jesus, who is the “one mediator between God and men” (1 Timothy 2:5).
The Catholic Church & Salvation
Why is Catholicism different from other world religions?
There is no denying that the Catholic Church is unique. The Catholic Church proclaims the unity of God (distinguishing it from Hinduism, Buddhism, etc). The Catholic Church also believes in a Triune God, and with that, Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the 2nd Person of the Trinity (distinguishing it from Islam and Judaism). The Catholic Church was instituted by Christ. He founded it through his words and actions (most explicitly in Matthew 16:18, when he said to Peter “upon this rock I will build my Church”). In his death and resurrection, in Christ’s total self-gift for our salvation, the Church was truly born. Any other Christian religions have splinted off from the Catholic Church.The Church is the “sacrament of salvation.” This means that it is a sign of our salvation, but also an instrument of our salvation. So yes, it symbolizes the fact that God wants to save us, but we’re also saved through the Church. The Church is a sacrament (in the above sense) of the “inner union of men with God” as well as “the unity of the human race” (CCC 775). The Church “is the visible plan of God’s love for humanity” (CCC 776). For these reasons, the Church not only occupies a unique place in God’s plan, but also a unique place in human history.
Are only Catholics saved?
No. God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). The Church says, “since Christ died for all men…we must believe that the
Holy Spirit, in a manner known only to God, offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery” (Gaudium et Spes 22). Basically, in ways known and unknown, God is reaching out to everyone, no matter what religion they are, or even if they have no faith at all. Here is what the Church says regarding our relationship with specific world religions:
The Church acknowledges that “she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian” (CCC 838). In fact, “those who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church” (CCC 838, emphasis added).
The Church recognizes our shared heritage. In fact, the Jewish faith began as a response to God’s revelation. St. Paul writes that to the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants…for the gifts and call of God are irrevocable” (Romans 9:4, 11:29).
The Church teaches “the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God” (CCC 841).
Other World Religions:
For most of the great world religions, Catholicism shares with them “a common destiny, namely, God” (CCC 842).Overall, “the Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in these religions” (Nostra Aetate 2). In fact, the Church “looks with sincere respect upon those ways of conduct and life, those rulers and teachers” (NA 2). Yes, there are real, legitimate differences between the Catholic faith and other world religions. However, anything that is good, true, and holy in other religions is “a preparation for the Gospel” and “a sort of secret presence of God” (CCC 843, Ad Gentes 9).Obviously, there are a lot of people who don’t have the opportunity to enter the Church, or even know the Gospel in the first place. Bl. John Paul II writes about this in Redemptoris Missio. For many people, “the social and cultural traditions in which they live do not permit this [entering the Church]” (RM 8). For these people, God gives a special grace that “while having a mysterious relationship to the Church,” the Holy Spirit “enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation” (RM 8).
God wants everyone to be saved, and He’s going to work with the individual circumstances people are born into.
Is the Church necessary for salvation?
Yes. Christ is the one mediator of salvation. All salvation comes through him. Christ is present in the Church in a unique way. The Church is the Body of Christ, with Christ himself as the Head.
How does this fit with what was said earlier?Yes, God works in individual circumstances. However “forms of mediation [of grace] of different kinds and degrees…acquire meaning and value only from Christ’s own mediation, and they cannot be understood as parallel or complementary to His” (RM 5). Yes, people can receive grace outside of the Catholic Church, but all grace is mediated through Christ. God works in various ways to reveal Himself, but everyone who is saved is saved through the redemptive work of Christ made present in His Church.