Prayer is essential to the Christian life.
It is a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God and is the lifeblood of our faith. Without prayer, our faith will die. A discipleship parish strives to nourish the soul through prayer. “Prayer is as necessary to our souls as food is to our bodies.” Prayer and the sacraments dispose a soul to receive God’s abundant graces, which are necessary to grow in holiness. It is through prayer that we nurture our personal relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
While we find great fulfillment in giving ourselves to parish life, prayer purifies and intensifies the intention of the disciple. Prayer increases our yearning to receive the source and summit of our Catholic faith, the Eucharist. As a parish family, we gather together to worship and praise God in the Mass. Nourished by the Word of God and the Eucharist, we are strengthened as a parish family to go to serve the Lord. Discipleship is a lived response of the disciple to follow this command. There is a deep connection between the Eucharistic celebration and disciple- ship. In one of the prefaces of the Eucharistic Prayers it says, “Lord our desire to thank you is itself your gift.” The third Eucharistic Prayer states, “All life, all holiness comes from you through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, by the working of the Holy Spirit... And so Father, we bring you these gifts. We ask you to make them holy by the power of your Spirit, that they will become the body and blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at whose command we celebrate this Eucharist.”
All we are and seek to become is strengthened and becomes more perfect through the Eucharist. It is the Eucharist where we again recognize our total dependence upon God for everything. All that is good is a gift from Him. It is not that we have loved Him, but that He first has loved us by giving us His Son.
In both our personal and communal prayer, we turn toward God to discern properly our talents and gifts. In a disciple’s response, we place those gifts at the service of God and one another. At the heart of the disciple’s prayer is the petition, “Thy Will be done.”
Excerpts are from the document The Pillars of Stewardship, prepared by the Office of Stewardship, Catholic Diocese of Wichita KS, May 2004, and from “Live Jesus: Historical Background of the Introduction to the Devout Life,” Armind Nazareth, MSFS, Studies in Salesian Spirituality, April-June 2005.