Prayer Life & The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2559) states, Prayer is the raising of ones mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.
We are probably all familiar with the second part of this definition. Who among us, in some time of need or distress, has not called upon God for assistance? But, what does the first part of this definition really mean? What does it mean to raise ones mind and heart to God?
Most of us can come to a basic understanding of this by answering the question, What does it mean to unite our mind and heart with a fellow human? We do this by talking to the person and spending time with them, sharing our thoughts, emotions, experiences, values and goals, by putting our trust in someone and by demonstrating our own trustworthiness. The more we spend time with, communicate and work together toward common objectives, the closer relationship we develop with that person. In the closest relationships, we often are happy just to be in the presence of that person; when we deeply love someone we want to share all of their experiences, whether that be sharing in joyful occasions or comforting them in times of sorrow.
This is also what it means to raise ones mind and heart to God. God wants a close, intimate relationship with us, a relationship which involves Him in every aspect of our lives. He wants us to trust in Him, to share our good times and troubles, to request His assistance. But we will not have such a relationship if we fail to spend time with Him. We do this through prayer. We use our minds and hearts to bless, adore and praise God as our divine creator, and strive to understand God. We ask God to help us in our daily needs and in times of trouble. We should give thanksgiving for all of the blessings and graces He provides us.
How many of us would expect a good marriage to exist, if a couple rarely spoke to one another, and rarely spent time together? How would we expect the couple to really love one another if they only spoke when they needed something from the other person? A loving relationship requires that both partners set aside time for each other, that they communicate, know, trust and support one another in good times and bad. In summary, a good relationship is hard work.
We know that these things are required to have a good marriage. Why then, do so many people expect to have a good relationship with God, with little or no effort toward that relationship? We must work toward a good relationship with God.