expresses the basic movement of Christian prayer:
it is an encounter between God and man. In blessing, God’s gift
and man’s acceptance of it are united in dialogue with each other.
The prayer of blessing is man’s response to God’s gifts: because
God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is
the source of every blessing.
Two fundamental forms express this movement: our prayer
in the Holy Spirit through Christ to the Father—we bless him
for having blessed us;
it implores the grace of the Holy Spirit that
through Christ from the Father—he blesses us.
is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he
is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord
who made us
and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us
free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the “King of
respectful silence in the presence of the “ever greater”
Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love
blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.
The vocabulary of supplication in the New Testament is
rich in shades of meaning: ask, beseech, plead, invoke, entreat, cry
out, even “struggle in prayer.”
Its most usual form, because the
most spontaneous, is petition: by prayer of petition we express
awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are
not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own
last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have
turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning
back to him.
The New Testament contains scarcely any prayers of lamenta
tion, so frequent in the Old Testament. In the risen Christ the Church’s
petition is buoyed by hope, even if we still wait in a state of expectation
and must be converted anew every day. Christian petition, what St. Paul
calls “groaning,” arises from another depth, that of creation “in labor
pains” and that of ourselves “as we wait for the redemption of our bodies.
101 Cf. St. Augustine,
En. in Ps.
62, 16: PL 36, 757-758.