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Christian Prayer

645

A

rticle

3

GUIDES FOR PRAYER

A cloud of witnesses

2683

The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom,

41

especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in

the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the

transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They con­

template God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they

have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master,

they were “put in charge of many things.”

42

Their intercession is

their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask

them to intercede for us and for the whole world.

2684

In the communion of saints, many and varied

spiritualities

have been developed throughout the history of the churches. The

personal charism of some witnesses to God’s love for men has been

handed on, like “the spirit” of Elijah to Elisha and John the Baptist,

so that their followers may have a share in this spirit.

43

A distinct

spirituality can also arise at the point of convergence of liturgical

and theological currents, bearing witness to the integration of the

faith into a particular human environment and its history. The

different schools of Christian spirituality share in the living tradi­

tion of prayer and are essential guides for the faithful. In their rich

diversity they are refractions of the one pure light of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is truly the dwelling of the saints and the saints

are for the Spirit a place where he dwells as in his own home,

since they offer themselves as a dwelling place for God and

are called his temple.

44

Servants of prayer

2685

The

Christian family

is the first place of education in

prayer. Based on the sacrament of marriage, the family is the “do­

mestic church” where God’s children learn to pray “as the

Church” and to persevere in prayer. For young children in partic­

ular, daily family prayer is the first witness of the Church’s living

memory as awakened patiently by the Holy Spirit.

41 Cf.

Heb

12:1.

42 Cf.

Mt

25:21.

43 Cf.

2 Kings

2:9;

Lk

1:1; PC 2.

44 St. Basil,

De Spiritu Sancto,

26, 62: PG 32, 184.

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