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Part Four

2686

Ordained ministers

are also responsible for the formation in

prayer of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Servants of the Good

Shepherd, they are ordained to lead the People of God to the living

waters of prayer: the Word of God, the liturgy, the theologal life

(the life of faith, hope, and charity), and the Today of God in

concrete situations.

45

2687

Many

religious

have consecrated their whole lives to

prayer. Hermits, monks, and nuns since the time of the desert

fathers have devoted their time to praising God and interceding

for his people. The consecrated life cannot be sustained or spread

without prayer; it is one of the living sources of contemplation and

the spiritual life of the Church.

2688

The

catechesis

of children, young people, and adults aims

at teaching them to meditate on The Word of God in personal

prayer, practicing it in liturgical prayer, and internalizing it at all

times in order to bear fruit in a new life. Catechesis is also a time

for the discernment and education of popular piety.

46

The memo­

rization of basic prayers offers an essential support to the life of

prayer, but it is important to help learners savor their meaning.

2689

Prayer groups,

indeed “schools of prayer,” are today one

of the signs and one of the driving forces of renewal of prayer in

the Church, provided they drink from authentic wellsprings of

Christian prayer. Concern for ecclesial communion is a sign of

true prayer in the Church.

2690

The Holy Spirit gives to certain of the faithful the gifts of

wisdom, faith and discernment for the sake of this common good

which is prayer (

spiritual direction

). Men and women so endowed

are true servants of the living tradition of prayer.

According to St. John of the Cross, the person wishing to

advance toward perfection should “take care into whose

hands he entrusts himself, for as the master is, so will the

disciple be, and as the father is so will be the son.” And

further: “In addition to being learned and discreet a director

should be experienced. . . . If the spiritual director has no ex­

perience of the spiritual life, he will be incapable of leading

into it the souls whom God is calling to it, and he will not

even understand them.”

47

45 Cf.

PO

4–6.

46 Cf.

CT

54.

47 St. John of the Cross,

The Living Flame of Love,

stanza 3, 30, in

The Collected

Works of St. John of the Cross,

eds K. Kavanaugh OCD and O. Rodriguez

OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979), 621.

1547

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