Saint Pius X Catholic Parish, dedicated to renewing all things in Christ, is committed to evangelization through prayer, service, sacrificial giving, faith formation, and community.
PRAYER
a reflection by Michael Rubbelke, Director of Adult Faith Formation

We opened our Mass on Sunday singing these words: “Rejoice, Jerusalem!” I know what you’re thinking: rejoice? In this mess? Maybe in a normal world we’d be celebrating this halfway point in Lent, but today we are anxious, concerned, scared. This pandemic is forcing us to adjust to new, unchosen fasts: fasts for the foreseeable future from work and school, social gatherings, our normal routines and plans, and even the Eucharist.

Saint Paul went even further: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) Paul wrote these words in his own kind of quarantine: from prison, facing the possibility of his own imminent death. These words make me wonder: what was his secret? How could he rejoice in this situation? How can we rejoice now?

The next line shows us. Paul writes, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). When we know who is in control, we can rejoice. Even more, we can have no anxiety at all. When we let Christ be Lord in our lives, we can have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. Peace and joy are God’s gifts to us which He passionately desires to share with us, especially here and now.

Do you want to receive these gifts, dear friends? I know that I do. If so, Saint Paul tells us simply: you must pray ! This is why, over the next few weeks, our Saint Pius Faith Formation team will be sharing resources with you to help you grow in your prayer life. Our first lesson this week will discuss the four basic themes of prayer: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, supplication (ACTS, for short). Read on to find this lesson.

Please share any questions or insights you have about prayer. You can email me at MRubbelke@stpius.net. We want this to be a time of growth for you and your family. Be assured of our continuing prayers: may God abundantly bless you all!
WHAT IS PRAYER?
Ever wondered what prayer is, isn’t, and how to do it?

Whenever we talk about prayer, three questions tend to pop into our heads. Let’s talk about them.


LESSON ONE: THEMES IN PRAYER

When we talk about prayer, our first question may be, “Well, what do I say to God?” Though God is closer to us than our friends, family, and spouses, let’s face it: we are often far from God, and God doesn’t respond in quite the same way as those near to us!

The fundamental rule of prayer is this: God wants us as we are . If we are anxious about how to pray, let us first share that: that is prayer! Jesus wants us as we are, because He knows and loves us as we are. We cannot be someone we are not. God’s love frees us to “let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us” ( Catechism , n. 2711). When we are real with God, He can teach and transform us into people who pray. 

Our prayer usually revolves around four central themes. We can remember them by the acronym ACTS: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication. 

Adoration: “Wow!” Adoration is recognizing who God truly is. God is always more than we imagine. God is not just another thing in this world but our source, the One holding us in being, the goal of all creation. Even more, God shares Himself with us. The Son becomes human like us so that He can experience everything we experience. The Spirit shares God’s very breath with us to let us share the divine life. To this God, we exclaim, “Wow!” That is adoration.

Contrition: “I’m sorry.” When we recognize our sins and say “I’m sorry,” this is contrition. Like any relationship, we will never grow past saying, “I’m sorry.” When contrition guides our time with God, we are recognizing how we refuse to let God be the one in control, to let God answer our prayers, to let God be God. Though it may seem negative, contrition is God’s gift, because it awakens us to the ways God wants us to grow. Contrition is the beginning of healing. 

Thanksgiving: “Thank you!” In some way, everything in our lives is a gift from God. We take so many of these gifts for granted: our breath, our family, our talents, our time (even our quarantine!). To say “Thank you!” recognizes both God’s gifts and the perfect giver. This is why the height of our worship is the Eucharist (Greek: “thanksgiving”). We can always pray “Thank you!” It is the most basic way we creatures keep company with our Creator and Savior.

Supplication: “Please!” When we ask for what we need and desire, we are living in the most real relationship we have: children of the God who cares for us. Jesus Himself said, “If you, then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11). We can trust that God will give us good things. Most of the time, it is we who do not know what those good things are. In the end, God’s will is nothing other than to do what is good for us. This is why the first and last thing that we ask is “Thy will be done.” To trust God to give us what we want and need, to ask God sincerely, “Please!”: this is to live as a child of God.

Let us take time this week to let our “personal and living relationship” with God grow through our adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication. If we do, we will be able to rejoice always, as Saint Paul says. We will let our kindness be known to all. We will find the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guarding our minds and hearts, even in these strange times (Philippians 4:4-7).

May God abundantly bless you!
IN SIMPLE TERMS FOR CHILDREN
For a printable prayer book for kids with coloring sheets for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication, click HERE .
RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
Talking and learning about how to pray.

Parent Sheet (click to access)
Child Sheet (click to access)
RESOURCES FOR ADULTS

Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Themes of Prayer .

Pray with each prayer style:

Adoration pray a Psalm of adoration, including one of the following :   Psalm 8 Psalm 100 Psalm 111 Psalm 148 Psalm 150 .

Contrition Examine your conscience at the end of the day and pray an "Act of Contrition". Here are some  examinations of conscience  for different age groups, and here are some  acts of contrition .

Thanksgiving Read  "Gratitude Is a Form of Prayer,"  by Laura DiMaria, and use one of her suggestions to tell God "thank you."

Supplication Read  "Prayer of Petition,"  by Simon Tugwell, and take time to ask the Lord for what you really need.
COVID PRAYER

The following prayer will replace the parish stewardship prayer at Mass until further notice.

Mother of Divine Love, we entrust to you our nation and world, our families and loved ones, that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

In this time of trial and testing, hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful.

For those already afflicted, obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.

For those working to help the sick and bring an end to this crisis, obtain the strength to continue their work.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection, conform us to the will of the Father, remind us always of the love of your Son, Jesus, and bring his peace to our land and to our hearts.

Amen.

Saint Rocco, protector against the plague and all contagious diseases, pray for us!

And finally, a gentle reminder from Fr. Bill Schooler:

We don't know what financial challenges lie ahead for you, or for our parish. Despite the fact that we cannot gather together for Mass, Saint Pius X continues to embrace our mission to renew all things in Christ thanks to your ongoing generosity and commitment.   
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