Why I am catholic – it’s Prayful
How many prayers do you know by memory? Before I converted to catholicism I could recite the 23rd Psalm, and that is only because as kids and my best friend being catholic so he actually taught me the prayer, we would insert a few chosen words to suit our taste at the time. Other than that I did not know or memorize one single prayer. I did not even memorize the “Lord’s Prayer” or in catholic terms, the “Our Father”.
I never really realized this before I was catholic and even now I am understanding it better each passing day, but from the beginning of the mass to the final blessing, the service or the mass is in one constant prayer. Ask yourself this question if you are not catholic, how many prayers does your church pray or say during the entire service? I grew up in the church of Christ, don’t take my word on this, but I only remember an opening prayer, closing prayer and a prayer over the communion. We may have an additional prayer for someone about to be baptized or one who came forward to confess their sins (confession of sins sounds very catholic like uh?). So I would guess probably the total prayers top out at about 4-5. Well in a catholic mass it is around 14-16 different prayers! Opening and closing prayers, we sing a prayer, always say the “Our Father” at each mass, a petition prayer (praying for others), the priests prays over the body and blood, we pray in silent, we pray aloud, catholics pray alot!!
Even in the movies catholics are generally portrayed as prayerful people. The characters usually have a rosary (probably every catholic has a rosary or a crucifix on them or near them) and they will always display the sign of the cross and a quick prayer in the movies, almost always. And most catholics will have memorized 5-10 different prayers that are “go to” prayers. The “go-to” prayers are always pretty good prayers. Take the “Our Father” – no one can top that prayer!
Another popular prayer is the “Rosary”. What is the rosary? (only the non-catholics usually ask about this) Why do you pray to Mary? Why do you have to use something to pray with? 1. What is the “Rosary”? The rosary is really a set of prayers intended for you to focus on and remember the life of Christ. The focus is on Christ, not Mary, not the beads. 2. Why do we pray to Mary? We are not actually praying TO Mary, we are calling on Mary to pray with us. Mary, being the mother of God, had the most intimate relationship with Jesus. Afterall she raised Him as a child, fed Him, clothed Him, and loved Him. Should we not ask her for her prayers just like I would ask you for your prayers? 3. Why the beads? Honestly, it is easier to keep track of where you are. There are 50 beads in a rosary, divided by sections of 10. The main reason is to help oneself memorize all 150 Psalms, 50 at a time.
There are more reasons for the rosary and other prayers not mentioned, like liturgy of the hours and many more. I know that I need to further understand all these before I can begin to do them justice. For now, just know, that catholics pray alot. Thanks be to God!