…every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”; 1 Thessalonians 5:18;

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”Colossians 4:2

Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 2000), #2638.

 

My notes:  I sometimes seams like all we ever do in prayer is ask for things. Which is fine, a prayer of petition is good. We need to also include prayers of thanksgiving as part of our personal relationship with God our Father, Jesus our Brother and the Holy Spirit.

In prayer, one comes to know one’s self, one’s creatureliness and misery, and at the same time God’s immense love. If one turns the eyes of the spirit to the Heart of Christ, the soul contemplates the Word incarnate, divinity united to humanity. In this Heart of mercy, one comes to the knowledge of God and his infinite love for humanity. The cell of self-knowledge is found within the heart: the human heart and the Heart of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
“The Secret of the Heart: A Theological Study of Catherine of Siena’s Teaching on the Heart of Jesus.” Sr. Mary Jeremiah, 1995 Christendom Press, page 17

You are my God; have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day. (Psalm 86:2-3)

1. No greater gift could God have given to men than in making His Word, by which He created all things, their Head, and joining them to Him as His members: that the Son of God might become also the Son of man, one God with the Father, one Man with men; so that when we speak to God in prayer for mercy, we do not separate the Son from Him; and when the Body of the Son prays, it separates not its Head from itself: and it is one Saviour of His Body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who both prays for us, and prays in us, and is prayed to by us.

St. Augustine of Hippo, “Expositions on the Book of Psalms,” in Saint Augustin: Expositions on the Book of Psalms, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 8, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888), pages 409–410.

My Notes: Our prayer to the Father for mercy is the one same prayer of Jesus to the Father for the same mercy. Jesus prays with us, we have the same prayer: mercy.

… as we forgive those who trespass against us

Now—and this is daunting—this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see (See 1 John 4:20). In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace.

Catechism of the Catholic Church #2840

My Notes:
Our prayer to receive mercy from Our Father in Heaven is bound together with our prayer in which we give mercy to our brothers and sisters here on earth.

“Jesus, I trust in you!”. This is the simple prayer that Sr Faustina taught us, and which we can have on our lips at every moment of our lives. How often, as a worker, a student and then as a priest and bishop, in the difficult periods of the history of Poland, I also repeated this simple and profound aspiration and experience its efficacy and power.

Mercy is one of the most wonderful attributes of the Creator and of the Redeemer; the Church lives to bring humanity to this inexhaustible wellspring, of which she is depository and dispenser.
August 21, 2002, St. John Paul II, Audiences of Pope John Paul II (English) (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2014).

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner.

We can pray for and should pray for mercy, but what is mercy?

“Mercy. God’s loving care for all creatures, especially human beings, which invites us, in turn, to empathize with and alleviate the misery of others.”
Gerald O’Collins and Edward G. Farrugia, A Concise Dictionary of Theology (New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2013), page 152.

We can also learn from Jesus as He teaches about this: “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13) For Jesus wants us to have loving care for Him, by us showing and giving loving care for our brothers and sisters. This care/mercy for others is accomplished in the corporal works of mercy (feeding the hungry…) and also praying for others. We should both pray for ourselves and others to receive mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on my family.

To delight in us, to find joy in us, to see his dream fulfilled in us: this is what God so ardently pursues! In the Incarnation and the Cross, the Word sought us out so that he could delight in us.

How many of us have ever considered that giving joy to God is perhaps the essential aspect of the human and Christian vocation? And yet, without that, what would it mean to say that God loves us and that we love him in return? What is love without mutual joy and enjoyment between persons, at both the human and the divine levels?

Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word: Meditations on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapters 1–25, vol. 3 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996–2012), page 37.

 

My notes:  Part of our prayer should be telling God we love Him, and listening for Him to tell us that he loved us first. This mutual love should be a source of joy, for both God and us.