Do you practice the Catholic religion? Learn through this article the various Catholic prayers and devotions, in a simple and practical way for different occasions.
What is pray?
Through the Bible of the Catholic religion, we can clearly see that praying means talking to God. When we pray, we open our hearts to Him to tell Him how we feel and what we want. In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus talks about prayer. He states that when praying, it should not be done hypocritically. Hypocrites like to pray standing on street corners and in synagogues, where many people can see them.
On the other hand, praying must be done personally and secretly. In this way, God, who sees everything that is done in secret, will give you your well-deserved reward. At the same time, when praying, one does not just speak for the sake of speaking, as the Gentiles do, because they think that they will be heard because of their number of words. God knows what we need even before we ask for it.
With this we can observe that prayer is only between us and God. It is not a method to impress others, because our heart does not show the right attitude if our goal in praying is to impress others and make them admire our words. Our greatest desire in prayer should be to spend time with God, speaking to him from the depths of our hearts.
While it is true that He knows what we need without us saying it, He loves to hear the voice of His children. In this way, one of the main objectives of prayer is to strengthen the relationship with God, bring us closer to Him, spend time with him and share what is in our hearts and minds. The prayer is performed because it is important and vital for all practitioners of the Catholic religion.
Throughout this article we will discover some of the most used Catholic prayers and devotions , as well as their meaning and usefulness. There are a large number of Catholic devotions around the world, each one with different functions, adapting to the desires and objectives of each practitioner of the religion.
how to pray
It is possible that as practitioners of the Catholic religion we understand how important it is to pray in our daily lives, but we may not know how to do it. From the old catholic prayers , each of them begins with an attitude of praise, such as ” our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name…”, this is how each prayer should begin, acknowledging the greatness of God, demonstrating an attitude of praise and humility.
The next step is to express our trust in the Lord, through expressions such as “thy will be done”. Likewise, we let him know that the best thing that can happen to us is that his kingdom manifests itself on our plane. We declare that his kingdom and his will are the healthiest for us and the course of our lives depends on it, because where he manifests himself great things can happen.
We then proceed to present our requests through prayer, our provisions for the day. He will know what physical and emotional needs we have during the moment and how to meet them. The next step is to recognize the need for forgiveness as we ask God for it, at the same time examining within our hearts if we are truly capable of forgiveness. Once forgiveness is recognized in Catholic prayers and devotions, we must praise again, but not without first asking for his help and protection to avoid falling into evil and temptations.
Praying can ease our anxieties, showing us the path to take and bringing us calm in the most difficult moments. Doing it in the most appropriate way will help us feel heard and relieved at the same time, showing God that we believe in him and remember him every day.
If you are a practitioner of the Catholic religion, praying is of vital importance to connect with God. Prayer should be a ritual that is part of your daily life, because talking to your higher self will help you find the necessary tools to solve your problems, as well as the correct path to follow.
At the same time, praying allows us to demonstrate our respect and trust towards God, where we accept that our destiny is in his hands and fully trust that his plans for us will always have good results, even if they do not develop in the way in which we wish; because God gives us what we really need and does us good, not what we want.
For many people, prayer can be therapeutic, serving as an outlet, because they manage to say out loud what worries them and feel heard, even if they can’t see anyone around them. Spirituality is a wonderful thing that flows through all individuals in different ways. In this case, spirituality flows through the belief in a higher being that we call God. In Him we find refuge and relief through our prayers.
Praying should not be done in a compulsory way, but because it comes from our hearts, because we want to talk to God and connect with Him more every day. Being a Catholic means demonstrating commitment to God through our good deeds, prayers, and confession of our sins by attending Mass whenever we need to.
However, there are many things that we must know and understand about this religion, and that is why throughout this article we will provide you with information on important factors about Catholicism such as the Holy Mass, the Crucifixion, the commandments of God, among others. .
Through the crucifixion, Jesus speaks in Spanish, telling us everything that happened on the day of his death in our own language. He says that he knows perfectly well what it is to be a victim of violence. He was always mocked, never offended enough, as if he were a doll that is thrown and mistreated. He passed from the hands of Herod’s soldiers to Pilate’s soldiers.
These men were used to all kinds of adventures, taking all their cruelty to Jesus, having the audacity to ask him why he had run out of strength, why he had tired himself too much. One, more than the others, was possessed by Satan and it was he who stuck the terrible thorns in his head. In their hands, those soldiers had a being almost condemned and the permission of Herod and Pilate to do what they wanted with him.
After being “crowned” with those cruel thorns, they spat on his face, punched him and kicked him. His laughter and guffaws when he saw what was happening to him were diabolical, they killed him before the hour. The soldiers said to him, in a mocking tone: Hail King of the Jews, where are your subjects? Are they so faithful to you? The king of the Jews is going to die!
His duty was to guard him, the rest of his actions were controlled by Satan and his great pleasure in reducing the man to little more than a rag. Herod was unaccountably content to see Christ adorned as a mocking king. The clothes that forced him to put on incited him to blasphemy and his silence frustrated him to spite, because the creator has nothing to say to the creature, when he sees the obstinacy in guilt. Nothing, because in certain cases, the obstinate person is already condemned.
People laughed, gave him more and more blows, even to his head. A purple cloak was thrown on his back, like a king. Jesus was already tired and dazed from so many blows and so much pain that they made him suffer. The blood that dripped from his crown of thorns got into his eyes, burning him and not allowing him to see.
Herod was a murderer, immersed in unspeakable vices, and his soldiers imitated his acts, which were not heroic at all In the hands of those cruel people was the humanity of Jesus, being flogged until bleeding, unable to open his mouth, unable to say not a word. On the other hand, the Roman soldiers, placed in the service of Pilate, were less bestial; yet they were still wicked.
Among the Roman soldiers was the one possessed by Satan, the one who crowned Jesus forever with the crown of thorns, bloody crown and diadem of estimable value. The power of Jesus overcame them all. He is still the victor over all kinds of violence and accepts no one’s fight except to gain victory.
Likewise through the crucifixion, Jesus makes known one of his pains previously unknown to man. When they locked him in the dungeon, they heated an iron and branded his back with it. He felt so much pain that he almost died from it. Beads of sweat ran all over his body, his vision darkened and his legs went weak. His mother could see everything by supernatural vision, and his blood tears pierced his soul like a sharp spear.
Later, during the scourging, the burned flesh on his back was torn away by the executioners’ heavy blows. That pain that He and his mother felt was greater than any mind can ever understand.
After being flogged, the soldiers spat on his body and hit him hard on the head, repeatedly dazing him. He was kicked in the stomach, which took his breath away and made him fall to the ground, screaming and groaning in pain. It was the greatest fun for those cruel soldiers, who took turns kicking him. He was unrecognizable. His body was shattered as well as his heart. His flesh, torn, hung from his body.
One of them picked him up and dragged him, as his legs could no longer function properly. Then they put one of his clothes on him. They kept dragging and hitting him repeatedly. They broke his nose and face, harassing him. Jesus could hear his insults, his shouts and his taunts that resonated with great hatred. They asked if all Jews were traitors. By crowning him with that terrible plaited crown of thorns, they mocked him, ordering him to imitate a true king.
His feet were bound with ropes and he was ordered to walk to where his cross was located. However, he couldn’t go due to his bound feet. They threw him to the ground and dragged him by the hair towards her. Her pain was intolerable. Then, they untied the knots on his feet and kicked him, forcing him to carry his cross on his own shoulders. He could not see where her cross was, because his eyes were full of blood that dripped from the thorns, which had penetrated her head, causing her immense pain.
Therefore, the cruel soldiers and the one possessed by Satan lifted the cross and put it on his shoulders, pushing him towards the cross. The load he had to carry was very heavy. He staggered forward, guided by the whip behind him. At the same time, he was trying to see the way through the blood burning his eyes.
Then, he felt someone wash his face. Women, in agony, approached her to carefully wipe her swollen face. He heard them cry and said “Blessed be!”. He claimed that his blood would wash away all the sins of mankind, that his salvation had come. He struggled to his feet, but the crowd only raged.
There was no friend of Jesus in the crowd, no one to support him, no one to comfort him. His agony grew greater and he fell back to the ground. To prevent Jesus from dying before the Crucifixion, the soldiers ordered a man named Simon to carry the cross. It was not a gesture of compassion, but for his own interests, so that he would reach the cross alive and be able to complete the torture.
Upon reaching the mountain, he was thrown to the ground. His clothes were stripped off, leaving him naked, in full view of all those present. His wounds reopened due to the abuse and his blood ran on the ground. Her mother ran to him, covering her nakedness with her veil. They took her away from her, but noticing her anguish, they understood her affliction from her and did not rip her clothes completely off her, leaving what she wore under her tunic.
The soldiers offered him wine mixed with gall. However, he, full of bitterness caused by his enemies, rejected it. They then proceeded with the horrible torture of him. They quickly nailed his wrists until the nails pierced his cross. They then stretched out his shattered body and aggressively pierced his feet as well.
There was a distance of approximately three meters between cross and cross. The one of Jesus in the middle, and a thief on each side. His cross was the tallest. With a person standing at the bottom, his feet started where that person’s head ended. This is how everything was calculated to be able to expose Jesus in front of each of the people who were there.
The Romans closed the sector so that the crowd would let them work in peace, not out of consideration for Jesus. They only let his mother and Juan through. They could hear the crowd yelling all kinds of insults and profanities at him. His suffering, agony, and torment were notorious. He had been abandoned by his loved ones, disowned by Peter, on whom he would found his church, and disowned by the rest of his friends.
They left him completely alone with his enemies. He wept, his soul was totally filled with pain. The soldiers then lifted the cross from him and placed it inside the previously prepared hole. Jesus looked out at the crowd with difficulty, due to his swollen eyes. He did not see any friends, among all those who mocked his misery and his pain. No one came to comfort him.
He asked God why he had abandoned him, why he had been abandoned by all the people he loved. Then his gaze fell on his mother and his hearts spoke. Jesus told her that he was giving her beloved children to her, so that they might also be her children. Thus Mary became the mother of all men.
It was all over and salvation was near. Jesus saw the heavens open to him and all the angels were there, standing and silent. “My Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. I’m with you now”. Thus, Jesus Christ dictated to all humans his agony. He likewise asks all his sons to penetrate maps deep into his sores, to listen to his heartbeat.
His passion is repeated every day, every day he is dragged along the road to Calvary by those who no longer follow his path. His agonies are greater and multiplied every day as he sees his children heading for the eternal fire. His heart sinks and he grows heavier as he sees so much ingratitude on earth, and his body is whipped mercilessly.
Jesus suffers. However, he has filled our houses with good things, giving us his peace and deep love daily. Still, he is crowned with a crown of thorns by the very people to whom he gave peace and love from him. Before them he is like a beggar, with his heart in his hand, pleading. And in exchange for a kind look, they only make fun of him, spit on him, beat him and take him to the mountain, where they crucify him again.
He slowly wastes away, his blood spilling out with nothing to stop it. He is crucified anew daily for sinners. And he needs to rest. “Will you let me rest?” Jesus asks. He is the one who has freed them from death, for them he was persecuted. Disfigured by blows, spat on, despised and humiliated for the salvation of humans.
And for the liberation of others, he allowed himself to be pierced by the very ones he created. They pierced and bruised the hands that created them, and through their stripes they have healed us. Thus, Jesus asks us to return to him, reconcile and live holyly abandoning our ways.
Jesus has seen this generation walk away from him, with pain and tears, as they follow vice instead of virtue, death instead of life. Because they have trusted in the lie, conceiving the rationalism that gave birth to atheism. How long must Jesus remain abandoned and alone behind each tabernacle, while tears of blood stream down his cheeks, tearing every fiber of his heart?
His Gethsemane agonies are repeated hour after hour in his soul. We must enter into his wounds to understand his agony, his pain and his suffering; everything that has happened to save us, who only pay him with one sin after another, falling into vices and atheism.
Christ had already foreseen how, despite his sacrifice, clans would rise up against him and divide his body, initiating new doctrines. And that once their sense of what is true and false was completely covered by his discord, they would lose their sense of brotherhood. Since then, the wailing of his sheep has pierced his ears. Now, like an echo, his cry from the cross goes out to various nations to call his children back and make them one.
Those tears of blood that run down her cheeks, are shed for each of her children. They are tears caused by all sins and impurities. The marks on her body, her open wounds, with married daily, mercilessly, by those she loves most, but now they have turned their backs on her. However, it was they who said that they wanted to learn the ways of Christ and follow him.
Intellectually, they are in the dark and until they die to themselves, they cannot have the ability to see the light. However, on days of Lent, Christ comes again to them, his sons who are sinners, just or unjust, or rejected by humanity. In this world he comes to ask of them, their reconciliation.
It is necessary to reconcile with our brothers, because when we reconcile with them, we do it with Christ, our God. We must offer him our peace, just as he offers us his. We must imitate him and be holy. Sacrifice yourselves and fast in order to grow in his spirit, which is love, holiness and truth.
During Lent, Jesus pours out his spirit on his nations so that they grow like grass, where there is plenty of water. He comes down that way to fill the nation’s reserves with his fruit. He comes to wake us up from lethargy and move us away from the bad paths, those that take us away from him.
At this time, he makes a special call to all those who are under his name and work doing their best to maintain peace and unity among all of us. He asks them to come to him like children, to look him in the face and answer the following questions: Have you done everything possible to preserve the unity of the body of Jesus? Are you honestly trying to rejoin your beliefs?
Jesus tells us to renew our minds through the spiritual revolution, the revolution of love. It is necessary to let go of our grudges, those we hold against others. We must go to him pure and renewed. Let us not be like salt that has lost its flavor, but like a tree from which beautiful fruits sprout, fruits of holiness. Let us fulfill his law by helping each other, being one and caring for each of our brothers.
Jesus created the Eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood with the aim of perpetuating the sacrifice of the cross, as well as entrusting to his church the memorial of his death and resurrection: the sacrament of piety, which is a sign of union, charity, and the Easter banquet where his body is received, the soul is filled with grace and we are given a pledge of the glory to come.
The mass is sacrifice and it is a banquet. It is a sacrifice from the consecration of the bread and wine, in the discharge where the same Christ is offered who was sacrificed on that cross. The value of the Holy Mass is the same infinite value of the crucifixion of Jesus. At the same time, the mass is a banquet. It is really double.
Within it, the banquet of the word is granted, at the same time as the Eucharistic banquet. We, as human beings, feed on the word of God, heard in your biblical readings, with the holy communion that is made up of the body and blood of Christ.
In turn, the mass fulfills four objectives: adoration of God, gratitude for his help, reparation for our sins, and petition for our needs, both physical and spiritual. It was instituted by Our Lord at the Last Supper, on Holy Thursday, and on Good Friday the sacrifice on the cross was consummated. Jesus, of course, is the main actor in the Holy Mass. The priest is the one who guides the celebration and consecrates. Those faithful to the Lord offer themselves with the priest in the functions that correspond to them.
All Catholics, from the age of seven, are required to attend Mass every Sunday. And not only because it is an obligation, but because it is our way of showing God all our love and enriching our souls with the fruits of mass. Those who understand it, try to hear it daily, practicing the highest Catholic prayers and devotions.
Within the mass there are two parts that make it up as a whole: Liturgy of the Word and Eucharistic Liturgy. In turn, the holy communion received by the priest is a fundamental part of the mass.
Among the many uses of the mass, Saint Bernard says that he who listens to Catholic devotions and prayers deserves more, in the grace of God, than if he pilgrimages the great immensity of the whole world, and if he gives the poor all his property, but even more so the one who celebrates. The saint himself says that he who devoutly listens to mass deserves as much as if he visited all the holy places in Jerusalem.
Saint Bonaventure, with other fathers, expresses that the holy mass is the set of wonders that God has created with men on earth. On the other hand, St. Augustine declares that if anyone devoutly listens to the Mass, he will attain great aids that will prevent him from falling into mortal sin, and his defects and venial sins, as well as his imperfections, will be forgiven.
All the steps we take to hear mass, are written and counted by our angels, and for each step we take, our God will grant us a great prize in this perishable mortal life. Hearing mass and seeing the Blessed Sacrament drives away the sinner’s demon, the one that keeps us from our path of holiness. Later, the same angel goes on to say that whoever hears the entire mass will not lack the food and sustenance necessary for his body.
When we hear mass we waste no time. On the contrary, we gain a lot from it, no matter how distracted and busy the priest is in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Additionally, St. Augustine says: whoever prays for the dead and hears mass, works for himself; in this way, he who offers for souls what he prays for, he works for himself.
Saint Anselm says that a mass surpasses and fulfills in its entirety the virtue of all prayers in terms of the remission of punishment and guilt. Those who wish to listen to a mass in life, or give alms so that it is celebrated, take advantage of more than is left to celebrate it at the time of their death.
In addition, hearing the mass will help us to free ourselves from great dangers and evils that may approach the day of communion. There is no other sacrifice by which the souls of the deceased leave and are freed from all the pains of purgatory, than by the most sacred obligation and sacrifice of the mass. The sorrow of the living and the dead is suspended in the process in which the mass is said, mainly for the souls of those for whom the priest prays and says the mass.
Through the masses heard and said with great devotion, sinners surrender to God, at the same time that souls are freed from the deserved punishment for their sins, and the just will remain on the straight path of justification. The masses celebrated in the churches are where the infidels are converted to the faith of Jesus, the souls of the pains of purgatory can be released and return to heaven, and the just affirm their grace in God.
Saint Jerome says that those souls in the pains of purgatory, for whom the priest prays at every mass, suffer no torment in the process, while the holy sacrifice of the mass is celebrated and prayed for them. He himself says that any mass that is celebrated with devotion will liberate many souls from the pain of purgatory, and those who remain within it will considerably reduce the pain they suffer there.
Additionally, Saint Albert the Great establishes that the holy sacrifice of the mass is incredibly full of mysteries, as many mysteries as the sea of drops, as the sun of atoms and as the sky full of many angels.
Sermon 145 says that in the mass, whoever contemplates the passion and death of Jesus, like the aforementioned, will deserve more than if he were walking barefoot in the holy places of Jerusalem, fasting on bread and water for a year and flog himself until all the blood that runs through his veins is spilled.
According to San Cipriano, the holy sacrifice of the Mass is like a medicine to heal the worst illnesses, and like a holocaust to purge all our faults and sins. The celebration of the mass is worth as much as the death of Christ on the cross. By attending Holy Mass, the virtues are increased, as is our grace.
Juan Bautista Mantuano said that even if God gave him a hundred languages, and with them a voice of steel impossible to wear out, it would not even be possible to declare and manifest the utilities, privileges and great benefits that we gain by hearing the mass. It is the greatest good that can be offered to our souls to free them and take them out of purgatory, allowing them to enjoy their most holy glory. He takes more advantage to redeem himself from a guilt or a penalty, to hear a mass than all the prayers of the whole world.
The Council of Trent exclaims that by the holy sacrifice of the mass God is appeased, and thus allows grace and the gift of penance. This sacrifice is the sun of the spiritual exercises, the most powerful, the heart of devotion, the soul of piety and the center of the Catholic, keeping all the believers united with her.
Finally, within the benefits and effects caused by the sacrifice of the mass, as well as listening to it, the following stand out:
- Development of the ability to resist bad thoughts.
- Destruction of sins.
- Mitigates the sting of meat.
- Strengthen our soul to fight against enemies.
- Forgive venial sins.
- Purifies, cleanses and purges the heart.
- It drives us to do good deeds for ourselves and for others.
- Increase chastity.
- Increases the fervor of charity.
- It gives us the strength to suffer adverse things and go through them, filling our souls with all the virtues of Jesus.
Meaning of vestments and different objects of the Holy Mass
In the first place, the priest who dictates the mass with his sacred vestments, represents our Lord Jesus Christ in his Holy Passion. The cloth or Amito that is placed on his head reflects the disgusting cloth with which the soldiers covered Jesus’ eyes, cruelly slapping him, while saying “guess who hit you”.
The dawn represents the white tunic that Herod made Jesus put on, signaling that he had him for being crazy. The cincture has the meaning of the rope with which Christ was tied in the Garden of Gethsemane when he was crucified. The maniple represents the rope with which he was tied to the column when he was flogged and tortured.
The stole, on the other hand, reminds us of the rope that was tied around his neck when he was carried like a miserable prisoner from one place to another. The chasuble means the purple mantle that they put on him when, with his crown of thorns, they treated him like a false king and mocked him. In turn, the altar represents Calvary. The Ara, means the cross on which Jesus died. The corporeal ones represent the sheet with which Our Lord was shrouded.
In addition, the chalice refers to the tomb where Jesus was placed after his death. Finally, the Paten represents the slab with which they closed the entrance to the sepulcher where his body lay.
colors of the liturgy
The liturgy has different colors and each one has an important meaning. First of all, purple symbolizes penance and humility. It is used during Lent, Holy Week and on the four Sundays of Advent. On the other hand, green means hope. This term comes from the Latin “virde”, which refers to something fresh, lush or flourishing. It is used in ordinary time, that is, on days when the public ministry of Jesus is not celebrated.
White represents purity and joy. It is used during the Christmas holidays, Easter and the Ascension of Jesus and Epiphany. It is also used in festivities in honor of the Virgin Mary, as well as the angels and saints who were not martyred. Red, on the other hand, embodies fire, royalty, and blood. It is used in the mass during the Passion and on the days during which the deaths of the martyrs, the apostles and the evangelists are commemorated. It is also used on Pentecost, representing the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Each of the colors mentioned has a special and important meaning, its proper use is vital during the mass, so that the Catholic devotions and prayers said in it are expressed appropriately and respect our God.
The Ten Commandments of God, also known as the Decalogue, are a set of moral, ethical, and worship standards or principles. They form a fundamental part of the Jewish and Catholic religions. They include several instructions, among which they emphasize worshiping only God and keeping the Sabbath day holy. There are also some restrictions against idolatry, murder, adultery, theft, among others.
The various religions comply with and follow these traditions according to their way of interpreting and enumerating the commandments. The Ten Commandments of God appear twice in the Hebrew Bible. First in the books of Exodus and then in the books of Deuteronomy. According to the story told in these books, God wrote the commandments on two stone tablets, which he gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. According to the account, coming down from the mountain, he saw that the people were worshiping a golden calf. Frustrated and enraged at the sight of them, he smashed both stones.
Then, he asked God for forgiveness for all the people, begging him to seal a pact or alliance with him. Thus, God commanded Moses to break two stone slabs again, and the ten commandments of his covenant were written on them, adding that disobedience should not be tolerated.
The Ten Commandments of the Catholic Church are as follows:
Love God above all things, despite any circumstance. By this we mean that our love for God must be unconditional, at all times. We should not go to him only when we need something from him. We must daily demonstrate our love and devotions to him through our prayers.
Do not take God’s name in vain. The sentiment behind this commandment is codified in the Lord’s Prayer, which begins as follows: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Pope Benedict XVI exclaimed that when God revealed his name to Moses, he in turn created a relationship with humanity. The incarnation meant the end of a process that had begun with the delivery of the divine name.
Benedict XVI himself affirms that the aforementioned can cause the divine name to be used in inappropriate ways. This commandment does not mean that the name of God in the taking of solemn oaths administered by legitimate authority cannot be used, however, lying under such oaths, invoking the name of God for magical purposes or expressing words of hatred and rebellion against He, are considered sins of blasphemy.
The third commandment is to keep holy the Lord’s day. We are to do our jobs and fulfill our other responsibilities for six days, however the seventh is to be fully surrendered to God.
Although some Christian denominations do something similar to the Jewish practice of observing the “sabbat”, Saturday. However, almost all Catholics and Christians take Sunday as a special day, calling it the Lord’s Day. This practice began in the first century, having its origins in the belief that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.
Tertullian was the first to mention the Sunday rest, saying that on the day of the Lord’s resurrection not only should one not kneel, but every posture and application office should close, deferring our business so as not to give the devil a place.
fourth commandment “You shall honor your father and your mother.” This strengthens family relationships from generation to generation and prolongs our days on earth. Within it, the connection between the correct family order and the stability of the whole society in general is made explicit.
The family is loved and protected by God, because the unconditional love that parents offer to their children, together with the teachings of the church, reflect the love of the Lord and pass faith to each child.
The fifth commandment explicitly commands “thou shalt not kill.” Within this commandment, respect for human life, for our brothers, for our neighbor is demanded. According to the scriptures, Jesus made the decision to expand the commandment, not only speaking of respect for human life, but also demanding that Christians and Catholics alike love their enemies and avoid causeless rage, hatred and revenge. The fundamental basis of the Catholic doctrine on this fifth commandment is the ethics of the sanctity of life, however, some philosophers, such as Kreeft, argue the opposite of the ethics of quality of life.
According to this commandment, it is necessary to live in peace, love, understand and care for each other. Well, only in this way will we achieve a better world and we will be able to demonstrate our love and devotion to God. This is one of the most important commandments, since disrespecting life and killing others is considered a cardinal sin. Our love for the Lord must be honest, and at the same time our love for the lives of others and our own lives, too. This is what the fifth commandment demonstrates.
This commandment includes respect for all human life, from its conception. Life, from its beginning, is the fruit of God’s creative action and is always in a special relationship with the Creator. Only God is the one who decides the beginning and end of our lives. The church affirms, through this commandment, that under no circumstances can anyone claim the right to directly kill an innocent human being. In this case, we refer to abortion.
Directly and intentionally taking the life of an innocent human being is considered a mortal sin. The murder of relatives, including abortion and infanticide, are even more serious crimes and sins, due to the natural ties that they break. For the church, life begins at the moment of conception, and it emphasizes that the integrity of the embryo must be highly protected, cared for and medically attended within the reach of its parents, as with every human being.
Induced abortion has been condemned by the church since the 1st century. Formal collaboration in induced abortion, in turn, causes the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae, for committing a crime. The sanction by the church is not intended to restrict mercy, but to make clear the seriousness of the crime committed and the irreparable damage done to the child, his parents and society.
The formal collaboration in this fact not only extends to the mother who undergoes the abortion voluntarily, but also to the doctors, nurses and assistants who participate directly in the execution of this act. The church has many foundations dedicated to people who want to confess and repent for their participation in these types of acts, helping them to redeem themselves and give themselves completely to God, fulfilling all his commandments and avoiding harming others and themselves.
The United States Catholic Church, on the other hand, has a specific section regarding in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cells and cloning within the explanation of the fifth commandment. In many cases, these types of techniques include the destruction of human embryos, which is considered by the church to be a gravely sinful form of murder.
In this case, for the Catholic Church, scientific research with embryonic stem cells is considered an immoral means to a good end, and is morally unacceptable. The fifth commandment also prohibits suicide, including euthanasia, that is, assisted suicide, even if it is applied to eliminate the suffering of the individual.
Normal care for someone facing imminent death should not be withdrawn or interrupted under any circumstances. Normal care refers to food, water, and pain relief. These do not include extraordinary treatments, which are inappropriate medical interventions for the patient. They are considered inappropriate, since they do not provide the expected results, since they can be very serious and invasive, causing greater pain to patients and their families.
Therefore, in situations of unavoidable death, what is morally appropriate is to allow the terminally ill to die naturally and to waive extraordinary treatments, in the event that these give only a precarious and painful prolongation of the patient’s life, in addition to interrupting their usual normal care.
On the other hand, the Catholic Church supports the practice of palliative care, within them the use of analgesics and sedatives that can relieve the pain of the patient, shortening his life, as long as death is not wanted, neither as an end nor as a means. but anticipated and tolerated as inevitable.
Regarding the death penalty
During the first 200 years of these commandments, the religious refused to kill in military service, in self-defense, or within the judicial system. However, there was still no official position on the part of the church regarding the death penalty. When the church was officially recognized as a public institution, its position on the death penalty was one of tolerance, not absolute acceptance.
Similarly, the death penalty was supported from the earliest Catholic theologians. Ambrose of Milan urged members of the clergy to announce and carry out the death penalty. On the other hand, Augustine of Hippo answered the objections within the fifth commandment in his book De Civitate Dei.
Several important figures within this field also argued that the Holy Scriptures support the civil authorities to carry out the death penalty, since they consider it an act of justice and not hate. In turn, it must be executed with prudence and without haste. It is important to note that the church does not condemn or promote capital punishment, but tolerance for it has fluctuated over the centuries.
In 2018, the Catholic Church expressed its opinion on the matter, establishing that the death penalty is inadmissible, since it violates the dignity of man. In the light of the Gospel, the death penalty is considered an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, which is not correct, regardless of the circumstances under which it is practiced.
You shall not commit adultery. So says the sixth commandment. According to the Catholic Church, humans are sexual beings. Our sexual identity, however, extends beyond our physical appearance; also involving the mind and soul. The sexes are destined by divine design to be different and complement each other, with equal dignity, made in the image and likeness of God.
Sexual acts are sacred within the conjugal relationship. Therefore, sexual sins violate not only the body, but also the person’s being. In his book From Him Crossing the Threshold of Hope , John Paul II reflected on this. In it, he explains how young people are always searching for the beauty of love, they want their love to be beautiful.
However, if they give in to weaknesses, imitating role models that could easily be classified as a scandal, deep down in their hearts what they really want is pure love. No one can grant you such a love, only God. Therefore, you must be willing to follow him, without looking at the sacrifices that this may entail.
Like Orthodox Judaism and Islam, the Catholic Church considers all sexual acts that have occurred outside of marriage to be mortal sins. The gravity of this sin excludes the sinner from sacramental communion until he repents and is absolved through sacramental confession.
The church’s teachings regarding the sixth commandment include the in-depth lessons and discussions on chastity. This term refers to a moral virtue, a gift from God and a fruit of spiritual labor. The church perceives sexual relations as something much deeper than the physical act and pleasure, since it also affects the soul. That is why the Catholic Church teaches that chastity is a virtue that all people are invited to conquer and acquire.
This term is defined as the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being, thus adequately integrating human sexuality within the individual, with his entire nature. If you want to acquire this virtue, Catholics are encouraged to enter into the long and demanding work of self-control, helped by friends, the grace of God, maturation and education, always respecting the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life.
On the other hand, the Catholic Church classifies violations of the sixth commandment as crimes against chastity and crimes against the dignity of marriage. First, crimes against chastity are listed in increasing order of seriousness.
They are the following:
- Lust: sexual pleasure is positive and is created by God. The spouses must experience the satisfaction of the body and also of the spirit. However, lust does not mean sexual pleasure, but an uncontrolled desire or enjoyment of rebellious sexual pleasure. It is the sexual desire outside its purpose of procreation and the union of man and woman in body and soul.
- Masturbation: is defined as the voluntary excitation of the genital organs, with the sole objective of obtaining venereal pleasure. It is considered a sin for the same reasons as lust, however it is considered more serious because it involves a physical act rather than a mental act.
- Fornication: is the carnal union of a man and a woman outside of marriage. It is considered contrary to the dignity of people and human sexuality, as it is a scandal and causes corruption to young people. It is not ordained for the good of the spouses, nor for the education of children.
- Pornography: consists of making public the sexual acts of the protagonists, whether real or simulated, to deliberately exhibit them before large numbers of people. It is offensive to chastity, since it denatures the purpose of the sexual act. Likewise, it seriously undermines the dignity of those who dedicate themselves to it, since each one of them becomes an object of pleasure and illegal gain for others. At the same time, it introduces those who see it into an illusion of a fictional world.
- Prostitution: it is a serious offense for both the prostitute and the client, since it reduces the human being to a simple object of sexual pleasure, at the same time violating human dignity and putting society at risk. The gravity of the sin is less for those women who submit to prostitution for blackmail, misery or social pressure.
- Rape: is an intrinsically negative act, as it causes serious damage and marks the victim for life, violently and profoundly offending everyone’s right to liberty and moral and physical integrity. It is considered more serious when the act constitutes incest, or when it is rape carried out by educators against children entrusted to them.
Among the crimes against the dignity of marriage, are adultery and divorce.
Adultery designates conjugal infidelity. When two people establish a sexual act with each other and one of the two, or both are married, even if the relationship is ephemeral, they commit adultery. The Catholic Church considers adultery a greater sin than fornication, since it involves married people. Kreeft affirms that adultery is not a sin against oneself only, but against society, the spouse and the children of him, also damaging the body and soul of him.
On the other hand, divorce is considered a grave offense against natural law. This act seeks to break the contact signed voluntarily by the spouses to live with each other until death. Divorce is an insult against the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is a sign.
According to the bible, Jesus of Nazareth, says that it is not lawful for a man, dismissing his wife, to marry another. Nor is it lawful for another to take as his wife one who has divorced her husband. Jesus viewed divorce as an accommodation, a tolerance embedded in Jewish law.
The church, on the other hand, teaches that the union of a marriage was created by God and made to be indissoluble, just like the creation of a child, since it cannot be “uncreated”. The one-flesh marriage bond can never be broken. At the same time, it affirms that if this link is broken, the spouse will be involved in a situation of permanent adultery, increasing the seriousness of the rupture and the sin.
In addition to these two great offenses against the dignity of marriage, other elements such as polygamy, incest and free union such as concubinage and de facto union, are also considered as sins and breaches of the sixth commandment.
The seventh commandment indicates that we should not steal. Within it, material goods are regulated, prohibiting usurping, using, causing damage or unjustly taking the goods that belong to another person against their own will. In this way, requirements are established on people who own worldly goods so that they can use them responsibly, always taking into account the common welfare.
Catholicism addresses the concept of God’s creation within the explanation of this commandment and prohibits the abuse of animals and the environment. On the other hand, the Catholic Church establishes that each individual has the right to private property. However, the property makes that person a manager, who must make his property fruitful or profitable in a way that he benefits others, after the owner has taken care of his family.
Private property and the common good are complementary elements, which exist with the aim of strengthening society. It should be noted that the seizure of another person’s private property is not seen as sin or theft if there is an obvious and urgent need, as it is the only way to meet immediate and essential needs such as food, shelter or clothing.
The concept that slaves are also private property is condemned by the church, since enslavement is considered an act of theft and violation of human rights, becoming one of the worst sins.
Regarding social justice, the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum discusses the reciprocal relations and duties of labor and capital, as well as the government and its citizens. One of the main concerns regarding this was the need to improve, combat misery and alleviate it, as it unfairly pressures the majority of the working class.
The encyclical, in turn, supported the right to form labor unions, rejected communism and unrestricted capitalism, and finally reaffirmed the right of all citizens to own their private property. This interpretation of the seventh commandment teaches that employers must balance their desire for profits that guarantee a good future for the company and the good of the employees.
Company owners, additionally, have the obligation to pay their workers a fair salary that is enough for them to live in a dignified manner, honor contracts and avoid dishonest activities, such as bribery of public officials.
At the same time, workers are required to perform their duties conscientiously and correctly, as stipulated in their contract, avoiding dishonesty in the work environment, such as the use of company material for personal use without the manager’s permission.
There needs to be a balance between government regulations and the laws of the market. The church considers that exclusive dependence on the market or pure capitalism is not enough to raise human needs in full, while relying on government regulation, or pure socialism, perverts the basis of all social ties.
Similarly, the church does not reject capitalism or socialism, but it does warn against the excesses of each system, since they give rise to injustice with citizens. Additionally, the church teaches that the nations and people with the greatest resources have a moral obligation to help the poorest nations and people, working in turn to reform financial institutions, seeking the economic benefit of the entire population.
With this commandment, the aim is to maintain social order, as well as the balance between the workplace and the everyday environment, always seeking that each individual receives a fair amount of goods, avoiding misery and injustice.
The eighth commandment of God requires not to lie or bear false witness. The Church teaches us that once God is real, the members of his people must live honestly, while bearing witness to the truth revealed by Christ. That is why violations and offenses against the truth are considered sins. These have different levels of severity, according to the intentions of the person who commits the sin and the damage caused as a result of it.
The different levels of crimes or violations of this commandment are false testimony and perjury, reckless or hasty judgment, slander, slander, flattery, flattery or complacency; vainglory, bragging or mocking, and, finally, lying.
False testimony and perjury refers to statements made publicly in court for obstructing justice, convicting the innocent or exonerating the guilty, including increasing the sentence of the accused.
On the other hand, reckless or hasty judgment consists of believing and admitting something as true, without having sufficient evidence, disclosing false testimonies that accuse others of moral defects.
Slander refers to the dissemination of defects or failures of third parties to people who do not pay attention to it, without a fair or objectively valid reason. On the other hand, slander means lying to damage an individual’s reputation, giving others multiple opportunities for others to misjudge the slandered person.
Flattery, flattery, or pandering encourages another person’s malicious acts and conduct. It can also be a speech whose objective is to deceive others for personal gain. Within the following violation of the commandment is vainglory, boasting or mocking, which consists of a speech in which the person only honors himself and dishonors everyone else.
Finally, lying is saying something that is false with the simple intention of deceiving. That is why the most direct offense to the truth, since it contradicts it. The Catechism establishes that lying, by damaging man’s relationship with the truth and with his neighbor, deeply offends men’s relationship with the word of the Lord.
Additionally, the Catholic Church requires that those who have damaged the reputation of others must make amends for the falsehoods they have communicated. However, the church also teaches that each individual has a right to privacy, so there is no need for a person to reveal a truth to whom he has no right to know.
Parents are strictly prohibited from revealing the secret of the condition, regardless of the circumstance, gravity of the sin, or impact on society. Any parent who fails to comply with these rules incurs a latae sententiae excommunication. Included within the teachings of this commandment is the requirement that practitioners unequivocally bear witness to their faith in situations that require it.
The ninth commandment forbids indulging in impure thoughts or desires. Both this and the tenth commandment talk about covetousness, which is an inner disposition and not a physical act. The Catholic Church distinguishes between lust for the flesh (sexual desire for other people) and lust for material goods.
According to the texts of the Bible, Jesus placed great emphasis on the need for all of us to have pure thoughts, thus exercising pure actions. At the same time, he stated that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her within her heart. On the other hand, the catechism affirms that, with the help of God’s grace, men and women have an obligation to overcome lust and other carnal desires, such as the sinful relations of a spouse with another person outside of their marriage.
To perform such a task successfully, purity of heart is a fundamental quality. The usual Catholic prayers and devotions contain requests to obtain this great virtue. The Catholic Church identifies several Gifts from God that help maintain purity in a person. For example:
- Chastity: allows people to love each other with a straight and united heart.
- Purity of intention: try to fulfill the will of God, knowing that only He can lead men to their true goal and objective.
- Catholic prayers and devotions, through which the power of God to grant people the necessary ability to overcome sexual desires is recognized.
- Modesty and bodily modesty of feelings: implies total discretion in the choice of words and the way of dressing.
According to the writings of Jesus, those who have a pure heart are blessed, for they will be able to see God. Purity of heart, which is introduced in the ninth commandment, is the precondition for the saints to see God in person. This way of seeing things allows everyone to accept each other as a neighbor, understanding the human body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and a manifestation of divine beauty.
There is a connection between purity of heart, body and faith. The pure in heart put the intellect and the will according to the demands of the Lord, mainly in areas such as charity, chastity or sexual rectitude, love of truth and orthodoxy of faith.
The tenth commandment speaks of avarice and greed. He says “you shall not covet the property of others”. The main objective of this commandment is the detachment of riches, because according to the catechism, this detachment is necessary for entry into the kingdom of heaven. Covetousness is prohibited by the tenth commandment, as it is considered to be the root of theft, fraud, and robbery, which are prohibited in the seventh commandment. Furthermore, it can lead to violence and injustice.
The church defines greed as inordinate desire, which can take many forms. First of all, there is greed, an immoderate and excessive desire to obtain everything that is not needed. Next comes envy. This is one of the seven deadly sins, it consists of an immoderate desire to want to appropriate the property of others.
Envy is an attitude that fills us with sadness and frustration when we see the prosperity of the other. The church considers it a devilish sin par excellence. Hatred, slander, defamation, joy caused by the evil of another and disgust caused by the prosperity of others are born from it.
A bad desire can be overcome by a stronger good desire. This can be achieved through good will, humility, gratitude and full trust in God’s grace. On the other hand, there are two types of sins: venial and mortal sins.
For a sin to be mortal, there are three conditions: breaking one of the ten commandments, it must be committed with full knowledge and that it has not been committed under the pressure of third parties or circumstances.
Venial sin is a minor infraction. However, it deteriorates the relationship with God and further disposes the individual to commit a mortal sin later on.
Catholic prayers and devotions
Catholic prayers and devotions allow all believers to enhance and strengthen their relationship with God, showing that their love for Him is unconditional. We must pray every day, because as we mentioned earlier in this article, prayer is a fundamental practice to move away from evil paths, avoiding committing venial or mortal sins, in addition to not complying with the ten commandments of God.
That is why in this section of the article we will talk about some of the most commonly used and most powerful Catholic prayers and devotions.
Glory in the highest
Gloria in Excelsis Deo, also called major doxology, is considered to be a liturgical hymn. It is often sung in a semi-syllabic form, forming part of the obligatory pieces of the mass, both in Catholic and Orthodox liturgies.
The Gloria is an ancient and venerable hymn. Through him, the church gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies God the Father and glorifies and begs the Lamb. The text begins with the words that the angels used to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, taken from the Vetus Latina.
The Latin Vulgate, in turn, uses altissimis, which generally means “in the highest”, but in a physical sense; instead of excelsis, which means superior, elevated, or the highest, used by the Vetus Latina. The prayer or hymn follows with verses added in order to create a doxology of its own. The original Greek text has a fairly distant origin in the history of Christianity.
A new adaptation of the text appeared in the third century, possibly earlier. The longest version, used by the Greek Orthodox Church, dates from the 4th century, however, it is not the usual way in which it is sung in the rest of the Christian liturgies, since in these forms derived from Latin are used, which add the expressions Tu solus altissimus and Cum sancto Spiritu.
The Greek Orthodox conclude the hymn with the following phrase “all day long I will worship and glorify him, forever and ever.” It continues with ten more verses, coming from the salos, the Trisagio and the Gloria Patri. This prayer is used in churches, with the aim of demonstrating our deep love for God, expressing through words our great devotion to Him, all together as one, just as He commands.
Prayer of the blood of Christ
One of the most powerful Catholic prayers and devotions is the prayer to the blood of Christ. This leads to adore the Lord Jesus, acknowledging the value of his most sacred blood with gratitude and love. The apostolic letter Inde a Primis of Pope John XXIII deals with this prayer, about the increase in the cult of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church instituted the liturgical feast in honor of the blood of Jesus Christ on the first of July. Currently, he invites you to continue this wonderful tradition of extolling the dignity of his blood during the month of July. Westminster Cathedral is dedicated to this holiday.
These types of Catholic celebrations and prayers aim to focus attention and faith on the mystery of the love of God incarnate, remembering that Christ, shedding his blood, offered us and continues to offer us his love, as a source of reconciliation and the beginning of new life. in the Holy Spirit.
In the biblical texts it is established that we have been redeemed with a precious blood, that of Christ. Saint Paul says that, to be free, Christ freed us; and that freedom has a high price, which is the life and blood of the redeemer. The blood of Christ is the price that God paid to free humanity from the slavery of sin and eternal death.
His blood is the irrefutable proof of the love of God the Trinity for all men, without excluding absolutely anyone. Devotion to the blood of Christ is an act of love and respect for the unfathomable mystery of Divine Love and mercy. The Church commemorates the mystery of the blood of Christ in various celebrations, such as the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi. The prayer to the Blood of Christ is a tribute to all the sacrifices that Jesus made for us, for humanity, out of love and compassion.
This prayer is frequently used for difficult cases, such as emotional problems, illnesses, situations of suffering for the being in a spiritual way, among others.
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