CCC 675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.1 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth2 will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.3
CCC 2098 The acts of faith, hope, and charity enjoined by the first commandment are accomplished in prayer. Lifting up the mind toward God is an expression of our adoration of God: prayer of praise and thanksgiving, intercession and petition. Prayer is an indispensable condition for being able to obey God’s commandments. “[We] ought always to pray and not lose heart.”4
CCC 2573 God renews his promise to Jacob, the ancestor of the twelve tribes of Israel.5 Before confronting his elder brother Esau, Jacob wrestles all night with a mysterious figure who refuses to reveal his name, but he blesses him before leaving him at dawn. From this account, the spiritual tradition of the Church has retained the symbol of prayer as a battle of faith and as the triumph of perseverance.6
CCC 2613 Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke:
– The first, “the importunate friend,”7 invites us to urgent prayer: “Knock, and it will be opened to you.” To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will “give whatever he needs,” and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts.
– The second, “the importunate widow,”8 is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith. “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
– The third parable, “the Pharisee and the tax collector,”9 concerns the humility of the heart that prays. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” The Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison!
1 Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12.
2 Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.
3 Cf. 2 Th 2:4-12; I Th 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; I Jn 2:1 8, 22.
4 Lk 18:1.
5 Cf. Gen 28:10-22.
6 Cf. Gen 32:24-30; Lk 18:1-8.
7 Cf. Lk 11:5-13.
8 Cf. Lk 18:1-8.
9 Cf. Lk 18:9-14.