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How contemplative prayer unites us to the Paschal mystery

Jezus Chrystus

Renata Sedmakova | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 04/05/24

Whenever we engage in contemplative prayer, we can unite ourselves to Jesus’ Passion, death and resurrection.

In the midst of his Passion, Jesus made time for contemplative prayer, uniting himself to the Father on the eve of his sacrifice.

He encouraged his own apostles to join him in this time of prayer, but they could barely keep their eyes open.

And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Luke 22:45-46

Even Peter, the head of the apostles, was not able to stay awake during Jesus’ contemplative prayer.

And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Mark 14:37-38

Jesus extends this same invitation to us to pray with him.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church highlights this truth in its section on prayer:

Contemplative prayer is a communion of love bearing Life for the multitude, to the extent that it consents to abide in the night of faith. The Paschal night of the Resurrection passes through the night of the agony and the tomb – the three intense moments of the Hour of Jesus which his Spirit (and not “the flesh [which] is weak”) brings to life in prayer. We must be willing to “keep watch with [him] one hour.”

CCC 2719

One way to respond to this invitation is by making a daily holy hour. This could be in front of the Blessed Sacrament inside a church or chapel, or it could be at home in your living room.

The key is to set aside time to “keep watch” with Jesus, uniting ourselves to the Paschal mystery, meditating on his Passion, death and resurrection.

Contemplative prayer in particular is a beautiful way to imitate Jesus’ example. He prayed throughout his life and we do not have every moment of prayer recorded in the Gospels.

However, the moments we do have in the Gospels show us the way to imitate him. He frequently set himself apart from the crowds to pray to the Father for strength in his ministry. Jesus taught his disciples this type of prayer, and while they would often fail in their attempts to imitate him, they still tried.

We too should try, even when it is difficult and we do not know if we are able to persevere.

BibleCCC PrayerPrayer
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