Today’s Catechism sections discuss prayer to God the Father and His Son, Jesus. Supporting material comes from St. Alphonsus Liguori’s “Discourse on the Name of Jesus”.

Article 2

THE WAY OF PRAYER

2663 In the living tradition of prayer, each Church proposes to its faithful, according to its historic, social, and cultural context, a language for prayer: words, melodies, gestures, iconography. The Magisterium of the Church15 has the task of discerning the fidelity of these ways of praying to the tradition of apostolic faith; it is for pastors and catechists to explain their meaning, always in relation to Jesus Christ.

Prayer to the Father

2664 There is no other way of Christian prayer than Christ. Whether our prayer is communal or personal, vocal or interior, it has access to the Father only if we pray "in the name" of Jesus. The sacred humanity of Jesus is therefore the way by which the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray to God our Father.

Prayer to Jesus

2665 The prayer of the Church, nourished by the Word of God and the celebration of the liturgy, teaches us to pray to the Lord Jesus. Even though her prayer is addressed above all to the Father, it includes in all the liturgical traditions forms of prayer addressed to Christ. Certain psalms, given their use in the Prayer of the Church, and the New Testament place on our lips and engrave in our hearts prayer to Christ in the form of invocations: Son of God, Word of God, Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, King, Beloved Son, Son of the Virgin, Good Shepherd, our Life, our Light, our Hope, our Resurrection, Friend of mankind....

2666 But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity the Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: "Jesus," "YHWH saves."16 The name "Jesus" contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray "Jesus" is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.17

2667 This simple invocation of faith developed in the tradition of prayer under many forms in East and West. The most usual formulation, transmitted by the spiritual writers of the Sinai, Syria, and Mt. Athos, is the invocation, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners." It combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light.18 By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior's mercy.

2668 The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases,19 but holds fast to the word and "brings forth fruit with patience."20 This prayer is possible "at all times" because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus.

2669 The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior's steps. The stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world.

IN BRIEF

2680 Prayer is primarily addressed to the Father; it can also be directed toward Jesus, particularly by the invocation of his holy name: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners."

The following comes from St. Alphonsus Liguori’s “Discourse on the Name of Jesus”.

In the first place, the name of Jesus consoles us; for when we invoke Jesus, we find relief in all our afflictions. When we have recourse to Jesus, He wishes to console us, because He loves us; and He can do so, because He is not only man, but He is also the Omnipotent God; otherwise He could not properly have this great name of Saviour. The name of Jesus signifies that the bearer of it is of an infinite power, infinite wisdom, and infinite love; so that if Jesus Christ had not united in Himself all these perfections, He could not have saved us: "If anyone of these," says St. Bernard, "had been wanting, Thou couldst not call Thyself Saviour." [6] Thus, when speaking of the circumcision, the Saint says: "He was circumcised as being the Son of Abraham, He was called Jesus as being the Son of God." [7] He is branded as man with the mark of sin, having taken upon Himself the burden of atoning for sinners; and from His very infancy He began, to satisfy for their crimes, by suffering and shedding His Blood; but He is called Jesus, He is called the Saviour, inasmuch as He is the Son of God, because to God alone does the office of salvation belong.

The name of Jesus is said by the Holy Spirit to be like oil poured out: Thy name is as oil poured out. [8] And so indeed it is, says St. Bernard; for as oil serves for light, for food, and for medicine, so especially the name of Jesus is light: "it is a light when preached." And how was it, says the Saint, that the light of faith shone forth so suddenly in the world so that in a short time so many Gentile nations knew the true God, and became His followers, if it was not through hearing the name of Jesus preached? "Whence, think you, shone forth in the whole world, so bright and so sudden, the light of faith, except from the preaching of the name of Jesus?"

Footnotes

15 Cf. DV 10.
16 Cf. Ex 3:14; 33: 19-23; ⇒ Mt 1:21.
17 ⇒ Rom 10:13; ⇒ Acts 2:21; ⇒ 3:15-16; ⇒ Gal 2:20.
18 Cf. ⇒ Mk 10:46-52; ⇒ Lk 18:13.
19 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:7[ETML:C/].
20 Cf. ⇒ Lk 8:15.