Archbishop of Westminster

Archbishop Vincent Nichols on Prayer Today

Archbishop Vincent Nichols has given a talk about “Prayer Today’ to the Young Friends of Westminster Cathedral.

In the talk, given at Westminster Cathedral Hall on 26 January 2012. Archbishop Nichols stressed the importance of liturgical prayer and that for Catholics, all prayer is in and through Christ.

“We are through our baptism inseparably part of the body of the Church and therefore every experience of prayer… is part of the life of the Church, enriched by it and enriching it. That’s why we say that liturgical prayer… when we come together as the visible body of Christ, is the highest point of prayer that any of us can attain, particularly in the Mass where we see and hear again the body of Christ crying out to the Father and handing himself over to the Father through the cross.”

Creating silence

Archbishop Nichols also emphasised the importance of silence for prayer

“We can do an awful lot of talking.,.. but there is something crucial about creating silence in the way that we pray, in a phrase, my silence is the gateway to true interiority...the essential experience of prayer is the experience of the word of God being born within  me .... the incarnation is the crucial unfolding of how God wants to come to us… and the birth of Christ takes place in the silence of the night and it’s in that silence that the word of God can also be born in each one of us. When that word of God day by day  is born afresh then there is just the possibility that the word of God will echo forth in what I say and what I do that day.”

Praying the rosary

Finally, Archbishop Nichols highlighted some examples of prayer, including the Rosary and the Breviary.

“The rosary is often the prayer that sustains us most… the rosary has two great strengths, one it is rhythmic…like a good piece of music it carries us along. Secondly, it is built around the gospel scenes, if we use the mysteries of the rosary it is also a way into the imaginative prayer of seeing myself in the context of Jesus, seeing myself caught up in the drama of the Gospel, which is what happens when the love of God takes flesh in our world.”

“The breviary, the rhythm made up of the psalms and short scripture readings and the invocations.., that in a very special way illustrates how prayer is always the activity and the life of the Church,.. everywhere in the world at every moment people are praying the breviary, the morning prayer goes right round the globe with the sun and the evening and night prayer follow it right round the globe with the coming of the dark.”

Formed in 2008, the Young Friends’ of Westminster Cathedral’s work is to evangelise and invite young people to become more involved in the life of the Cathedral. Through talks and social events we aim to communicate the Good News of the Gospel and foster the Catholic faith. 

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