Question Corner: Are Silent Prayers Heard by God?
Are silent prayers heard by God?
Q. I am an 88 year old Korean War veteran with a question that is not overwhelming but bothers me almost every day. I speak and pray to God, Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary aloud – every morning and every evening before going to bed. (I live alone.)
But there are also times when I pray silently – just in my head – especially if I wake up during the night. So what I need to know is if these prayers – the silent prayers – are being heard. (Georgia)
A. Please relax and be at peace. The Lord (and Mary too) hears all of our prayers, including the silent ones. In fact, the Bible speaks directly to this. The Letter to the Hebrews says, “The word of God is living and effective … penetrating even between soul and spirit … capable of discerning the thoughts and thoughts of the heart” (4,12).
Even when we are overwhelmed and prayer is difficult, the Lord is there to help us. Paul’s Letter to the Romans says that the Spirit “comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we must, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groans ”(8, 26).
So God can hear our thoughts as easily as he can hear our words. (This can serve as a helpful reminder; even our thoughts should be kind and prayerful as well.)
The Sabbath: Saturday or Sunday?
Q. Why do some religions say the Sabbath is Saturday while others, including Catholics, say it is Sunday? (Eldon, Missouri)
A. No, Catholics do not say that the Sabbath is Sunday. The Sabbath is Saturday, as it was in the Old Testament when God rested from all the work He had done in creation (Gen 2: 2-3) and as it is observed by the Jews today .
Christians, however, celebrate Sunday instead, as it is the day Jesus rose from the dead and the day the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “Sunday is expressly distinguished from the Sabbath which it follows chronologically each week; for Christians, its ceremonial observance replaces that of the Sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish Sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God “(No. 2175).
What Christians celebrate instead of the Sabbath is “the Lord’s Day,” and has been happening since the first century. As the Acts of the Apostles records: “On the first day of the week, when we gathered to break bread, Paul spoke to them” (20: 7).
Thus, for Christians, Sunday is the holy day par excellence of the week, the day when we abstain from bonded labor, dedicate ourselves to the Eucharist, to prayer and to family reunions.
Towards 110, Saint Ignatius, bishop of Antioch and disciple of the apostle John, proclaimed: “Let each friend of Christ celebrate the Lord’s day as a feast, the day of the resurrection, the queen and the head of every day. .
Home unmarried couple
Q. When grandchildren who have lived together for years without being married come to visit me, do I put them in separate rooms? People laugh at me for it, but I have a real problem: is living together no longer a sin? (Sorry – I can’t move on from my education.) (City and state withheld)
A. I am glad that you did not “quit your education”. The value you defend is enduring. Yes, living together without being married is still a sin and always will be. You have every right, if unmarried grandchildren come to visit you, to put them in separate bedrooms – and you should.
And it would help to explain the reason to them: that you love them deeply and are happy to see them, but not at the expense of the values you hold dear and choose to live out. If they are close to you and respect you, it may also be a good idea from time to time to mention the prospect of their marriage (in a church-approved ceremony).
Catholic vision of the “rapture”
Q. Protestants believe in the kidnapping, and it was never really discussed in Catholic schools. What is the belief of the Catholic Church? It would be wonderful to know that we won’t have to go through the tribulation. (Connersville, Indiana)
A. If by “the rapture” one understands that at the second coming of Jesus all the faithful, living and dead, will undergo a bodily assumption into heaven – then, yes, I would say that the Catholics believe it.
But there are other elements in what is sometimes understood as “rapture theology” which are inconsistent with Catholic teaching – in particular the idea that there will be a “secret” coming of the Christ where he will snatch believers out of heaven and leave others behind to experience a time of severe tribulation.
Proponents of this view refer to the passage from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which says, “For the Lord himself … will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will be raised first.” Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air ”(4: 16-17).
The Catholic understanding of this passage is simply that those believers who are alive at the Second Coming of Christ will not experience death but will be transformed into glory and will join the saints already with the Lord. Catholic theology finds no evidence to support a belief in a later period of tribulation and chaos.