Public Prayer; Convention; Insulting Behavior

When I walk around campus from class to class, I do absolutely nothing aside from stare at my shoes and shuffle, so I’ve been trying to get into the habit of folding my hands over my abdomen and praying St. Gertrude’s prayer over and over.

I get really scrupulous about praying in public, since Jesus said, “And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men: Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.”

So here’s the question and possible dilemma:

I have quite long hair and so I wear a brimmed hat to keep it out of my face, so when I look down when I’m walking, nobody can see my eyes (I just take my time and look for shoes ahead of me). I keep my lips shut or very close to shut but still mouth the words and move my tongue (praying in my heart, I suppose). If I make the sign of the cross (the sacramental) many students along the walkways will see me making it and they will know automatically that I am praying, and I will know that they know and therefore I’ll be haunted. So do I need to make the sign of the cross to initiate and close a prayer officially, or what? Is it absolutely needed? Does it just improve the prayer?

Also, is it okay to wear a hat while you pray? Is it gravely rude to God, or is it rude enough to God where I’d be better off not praying during those times, or is it just a convention? This is sort of the same case as before; if I take the hat off, I’ll attract lots of attention because, frankly, I look strange (so my folded hands, half-dimmed eyelids, hunched position, and whatever else might make them think I’m praying, and then I’d be thinking that they’re thinking that, which at the very least may initiate scruples and at the most may be a grave matter).

Also, am I right to be doing this heart-prayer thing? If sin originates in the heart, does prayer also originate in the heart like I’ve been presuming it does?

Entirely unrelated: Does anyone else who is or was once way overburdened by college have trouble saying the Rosary daily or doing some other thing recommended by the Church daily, or even weekly?

Maybe you shouldn’t pray each and every time you go between classes. Why not communicate to people, living your life, and instead pray when you are alone and things are quiet?

You should practice looking up instead of at your feet. It is good habit to get into, and make you more self-confident and approachable. You can still pray to yourself while looking around, you can even pray for the people who pass you, but little habits like staring at your feet all the time can not only make you seem like an uninviting person but tend to be the type of things that get noticed in things such as job interviews.

And you are going overkill on worrying about certain aspects of the method/way in which you pray. The main idea that Jesus was putting forth is that prayer doesn’t make you better than anyone else and you shouldn’t use it to draw attention to yourself or section yourself off as some sort of elite soul.

I relate extremely to your post. I think this problem is really only felt by devout Catholic students at college. I feel as most people long ago abandoned showing any signs of their faith in public, but that is not what the cardinals want. They want the lay faithful to be living their faith.

Yeah, I think Patrick answered your direct questions. But, I too am interested a lot in public prayer. The problem clearly arises from Matthew 6:5-6. How literal is Jesus being when he tells us to pray alone in our rooms with the door closed?

Since I spend most of my day outside my room, I live a proportional amount of my spiritual life outside my room. So, I’d want to ask what is the teaching on public prayer? Is it always acceptable as long as it is done for the right reasons? (as in as long as you’re never seeking the praise of others, then it’s always acceptable?)

  1. I’ll read or study the Bible by myself on the quad or somewhere else on campus, and will pray at the beginning for my time in God’s Word to be profitable, and usually I’ll pray something at the end about what I read/ learned.
  2. I’ll pray with a friend outside on campus somewhere
  3. I’ll sit down somewhere outside (preferably less traveled or more out of the way) and will pray the Angelus prayer if its 12:00pm or 6:00pm and I’m not inside. And I prefer to pray the Angelus aloud because I feel that Latin is beautiful, and its more glorifying to God if is spoken.
  4. Lastly, I spent one night outside praying for several hours on the Vigil for all Nascient Life. The cold helped me stay alert and focused for that long in prayer.

That’s pretty much all of my “public prayer life”, if you could call it that. I could be wrong, but I normally don’t feel like any of it is wrong. Or that I shouldn’t pray outside in public, because I don’t care what other people think, and quite frankly don’t even know if other ppl notice. I try to keep them from my mind during any of this. So, that’s why I feel every aspect of my public prayer life is advisable for Catholics. Again, I could be wrong, but that’s my gut.

Personally, I feel that the spirit of Matthew 6 is don’t pray to seek the praise of men, but seek the glory of God. At the same time, if prayer is only private and in our rooms… if people don’t pray the 12:00 or 6:00 Angelus prayer because they’re in public, that verges on being ashamed of the gospel/ our faith.

So, the short answer, is yes. I do actively struggle to say the Angelus daily. Normally I don’t even contemplate trying to get the 6 am one (but I’ve done it a few times), but I try to remember to do the noon and 6 pm Angelus prayers.

Roman Catholic Doctrine Vs. The Doctrinal Teaching of the Word of God

Eternal life is a merited reward [1821, 2010]. - Roman Catholicism
Eternal life is the free gift of God (Romans 6:23)

No one can know if he will attain eternal life [1036, 2005] - Roman Catholicism
The believer can know that he has eternal life by the Word of God (1 John 5:13)

The Roman Catholic Church is necessary for salvation [846]. - Roman Catholicism
There is salvation in no one but the Lord Jesus Christ, “for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)

Purgatory is necessary to atone for sin and clean the soul [1030-1031]. - Roman Catholicism
Purgatory does not exist. Jesus made purification for sins on the cross (Hebrews 1:3)

Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin from the first instant of her conception (the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception) [490-492].
Mary, a descendant of Adam, was born in sin (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12)

Mary is the Mother of the Church [963, 975]. - Roman Catholicism
Mary was the earthly mother of Jesus ( John 2:1)

The Magisterium is the authoritative teacher of the Church. [85-87]. - Roman Catholicism
The Holy Spirit is the authoritative teacher of the church (John 14:26; John 16:13, I John 2:27)

The pope, as the Bishop of Rome, is the successor of Peter [882, 936] - Roman Catholicism
Peter had no successor, nor was he a pope.

The pope is infallible in his authoritative teaching [891]. - Roman Catholicism
God alone is infallible (Numbers 23:19)

Scripture and Tradition together are the Word of God [81, 85, 97, 182]. - Roman Catholicism
Scripture is the Word of God (John 10:35, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21). Tradition is the words of men (Mark 7:1-13).

The sacrificial work of redemption is continually carried out through the Sacrifice of the Mass. [1364,1405, 1846]. - Roman Catholicism
The sacrificial work of redemption was finished when Christ gave His life for us on the cross (Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 1:3).

God desires that consecrated bread and wine be worshiped as divine. [1378-1381] - Roman Catholicism
God forbids the worship of any object, even t hose intended to represent Him (Exodus 20:4-5, Isaiah 42:8)

Justification is lost through mortal sin [1033, 1855, 1874] - Roman Catholicism
Justification cannot be lost. Those whom God justifies will be saved from the wrath of God (Romans 5:8-9).

Justification is furthered by sacraments and good works [1212, 1392, 2010] - Roman Catholicism
Justification is the imputation of the perfect righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Christ the believer has been made complete (Colossians 2:10).

Salvation is attained by cooperating with grace through faith, good works, and participation in the sacraments [183, 1129, 1815, 2002]. - Roman Catholicism
Salvation is attained by grace through faith apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Good works are the result, not the cause, of salvation (Ephesians 2:10).

Mary, “the All-Holy,” lived a perfectly sinless life [411, 493]. - Roman Catholicism
Mary was a sinner; God alone is sinless (Luke 18:19, Romans 3:23, Revelation 15:4).

Mary was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Christ [496-511]. - Roman Catholicism
Mary remained a virgin until after the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:25). Later she had other children (Matthew 13:55-56, Psalm 69:8).

Each Sacrifice of the Mass appeases God’s wrath against sin [1371, 1414]. - Roman Catholicism
The once-for-all sacrifice of the cross fully appeased God’s wrath against sin. (Hebrews 10:12-18).

The Bishops, with the Pope, as their head, rule the universal church. [883, 894-896]. - Roman Catholicism
Christ, the head of the body is the Head of the Church. (Colossians 1:18).

The faithful receive the benefits of the cross in fullest measure through the Sacrifice of the Mass [1366, 1407]. - Roman Catholicism
Believers receive the benefits of the cross in fullest measure in Christ through faith (Ephesians 1:3-14).

God has exalted Mary in heavenly glory as Queen of Heaven and Earth [966]. She is to be praised with special devotion [971, 2675]. - Roman Catholicism
The name of the Lord is to be praised, for He alone is exalted above heaven and earth (Psalm 148:13). God commands, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3).

Mary is the co-mediator to whom we can entrust all our cares and petitions 9 968-970, 2677] - Roman Catholicism
Christ Jesus is the one mediator to whom we can entrust all our cares and petitions (1 Timothy 2:5, John 14:13-14, 1 Peter 5:7).

Mary is the co-redeemer, for she participate with Christ in the painful act of redemption [618, 964, 968, 970]. - Roman Catholicism
Christ alone is the Redeemer, for He alone suffered and died for sin (1 Peter 1:18-19).

The sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated in the Sacrifice of the Mass [1323, 1382] - Roman Catholicism
The Sacrifice of the cross is finished (John 19:30).

Indulgences dispensed by the Church for acts of piety release sinners from temporal punishment [1471-1473]. - Roman Catholicism
Jesus releases believers from their sins by His blood. (Revelation 1:5).

The Magisterium has the right to define truth found only obscurely or implicitly in revelation. [66, 88, 2035, 2051]. - Roman Catholicism
No one has the right to go beyond what is written in Scripture (1 Corinthians 4:6, Proverbs 30:5-6).

Scripture and Tradition together are the Church’s supreme role of faith [80, 82]. - Roman Catholicism
Scripture is the church’s rule of faith (Mark 7:7-13, 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

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