Prayers and Devotions that Catholics Should Know
The Catechism defines prayer as a “vital and personal relationship with the living and true God” (CCC, 2558). St. John Damascene said: “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God” (CCC, 2559, citing St. John Damascene, De Fide Orth. 3, 24). Prayer is not, however, merely asking God for what we want in life. It is the normal means through which God wills that we obtain all actual graces. It is therefore vital that we know how to pray and that we do so.
Popular devotions are expressions of love and fidelity that arise from the intersection of one’s own faith, culture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Prayers and Devotions”). It is through devotions, derived from the Catholic faith, that popular piety is expressed in many different ways. It is a natural and pious way of predisposing ourselves for the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries (St. John Paul II, 2001).
"Hence the Church must be gripped with an intense and unfailing desire to learn the ways of the Lord. It is Our dearest wish that all those valuable discussions concerning Christian perfection which have gone on for so many centuries in the Church, shall once again receive the importance they deserve and arouse the faithful, not indeed to formulate new rules of spirituality, but to generate new energies in striving after the holiness which Christ has taught us. His own words and example, his guidance and assistance, have made it possible for us to know about this holiness and to desire it and achieve it. This method of spirituality which is confirmed by the custom and tradition of the Church, established by the united action of its members, and exemplified in the outstanding lives of the Saints."
--Pope Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam