Not so very long ago, I admitted that the Catechism is the book in my life that I cringe from and yet that I know I should probably read, though I make no effort to do so.

Well, last night I was doing some research for an upcoming column, and I found myself — for the umpteenth time in recent weeks — looking through the Catechism.

My experience, as I’ve been digging through it, has been only positive. There’s a reason I’ve heard Padre say, time and again, that the Catechism is good reading — it’s worded in regular English. No, really. I’m no scholar (blog URL notwithstanding), and I’m understanding what I’m finding. Wait, let me phrase that differently: the words make sense to me. Some of the concepts…well, they’re going to have to percolate and take root on their own, with God’s grace.

Last night, in my searching, I couldn’t find a good rabbit trail (that’s the other fun thing about it — you can find cross-references and rabbit trails all over the place!) for what I needed, but as I was looking through the table of contents, I saw an intriguing title: “The Battle of Prayer.”

“Hmm,” I thought, “wonder what this is about?”

Flipping to it, I found a section that could have started “Dear Sarah.” I’m going to excerpt some of it here, because maybe I’m not the only one who needs this. You can read the full text of this section online, or you can pick up the (maybe not as dust as mine used to be) copy of the Catechism off your bookshelf and read paragraphs 2725-2745. (Note: I’m not copying the full text here, just some of the “quotables” that I’ll be cross-stitching onto my heart for future reference.)

Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. […] We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. (2725)

Many Christians unconsciously regard prayer as an occupation that is incompatible with all the other things they have to do: they “don’t have the time.” (2726)

To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into [the tempters’] trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve. (2729)