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Saturday, February 13, 2016

For Whom We Should Pray
Part 9

By the use of the word “our” in the Lord’s Prayer it is clear that God withes us to pray not only for ourselves, but for others and therefore it is also our duty to offer supplications for all mankind, imploring for them first spiritual, then temporal benefits.  In a special manner, however, we are bound to pray for our relatives, pastors, friends and benefactors, for our country and its rulers, for the just and the faithful departed, for enemies and sinners.

We should not omit offering frequent prayers of thanksgiving for the numerous and weighty blessings which God continually bestows upon us and on the whole human race, and thanking Him particularly for the crowns of victory and glory with which He has adorned the Blessed Virgin and the saints.  Thanksgiving and petition are, indeed, the two principal parts of prayer, the former being quite as necessary as the latter.  In fact, if we are not grateful for God’s benefits, how may we expect that He will heed our petitions?  The one, therefore, is indispensable to the other.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


It has long been a custom in the Church to say this prayer of petition on 30 consecutive days. It is also recommended as a Lenten devotion as well as for all Fridays of the year.

Ever glorious and blessed Mary, Queen of Virgins, Mother of Mercy, through that sword of sorrow which pierced thy tender heart whilst thy only Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, suffered death and ignominy on the Cross; through that filial tenderness and pure love He hast for thee, while from His Cross He recommended thee to the care and protection of His beloved disciple, Saint John, take pity, I beseech thee, on my poverty and need; have compassion on my anxieties and cares; assist and comfort me in all my infirmities and miseries. Thou art the Mother of Mercies, the only refuge of the needy and the orphan, of the desolate and afflicted.

Cast therefore an eye of pity on this sorrowful child of Eve, and hear my prayer; for since, in just punishment of my sins, I find myself surrounded by a multitude of evils, and oppressed with much anguish of spirit, where can I fly for more secure shelter, O loving Mother of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, than under the wings of thy maternal protection? Listen, therefore, I beseech thee, with an air of pity and compassion, to my humble and earnest request. 

I ask it through the infinite mercy of thy dear Son: through that love and humility with which He embraced our human nature, when through thine own obedience to the Divine Will, thou didst consent to become His Mother, and Whom after nine months, you didst bring forth from thy chaste womb, to visit this world, and bless it with His presence. I ask it, through the anguish of mind of thy beloved Son, our dear Savior, on Mount Olivet, when He besought His Eternal Father, to remove from Him, if possible, the bitter chalice of His future passion. I ask it, through the three-fold repetition of His prayers in the Garden, from whence afterwards in sorrow thou didst accompany Him to the scene of His death and sufferings. 

I ask it, through the laceration of His sinless flesh, caused by the cords and whips with which He was bound and scourged, when stripped of His seamless garments, for which His executioners afterwards cast lots. I ask it, through the scoffs and ignominies by which He was insulted; the false accusations and unjust sentence by which He was condemned to death, and which He bore with enduring patience. I ask it, through His bitter tears and bloody sweat; His silence and resignation; His sadness and grief of heart. 

I ask it, through the Blood which trickled from His royal and Sacred Head, when struck with the scepter of a reed, and pierced with His Crown of Thorns. I ask it, through the excruciating torments He suffered, when His hands and feet were fastened with nails to the tree of the Cross. I ask it, through His unbearable thirst, and bitter potion of vinegar and gall. I ask it, through His dereliction on the Cross, when He exclaimed: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me? I ask it, through His Mercy extended to the good thief, and through His recommending His precious Soul and spirit into the hands of His Eternal Father, before He expired, saying: “It is finished.” I ask it, through the Blood mixed with water, which issued from His Sacred Side when pierced with a lance from whence a flood of grace and mercy has flowed to us. 

I ask it, through His immaculate life, bitter passion and ignominious death on the Cross, at which even nature itself was thrown into convulsions by the bursting of rocks, rending of the veil of the temple, the earthquake and darkness, of the sun and the moon. I ask it, through His glorious victory over death, when He arose again to life on the Third day, and through the joy which His appearance for forty days, gaveth thee, His Blessed Mother, His Apostles, and the rest of His disciples; when in thy and their presence, He miraculously ascended into Heaven. 

I ask it, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, infused into the hearts of His disciples; when He descended upon them in the form of fiery tongues, and by which they were inspired with zeal for the conversion of the world, when they went to preach the Gospel. I ask it, through the glorious appearance of thy Son, at the last day, when He shall come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire. I ask it, through the compassion He bore in this life, and the wonderful joy thou didst feel at thine Assumption into Heaven, where thou doth eternally contemplate His Divine perfection.
O glorious and ever Blessed Virgin, comfort the heart of thy suppliant, by obtaining for me . . .

Here mention or reflect on your request. 

And as I believe that my Divine Savior honors thee as His beloved Mother, to whom He refuses nothing contrary to His honor, so let me soon experience thy powerful intercession. Wherefore, O most Blessed Virgin, beside my present petition, and whatever else I may stand in need of, obtain for me also of thy dear Son, our Lord and our God, a lively faith, firm hope, perfect charity, true contrition of heart and genuine tears of compunction, sincere confession, satisfaction and deliverance from sin, love of God and my neighbor, a correct attitude to the world, patience to suffer insults, even death itself, for love of thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Obtain likewise for me, O Holy Mother of God, perseverance in good works, the carrying out of my good resolutions, mortification of my self-will, a holy life, and, at my last moments, a strong and sincere repentance, with such presence of mind, as will enable me to receive the last Sacrament of the Church worthily, so as to die in God’s friendship and favor.
Lastly, I beseech thee, for the Souls of my parents, brethren, relatives and benefactors, both living and dead, life everlasting, from the only giver of every good and perfect gift, the Lord God Almighty: to Whom be all power, now and forever. Amen.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The hymn is based on a long medieval Latin poem, Salve mundi salutare, with stanzas addressing the various parts of Christ's body hanging on the Cross. The l...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

For What We Should Pray

Part 8

That most perfect of prayers, the Our Father, contains all the things for which we should pray, and also indicates the order of importance according to which our requests should be made.  Therefore, in the first of the seven petitions which constitute this the best of prayers we say, "Hallowed be  Thy Name," thus asking that God be acknowledged and glorified and praised throughout the earth.  In the second petition we say, "Thy kingdom come," that is, may we one day possess the kingdom of heaven, which God has prepared for us.  And since this great kingdom can only be entered and enjoyed by those who do God's will here on earth, we say in the third petition,  "Thy will be done," begging that we may be enabled at all times to keep His commandments.  In the fourth petition we ask for our daily bread, that is, we beg of God those temporal and spiritual necessities without which we can sustain neither the life of our bodies nor that of our souls.

Thus far in the Lord's Prayer we have been seeking good things.  Next we ask to be preserved from evils of soul and body, imploring deliverance from our trespasses and sins which would exclude us from the kingdom of God.  We then pray for victory over temptations which would hinder us from doing God's will.  In concluding this beautiful prayer, we ask to be delivered from all those evils which might imperil our spiritual or temporal life, such as sudden death famine, war, pestilence and the like.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

To Whom We Should Pray

Part 7

Prayer should primarily be directed to God in the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity;  but since the fruitfulness of our supplications depends solely on the merits of Christ, our Redeemer and Advocate with the Father, we should offer them in His Name.  Thereby they acquire the weight and influence which make them pleasing to the Father.  It is also useful to invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and the saints, who are God's special friends, and as enjoy not only great power with the Almighty, but are deeply interested in our welfare and we address our prayers to them requesting their intercession with God in our behalf for favors both temporal and spiritual.

Monday, February 1, 2016

How to Pray Well
Part 6

Prayer means simple, loving converse between the soul and God, as between a child and  its father, yet is is quite obvious that certain dispositions of soul are indispensable to this holy exercise.  The Sacred Scriptures  admonish us, in the first place, to prepare ourselves:  "Before prayer prepare thy soul, and be not as a man that tempteth God"  (Ecclus. iviii. 23). This preparation is not difficult, consisting simply in humility, sorrow for sin, a wish to improve our lives, confidence in God and His mercy and freedom from hatred of our neighbor.   During prayer the chief things required are:  a realization of the presence of God, attention to what we are saying, sincerity and fervor.  If, while praying, we are purposely or consciously distracted we become like those irreligious worshipers of whom our Lord said: " This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me" (Matt. xv.8).  Finally, for good prayer it is necessary that we pray with entire submission to the will of our heavenly Father who knows what is best for us, and with perseverance, which means that we should continue to implore God's help and grace as long as we live.  Christ the Lord has said: "We ought always to pray"  (Luke xviii.1).  Our prayers will be greatly enhanced in value and efficacy, if we add to them works of charity and mortification.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Simplicity of Prayer
Part 5

People often find it difficult to pray because they have an exaggerated notion of prayer, not really understanding what it means and erroneously believing that it consists in very lofty thoughts, which must be expressed in correspondingly elevated words and sentences; where are the Our Father and Hail Mary!  How unaffected the thoughts and the words of the centurion, the leper, the blind man, and others mentioned int he Gospel, who sought help from our Lord and were heard!

Neither is it necessary for a prayer to be long to be perfect; it need not be said in any particular place or at any special time; nor need it be said kneeling, or standing.  We may turn our hearts to God at all times, in all places, and in any posture of body, whether we be in the street or in the church, at home or abroad; and this is not only prayer, but devout prayer.