Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Lost Prayers #8


Chaplet of the Twelve Stars

All praise and thanksgiving be to Thee, ever blessed Trinity! Who hath manifested to us Mary, ever Virgin, clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a mystic crown of twelve stars. For ever and ever. Amen.

Let us praise and give thanks to God the Father, Who chose her for His daughter. Amen. Our Father.

Praise be to God the Father, Who predestined her to be the Mother of His Son. Amen. Hail Mary.

Praise be to God the Father, Who saved her from all stain in her conception. Amen. Hail Mary.

Praise be to God the Father, Who, on her birthday, adorned her with His choicest gifts. Amen. Hail Mary.

Praise be to God the Father, Who gave her St. Joseph for her pure spouse and companion. Amen. Hail Mary and Glory Be to the Father.

Let us praise and give thanks to God the Son, Who chose her for His Mother. Amen. Our Father.

Praise be to God the Son Who became incarnate in her womb, and dwelt there for nine months. Amen. Hail Mary.

Praise be to God the Son, Who was born of her and nourished with her milk. Amen. Hail Mary.

Praise be to God the Son, Who, in His childhood, willed that Mary should teach Him. Amen. Hail Mary.

Praise be to God the Son, Who revealed to her the mysteries of the redemption of the world. Amen. Hail Mary and Glory Be to the Father.

Let us praise and give thanks to God the Holy Ghost, Who made her His spouse. Amen. Our Father.

Praise be to God the Holy Ghost, Who first revealed to her His name of Holy Ghost. Amen. Hail Mary.

Praise be to the Holy Ghost, through Whose operation she was at once Virgin and Mother. Amen. Hail Mary.

Praise be to the Holy Ghost, through Whom she became the living temple of the most holy Trinity. Amen. Hail Mary.

Praise be to the Holy Ghost, by Whom she was exalted in heaven high above all creatures. Amen. Hail Mary and Glory Be to the Father.

For the holy Catholic Church, for the propagation of the faith, for peace among Christian princes and for the uprooting of all heresy.

Hail holy Queen! Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope; to thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O clement, O pious, O sweet Virgin Mary!

(From Manual of Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 1897)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Notes from the Hours: Light and Humility


In today's Office of Readings, we encounter the following antiphon between the psalms and the readings:

When we listen to Your word, our minds are filled with light.
It is the lowly heart that understands.

God's word does indeed fill our minds with light. In the Scriptures, God reveals Himself to us. He shows us Who He is (at least as much as we can understand) and what He has planned for our salvation. He explains how He prepared a people for Himself through the centuries, and then He tells us how He Himself came as a human being like us both to show us how to live in this world and then to die that we might live with Him eternally in Heaven. We learn how much God loves us and the lengths He is willing to go so that we might be all His for all time.

But to truly understand the Scriptures, we must humble ourselves. We must be open to God's word, allowing it to speak to us rather than imposing our preconceived notions upon it. What's more, we should ask God to guide us as we interact with His word that He may send the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit by which the Scriptures were inspired, to teach us what we need to know.

If we allow ourselves to be led, we will discover that we understand God's word more deeply than we ever thought we could, and even more importantly, we will meet God in it as He speaks to our hearts and fills our minds with His brilliant light.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hannah's Prayer: Outpouring of the Heart


Hannah felt like her heart was breaking. She had been married for quite a long time, but she still had no children. Her husband, Elkanah, loved her, but even that wasn't enough, especially since he had taken another wife in order to have an heir. Hannah just wanted a baby of her own, so she did the only thing she knew to do: she took her request to God.

But she did not present her prayer in any formal, stiff fashion. Instead, she wept and poured her whole heart out before the Lord, vowing that if He gave her her heart's desire, a male child, she would give him back to God. She would dedicate her son to His service for life. That, Hannah believed, was the greatest gift she could give both the child and God.

As Hannah continued to pray, her voice faded away. Her lips moved as her heart cried to God. Her whole body became wrapped up in her plea, so much so that to the priest Eli, she looked as though she'd had too much wine.

When Eli confronted her, Hannah was quick to explain. “No, my lord,” she respectfully assured the priest, “I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.”

Hannah gave her entire self to God in prayer, heart, soul, mind, spirit, thoughts, words, actions, everything, and she did so with complete trust that God would hear her and graciously grant her desire. Indeed He did. God remembered Hannah, just as she requested, and nine months later, she gave birth to a little boy, Samuel.

(1 Samuel 1, NRSV-CE)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Notes from the Hours: Blessed and Close


Lord, bless us and bring us close to You.

Lord, bless us; pour Your grace down upon us.
Lord, bless us; fill us with faith, hope, and love.
Lord, bless us; give us strength and courage in times of trial.
Lord, bless us; grant us wisdom, knowledge, and good judgment that we may know You and serve You.
Lord, bless us; permeate us with patience, peace, and joy.
Lord, bring us close to You; remove all the barriers that stand between us and You.
Lord, bring us close to You; wrap us in Your love.
Lord, bring us close to You; keep us safe in Your arms.
Lord, bring us close to You; hold us in Your heart.
Lord, bring us close to You; carry us home to Heaven to be with You for all eternity.
Amen.

(The intercessory response is from today's Morning Prayer.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Eternal Visions


The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary includes a lovely hymn in which we ask Mary to obtain several realities for us: “the victory of hope over anguish, / of joy and beauty over boredom and disgust, of eternal visions over temporal ones, of life over death.”

The third of these particularly struck me as I was praying this hymn last night: “of eternal visions over temporal ones...”

Our visions can be so narrow. We often see only through the lens of this world. We are bound by time and space, but we rarely seek to look beyond them.

Therefore, when tragedy strikes, when suffering increases, when we face all sorts of trials and experience so many sorrows, we often fail to see beyond our hurt and our anxieties and our fears. We become focused on how horrible everything is, how frightened we are, how we cannot find a way out. We wonder where God is and why He has let such things happen.

We are stuck in our temporal visions.

So we ask our Lady to replace those temporal visions with eternal visions. We pray to catch a glimpse of our worst situations through God's eyes. And as we do, we learn many things. We discover that suffering has meaning and value, that it conforms us to Christ, that it cleans and polishes us, that it allows us to spread God's grace to others, that it helps us grow and learn, that it leads us to rely on God completely, that it prepares us for Heaven. We realize that God is perhaps closer to us than ever when we face difficult times and that He wants us to draw closer to Him so He may comfort and console us.

We come to understand that God has a plan for us, even if we don't see it fully, and that His plan is perfect even though some parts of it may hurt greatly. In the end, if we cooperate and remain in His grace, He will work everything out for our good. He will lead us to eternal life, home to Heaven, where our eternal visions will be permanent and where all our suffering will be only a memory.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Lost Prayers #7


Prayer in Honor of the Five Sacred Wounds

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus! for the painful wound of Thy left foot, from which flowed the washing away of our sins. In it I sink and hide all the sins I have committed.

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ! for the painful wound of Thy right foot, from which the fountain of peace flowed to us. In it I sink and bury all my desires, that they may be purified and remain unspotted by any earthly stain.

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ! for the painful wound of Thy left hand, from which the well of grace flowed to us. In it I enclose all my spiritual and bodily ills, that, in union with Thy suffering, they may become sweet to me, and by patience may become of good odor before God.

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ! for the painful wound of Thy right hand, from which the medicine of the soul was poured forth. In it I hide all the negligences and omissions of which I have been guilty in my virtuous exercises, that they may be atoned for by Thy zealous works.

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ! for the healing wound of Thy sweetest heart, from which living water and blood, and the riches of all good flowed to us. I place myself into this wound, and therein unite all my imperfect love to Thy divine love, that so it may be made perfect. Amen.

(From Manual of Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 1897)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Notes from the Hours: Jesus Christ is the Same


As we celebrate the feast of St. Dominic today, we read a selection from Hebrews 13 in Morning Prayer:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.

Yes, Jesus Christ does not change. He is God, so He has always been, is now, and always will be a solid rock, a firm fortress, our protection and our strength when the world is falling down around us. We can count on Him to remain faithful, to love us even when we mess up, to continually pour His grace into open hearts.

So we need not be carried away by strange teaching, by the immoral temptations of the world, by the relativism that renounces truth, by the voices that deny the dignity of human life, by the naysayers who so loudly refuse to believe in God. We need not be confused or disturbed. Such teachings will always plague our broken world.

Our challenge is to stand on the unchanging Jesus Christ Who makes our faith firm and steadfast and to proclaim that faith to the world with confidence. It's not easy, but we're not alone, and we never will be because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.