Friday, March 18, 2011

Prayers for Lent

When we think of Lent, we often think of what we're going to give up as a penance to observe the self-sacrificial nature of the season. We might also think of what we can add to our spiritual lives, like new ways of praying that are specially appropriate for Lent. Below are a few of my favorite Lenten prayers.

1. The Stations of the Cross - As we follow Jesus along the Way of the Cross, we realize more intensely exactly how much He suffered for us during His Passion and death. There are countless versions of the Stations available online or in prayer books. Most parishes also have weekly Stations during Lent.

2. The Prayers in Commemoration of the Seven Last Words Spoken by Jesus on the Cross - The Catechism says that Jesus' last words, spoken while He hung on the Cross allow "a glimpse of the boundless depth of His filial prayer" (#2605). Meditating on these holy words can greatly enrich our Lenten devotions. The Prayers may be found on the Catholic Doors website.

3. Devotion to the Five Wounds - Again, these prayers help us to grasp Jesus' great suffering, which He submitted to out of love for us and desire for our salvation. A prayer and a chaplet in honor of the five wounds may be found on the Fisheaters website.

4. The Fifteen Prayers of St. Bridget - St. Bridget tells us that Jesus Himself revealed these fifteen prayers to her. Jesus told her, "I received 5,480 wounds on My Body during My Passion. If you wish to honor each of them in some way pray the following prayers each day for a whole year. When the year is over, you will have honored each one of My Wounds." They are truly beautiful prayers that merit careful attention and deep meditation, and they may be found at Catholic Forum and in the Pieta prayer book.

5. The Stabat Mater - This is a beautiful prayer that contemplates Mother Mary standing at the foot of Jesus' Cross and joining her suffering to His in her mother's heart. The prayer in Latin and English, along with an explanation, may be found at the Mary Page.

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