VII. The Excellence of the Various Parts of the Rosary – The “Our Father”.

VII. The Excellence of the Various Parts of the Rosary – The “Our Father”.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

VII. The Excellence of the Various Parts of the Rosary – The “Our Father”.

“Lord, teach us to pray.”—Luke xi, I.

Dear Brethren: The holiest, the most beautiful and most perfect, and for this reason the most efficient prayer is the “Our Father.”

This prayer comes from Our Lord himself, who gave it to His disciples when they urged that He should teach them how to pray. The “Our Father,” therefore, had its origin with God Himself, and, therefore, is the holiest of prayers. It is a petition to His heavenly Father, composed by the God-man and bequeathed to us, His brethren. In this petition is contained everything we may ask for. Tertullian says in his writings that the “Our Father” contains not merely the things for which man ought to ask God, but also everything the Lord has taught and ordained, so that the whole Christian doctrine is briefly contained therein. The separate petitions are arranged according to their importance, and follow one another in a most appropriate way. Therefore, the “Our Father” is according to its origin, as also according to its contents and its form, the perfect prayer.

The divine Saviour promised that everything we ask of our Father in heaven He will give us. When we recite the “Our Father” we not merely pray in the name of Jesus, but in His own words. Hence the Lord’s Prayer is to God the most pleasing prayer, and for that reason the most efficient and powerful of prayers. It is evident from the history of the Church that the Lord’s Prayer has, at all times been held by the faithful in the highest esteem. It was used, as the fathers tell us, not only in public, but also in private devotions.

This holy, excellent and most efficacious prayer forms a part of the Rosary, and we will give it our consideration, in order the better to understand it, to appreciate it more fully, and to say it more devoutly.

The “Our Father” consists of a preface and seven petitions. The preface is intended to lift up our thoughts to God. Holy Scripture admonishes us to such preparation, “Before prayer, prepare thy soul: and be not as a man that tempteth God” (Eccles. xviii, 23). When beginning to pray we should present to our mind God as He is enthroned in heaven. We should approach God in humility and reverence with childlike confidence and love. Thus prepared for prayer we will be pleasing to God. To give our mind this disposition is the purpose of the preface: “Our Father, who art in heaven.” Hence this preface should be said with devotion and piety.

The seven petitions of the “Our Father” contain everything a Christian ought and may ask for. But what may and should a Christian ask for? For all things necessary and serviceable for the proper fulfilment of his life work. This prayer contains petitions for everything necessary for the attainment of the last end for which we were created, and that is, in the first place, the glorification of God, and, in the second place, our eternal salvation. In the first four petitions Christ teaches us and commands us to beseech for the things that pertain to this last end, and in the last three petitions for protection against the things which hinder the attainment of this end.

The glory of God is the first and chief purpose of all creation, as also of redemption and sanctification. It should be the occupation of all mankind, as it is the occupation of the blessed in heaven. We glorify God when we recognize Him as the highest good; when we love Him above all things, with a childlike love, serve Him faithfully, worship Him in all our thoughts, words and actions. As we are unable to do this by our own strength we must seek the assistance of grace, which we do in the words of the first petition: “Hallowed be Thy name.” By the words “Thy name” must be understood here, God himself, as He has revealed Himself to us and this petition is equivalent to saying: “Thou, O God, shalt be glorified by us and by all mankind.” We ask in the first petition that God may not be blasphemed, but rightly known, truly loved and duly revered. We implore God in this petition to enlighten the heathen that yet stand in the shadow of death, and all unbelievers and heretics, that they may learn to know and adore Him; and to grant sincere conversion to all sinners. We also ask, for ourselves and our fellow Christians, the grace to grow in the knowledge of God, in His love and service and in Christian perfection, so that thereby God may ever be glorified more and more. A truly Christian life is our highest glorification of God, hence to obtain this grace we must diligently pray.

This petition is placed first, because it is the most necessary to the glorification of God and to our salvation. It is also the foundation of the other petitions.

In the second petition “Thy kingdom come,” a threefold kingdom of God is meant, for the coming of which we pray. It is the kingdom of God about us, in us and above us. The kingdom of God about us is the Church of Christ. Christ founded it as His divine kingdom on earth, to glorify God and lead mankind to Salvation. We ask that God may grant to all men grace to recognize our holy Church as the divine institution, to submit themselves to her authority, and to become members of this Church find order to properly worship the true God, to glorify Him, and thus work their salvation.

The kingdom of God is within us, when we allow ourselves to be ruled and guided not by the spirit of the world, but by the spirit of God. “Those who are moved by the spirit of God are God’s children.” In his soul is the kingdom of God established whose faith agrees with the teaching of the Church, who hopes, loves and lives in the true faith.

The kingdom of God above us is the kingdom of heaven. The Church on earth is the kingdom of truth, of grace, of virtue; it will become in heaven the kingdom of glory. Through this triple kingdom God is glorified on earth and in heaven, and this is the first and chief aim of every created thing.

Through this threefold kingdom we gain salvation, happiness and eternal life. That this threefold dominion of God may come to us and to all mankind we ask the Father in heaven in the second petition.

In order that what we ask for in the second petition may be attained we must comply with the third petition: “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Almighty God is the supreme ruler of heaven and earth. All creatures in heaven and earth must submit themselves unconditionally to His holy will. God makes His will known to us through His commandments, and through His holy Church. We must be ready and willing at all times to do the will of God, and to submit to it in all things. We must obey His commandments, we must gladly and humbly submit ourselves to His dispensations, no matter what they may be. That God’s will may at all times be done by us, and in us, and in all things, this should be our ardent desire, not with a servile fear but with filial love, as Jesus has taught us by His word and example. But this far surpasses our own strength and for this reason Jesus teaches and enjoins us to beg the Father that He may grant to us and to all mankind the grace to do at all times His holy will. By this faithful submission of our wills to the will of God we glorify God in the most perfect way.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.


Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
PRAYER
.

Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
Amen.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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