The Power of Prayer. – continued (2).
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.
It remains to say a few words about other subjects connected with prayer, viz., (I) to whom can we pray, (2) for whom can we pray, (3) to answer some objections.
(I). We have seen that we are bound to worship God by prayer, and that for our own sake, we must have recourse to it as the great means for saving our souls. We can also pray to the Blessed Virgin, and ask her to obtain favours and graces for us, through the merits of her Divine Son. It is also a lawful and pious practice to pray to the Saints and Angels and to ask them to intercede for us. When we pray to the Blessed Virgin and to the Saints, we ask them to petition God in our behalf, because of themselves and independently of the merits of Christ they can grant us nothing.
(2). There is an obligation upon us to pray for ourselves. We are obliged in charity to pray for the salvation of others, and persons who have the care of the souls of others are bound in justice as well as in charity to pray for them. “Pray for one another, that you may be saved” (James v, 16). “We are compelled by necessity to pray for ourselves: but the love of our brethren engages us to pray for others also. How far more acceptable to God is the prayer that proceeds not from the pressure of our wants, but from the love of our neighbour” (St. Chrysostom). We ought also in charity pray for the holy souls in purgatory. “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Mach. xii, 46).
(3). Some people say, I have often prayed and I have never received anything from God. To such a one we say that there must be something wrong. The dispositions or conditions for good efficacious prayer are wanting on his part. “You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss” (James iv, 3).
Others say, I am too great a sinner to be heard by Almighty God. This is the very reason why there is the greater necessity for having recourse to prayer, because it is the only hope of salvation for such persons. If the sinner cries to God with a humble and contrite heart, God will hear him out of pure mercy. God is in fact glad that the sinner should return to Him. “I came not to call the just but sinners to repentance.” Witness the examples of the Prodigal Son, and Mary Magdalen. We can all pray in whatever condition of life we may be placed, and we can pray at all times, and in all places. God is always with us. We can never get out of His presence, and as we always stand in need of some graces, we ought always pray. “Pray without ceasing” (Thess. v, 17). Neither want of time, nor being ignorant, nor being a sinner excuses from prayer.
In conclusion we must exhort all to pray as a great means for honouring God, and saving their own souls. It is the key which opens to us all the treasures of heaven. It is the ordinary channel through which all graces come to our souls. “Prayer has so great a power with God that it compels Him, as it were, to impart to us all the graces we ask for” (St. Hilarian).
“Prayer opens heaven, disarms the wrath of God, moves His mercy, and draws His grace and blessing down upon us” (St. Thomas of Aquin).
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.
Of avoiding Rash Judgment.
I. Turn thy eyes back upon thyself, and see thou judge not the doings of others.
In judging others a man labours in vain, often errs, and easily sins: but in judging and in looking into himself, he always labours with fruit.
We frequently judge of a thing according as we have it at heart: for we easily lose true judgment through private affection.
If God were always the only object of our desire we should not so easily be disturbed at the resistance of our opinions.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XIV pt 1.
July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness
Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.
Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.
100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.
“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”
—St. Catharine of Sienna.
O blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them! O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!
Praises to the Precious Blood.
Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.
Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.
There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.
O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.
Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.
Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.
Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!
(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)
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