"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, May 11, 2018

Prayer by the Priests of the Congregation of St. Paul, 1893

by the Priests of the Congregation of St. Paul, 1893

"Hitherto you have not asked anything in my name. Ask and you shall receive."--St. John xvi. 24.

Our Lord does not mean by these words that His disciples had never prayed, because otherwise they would never have become followers of Him. No man could come to Jesus unless the Father should draw him, and God always makes His graces dependent on prayer. Hence they must have prayed for the graces already received. When St. Paul was announced to be a convert to the true faith, it was said as evidence of his conversion, ''Behold he prayeth." A man who does not pray cannot receive nor retain the grace of God, because prayer is of obligation and necessary to the friendship of God. 

What, then, does our Lord mean when He says to His disciples, "Hitherto you have not asked anything in My name?" He would have them understand that their prayers hitherto had only been weak beginnings. This is evident from the fact that even the Apostles never realized the magnitude of their vocations until they were enlightened by the Holy Ghost on Pentecost. The mysteries of redemption, the value of suffering and the glories of martyrdom, were all hidden from their eyes, lest they should become faint-hearted and falter in the course which they had to run. Our Lord, by the words of to-day's Gospel, begins to lead them on, pointing out to them the means by which they are to be strengthened for their work. That means, brethren, is prayer. Whenever God has a work for a man to do, He first inclines Him and teaches him to pray, and when he becomes a man of prayer, and acquires the habit of constant communion with God, then he is fit to do anything for God.

We have all of us got a great work to do--the work of our eternal salvation. "For straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to eternal life, and few there be who find it." It is a mistake to suppose that we are going to be saved by the mere desire of not being lost, otherwise every one would be saved because no one wishes to be lost. But we have got to work for the reward of eternal happiness if we would attain it; and the first requisite for the accomplishment of that work is prayer. There is one thing that makes that work easy, even to the weakest of mortals, and that work is prayer. Have you done nothing as yet? Is temptation too strong for you to overcome it? Then you have not as yet learned to pray. Become a man of prayer and all will be changed with you. Good works will become a pleasure; difficulties will be conquered, and your life, instead of being wasted by sin, will be employed for God and your own welfare in time and in eternity.

Now, the grace to pray is the easiest of all graces to obtain. Because God wishes all men to be saved, says St. Alphonsus, He gives all men the ability to pray. Sinners can pray. One is not required to be in the state of grace in order to pray. And if a sinner, no matter how deep his guilt may be, prays sincerely and continuously, he is just as certain to obtain the grace of repentance as the rays of the warm spring sun are sure to drive away frost.

We have no excuse, then, for a life of sin, because we have a remedy in prayer. ''Ask and you shall receive," says our Lord. The promise here given is infallible. All we have to do is to ask. And how does a man ask if he really is anxious to get a favor? He never gets weary of making his petitions. Suppose that you wished some man to give you employment. You would not hesitate to ask him for it twenty times if you thought there was the slightest chance for you to get it. So we should act towards God. We should be just as earnest as we are in seeking worldly advantage, and then God will not disappoint us, although men may do so. God has few petitioners at His court, although He has all the riches of the universe at His disposal, but those who are most urgent and frequent in asking for His favors are His best friends.

For All Things Necessary to Salvation
(Composed by Pope Clement XI, A.D. 1721)

O my God, I believe in Thee; do Thou strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in Thee; do Thou secure them. I love Thee; teach me to love Thee daily more and more. I am sorry that I have offended Thee; do Thou increase my sorrow.

I adore Thee as my first beginning; I aspire after Thee as my last end. I give Thee thanks as my constant benefactor; I call upon Thee as my sovereign protector.

Vouchsafe, O my God! to conduct me by Thy wisdom, to restrain me by Thy justice, to comfort me by Thy mercy, to defend me by Thy power.

To Thee I desire to consecrate all my thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings; that henceforward I may think of Thee, speak of Thee, refer all my actions to Thy greater glory, and suffer willingly whatever Thou shalt appoint.

Lord, I desire that in all things Thy will may be done because it is Thy will, and in the manner that Thou wiliest.

I beg of Thee to enlighten my understanding, to inflame my will, to purify my body, and to sanctify my soul.

Give me strength, O my God! to expiate my offenses, to overcome my temptations, to subdue my passions, and to acquire the virtues proper for my state of life.

Fill my heart with tender affection for Thy goodness, hatred of my faults, love of my neighbor, and contempt of the world.

May Thy grace help me to be submissive to my superiors, condescending to my inferiors, faithful to my friends, and charitable to my enemies.

Assist me to overcome sensuality by mortification, avarice by alms-deeds, anger by meekness, and tepidity by devotion.

O my God! make me prudent in my undertakings, courageous in dangers, patient in affliction, and humble in prosperity.

Grant that I may be ever attentive at my prayers, temperate at my meals, diligent in my employments, and constant in my resolutions.

Let my conscience be ever upright and pure, my exterior modest, my conversation edifying, and my comportment regular.

Assist me, that I may continually labor to overcome nature, to correspond with Thy grace, to keep Thy commandments, and to work out my salvation.

Make me realize, O my God! the nothingness of this world, the greatness of heaven, the shortness of time, and the length of eternity.

Grant that I may prepare for death; that I may fear Thy judgments, and in the end obtain heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Grace to Do God's Will

Grant me grace, O merciful God, to desire ardently all that is pleasing to Thee, to examine it prudently, to acknowledge it truthfully, and to accomplish it perfectly for the praise and glory of Thy Name. Amen
(St. Thomas Aquinas)