Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Necessity of an Ordered Prayer Life for Every Catholic Soul

In this treacherous world we live in, the enemy has but one mission and that is the damnation of souls. It seems, when we look around, that there is little hope. However, we need only look at the Crucifix to see that there is great hope for those who love and fear God. We need only to persevere in faith and to carry our Cross next to that of Christ. Our greatest weapon in this battle is prayer. We must never cease to pray, and we must continually place all of our hope and trust in God, that we may one day be united to Him for all eternity.

In this treacherous and Godless world we live in, we may well wonder how it is possible to maintain a prayer life and to seek to live in unity with Christ, while corruption and immorality run rampant in all corners. We see pictures and hear stories of long ago when priests were recognizable in their cassocks, nuns in full habit were aiding souls in hospitals and schools, confession lines were long and satisfied by the presence of good, holy priests thirsting to bring countless souls to God.

It seems now, though, that we are left alone to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. We can search far and wide for spiritual direction, yet scarcely find one priest or high up hierarchical  leaders who still holds the true Faith. Rather, the world is saturated with liberalism and modernism. The only thing that seems to be intolerable in this world is traditional Catholicism. It seems, also, that we are left to books and a sort of “do it yourself” program to developing a prayer life.

Our faith will be tried and tested over and over again, but we must always remember that Our Lord, Jesus Christ is always with us. The more we are able to empty ourselves of the world and its vanities and false securities, the more room we have leave in our souls to be occupied by this Divine Guest. We must equip ourselves, then, for combat. This we are able to do by prayer. As Our Lord bade Peter, James and John in the Garden of Gethsemane, we must watch and pray, lest we become prey to the enemy.

Though prayer can sometimes be difficult and extremely trying, truly nothing is simpler than prayer itself. God, who is all knowing, is well aware of the struggles a soul undergoes in striving towards union with Him. He knows the soul’s disposition, and He knows the frailty of human nature. He does not require that our prayer be perfect and that we never have distractions; rather, it is our will that He asks be turned over to Him, and this is where a true life of prayer begins. “The principal petition which we ought to make to God is that of union of our wills with His, and the final cause of prayer lies in desiring only God. Union with God consists in conforming our will to His.” (St. Francis de Sales)

St. Francis de Sales tells us that there are three things necessary to praying well: to be little by humility, to have great hope, and to be conformed to Jesus Christ crucified. First, in order to pray well, we must acknowledge that we are very poor, and we must humble ourselves greatly, becoming fully aware of our nothingness. David admonishes us that the lower we plunge ourselves into the contemplation of our nothingness, the more easily will our prayer rise up to heaven.( Psalm 130:1-2, Sirah 35:21)

Hope is also a necessary condition to praying well. Hope is pleasant, since it promises that we shall one day possess what we long for. It is also bitter, because we are not now enjoying what we love. It is necessary, then, that hope be placed upon charity, lest it become no longer hope but, rather, presumption. If we want our prayer to reach heaven, it must be founded upon love.

Finally, in order to pray well, we must conform ourselves to Christ crucified. While hanging from the Cross, our Savior offered His prayers to the Father for us. We must, then, remain at the foot of the Cross and never depart from there, so that we may be saturated with the Blood which flows from it. We should, at the very minimum, be bathed in this Blood at our first prayer in the morning, placing ourselves at the foot of the Cross and offering our every thought, word, and action to our crucified Savior. We must ask Him to aid us in keeping before our minds the awareness of His Passion, and that we carry our Cross each day next to Him, that we may be conformed to His likeness.

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Let us always remember the Poor Souls

Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen

Prayer for the Conversion of Scandinavia

300 Days, once a day. (See Instructions.) 54 Leo XIII, April 18, 1885.

O good Jesus , prostrate at Thy feet, we humbly implore Thee, by thy most Sacred Wounds and by the Precious Blood which Thou didst shed for the salvation of the whole world, that Thou wouldst deign to cast a look of pity on the peoples of Scandinavia, seduced from the Faith for so many centuries, and plunged in the darkness of heresy, separated from thy Church, deprived of the participation of the adorable Sacrament of thy Body and Blood, and of the other sacraments instituted by Thee, as the refuge of souls in life and in death.

Remember, O Redeemer of the world, that for these souls too Thou didst suffer bitter death, with the loss of all thy blood. Bring back, O good Shepherd, these wandering sheep ofthine to the one fold and to the healthy pastures of thy Church, so that they may form with us one flock , tended by Thee, and by thy Vicar on earth, the supreme Pontiff, whom, in the person of the Apostle St Peter, Thou didst commission to feed thy sheep and thy lambs. Graciously hear, O good Jesus, the prayers which we offer Thee with the most lively trust in the love of thy Sacred Heart, and to thy most Holy Name be praise, glory, and honor, world without end. Amen.

The Raccolta ( Collection of Indulgenced Prayers and Good Works )


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