It’s been six months since I last wrote. It may be another six before I do again.
These five prayers represent things or events that I have and will continue to pray about.
Natural disasters and their aftermath. A son about to leave for his second deployment overseas. Vocation and employment. My children. Peace.
The excerpts prior to each prayer are quotes that I’ve been saving from articles read prior to my six-month absence. They don’t always “work” with each prayer subject, but they’ll do. Until the next time:
An Old Gaelic Blessing
May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May the rains fall softly upon your fields. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
[Manual of Prayers, page 296]
— 1 —
“God’s first language is silence.” In commenting on this beautiful, rich insight of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas Keating, in his work Invitation to Love, writes: “Everything else is a poor translation. In order to understand this language, we must learn to be silent and to rest in God.”
It is time to rediscover the true order of priorities. It is time to put God back at the center of our concerns, at the center of our actions and of our life: the only place that He should occupy. Thus, our Christian journey will be able to gravitate around this Rock, take shape in the light of the faith and be nourished in prayer, which is a moment of silent, intimate encounter in which a human being stands face to face with God to adore Him and to express his filial love for Him.
Prayer for Protection During a Storm
Loving God, maker of heaven and earth,
protect us in your love and mercy.
Send the Spirit of Jesus to be with us,
to still our fears and give us confidence.
In the stormy waters,
Jesus reassured his disciples by his presence,
calmed the storm, and strengthened their faith.
Guard us from harm during this storm
and renew our faith to serve you faithfully.
Give us the courage to face all difficulties
and the wisdom to see the ways
your Spirit binds us together
in mutual assistance.
With confidence we make our prayer
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers, page 334]
— 2 —
Young man, be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.
Remember, too, every day, and whenever you can, repeat to yourself, ‘Lord, have mercy on all who appear before Thee today.’ For every hour and every moment thousands of men leave life on this earth, and their souls appear before God. And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for them or even knows whether they have lived or not! And behold, from the other end of the earth perhaps, your prayer for their rest will rise up to God though you knew them not nor they you. How touching it must be to a soul standing in dread before the Lord to feel at that instant that, for him too, there is one to pray, that there is a fellow creature left on earth to love him too! And God will look on you both more graciously, for if you have had so much pity on him, how much will He have pity Who is infinitely more loving and merciful than you! And He will forgive him for your sake.” (The Brothers Karamazov, book 6, chapter 3 (g) – Conversations of Fr Zossima: Of prayer, of love, and of contact with the other worlds)
A Prayer for One’s Vocation in Life
Lord, make me a better person: more considerate towards others, more honest with myself, more faithful to you. Help me to find my true vocation in life and grant that through it I may find happiness myself and bring happiness to others. Grant Lord, that those whom you call to enter priesthood or religious life may have the generosity to answer your call, so that those who need your help may always find it. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
[Manual of Prayers, page 302]
— 3 —
How often the grieving have said, “I never told him how much I loved him.” But if they did love, it would have shown; it did not need to be advertised. The words, perhaps, should not have been omitted; yet words are just words, whether uttered or printed in books. They might be words of fire and power – “winged words” in the Homeric vernacular – or mere formalities. Some are crucial; most are unnecessary. Often, silence says more than words.
Blessing Before Leaving Home for Deployment (excerpt)
O God, you led your servant Abraham from his home
and guarded him in all his wanderings.
Guide this servant of yours, my son Nolan.
Be a refuge on the journey, shade in the heat,
shelter in the storm, rest in weariness,
protection in trouble, and a strong staff in danger.
For all our days together, we give you thanks:
bind us together now, even though we may be far apart.
May your peace rest upon this house,
and may it go with your servant always.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
[Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers, page 285]
— 4 —
When we’re able to put aside our hang-ups about rejection and tell people honestly how much they mean to us and how thankful we are for them, it can entirely change a relationship. We no longer experience the world as separate individuals but in solidarity, mutually experiencing our bond together as a source of strength. If a relationship with a friend or family members seems uninspired, bland, or dispirited, perhaps it has something to do with you and me. A few simple honest words of appreciation can set things on a whole new course.
Prayer for Strength
we pray for our young people,
growing up in an unsteady and confusing world.
Show them that your ways give more life
than the ways of the world,
and that following you is better
than chasing after selfish goals.
Help them to take failure,
not as a measure of their worth,
but as a chance for a new start.
Give them strength to hold their faith in you,
and to keep alive their joy in your creation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
[Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers, page 197]
— 5 —
Our world has become very noisy. The hurry has sped up. The distractions have multiplied, the blare has increased, and everywhere I look is advertising. Even books scroll by on monitors, backlit and shining in one’s eyes. And the eyes, all around, seem elsewhere. Man, without God, scurries towards a Hell he cannot begin to imagine.
Imagination itself has been “put to work,” selling things.
Prayer for Peace: To Mary, the Light of Hope
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
help us to conquer the menace of evil,
which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today,
and whose immeasurable effects
already weigh down upon our modern world
and seem to block the paths towards the future.
From famine and war, deliver us.
From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
From sins against human life from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.
From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us.
Accept, O Mother of Christ,
this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings,
laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin:
individual sin and the “sin of the world”
sin in all its manifestations.
Let there be revealed once more in the history of the world
the infinite saving power of the redemption:
the power of merciful love.
May it put a stop to evil.
May it transform consciences.
May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of hope.
[Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers, pages 375-76]