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Pray always

September 25, 2010

Prayer has many forms:

spontaneous according to the need of the moment,

liturgical in communion with the ageless and worldwide Church,

words chosen by the saints

and recorded for others’ encouragement.

It is good to speak to God always.

My mother used to have the words,

Semper et ubique

gratias agere!

scribbled exultantly on the kitchen cupboards. It is a line from the preface of the Latin Mass which begins “Right and just it is, everywhere and always, to give thanks.” The last part is what she had chosen to remind herself every day: always and everywhere to give thanks and not because life with nine children was so easy!

St. Paul had such a prayer. He told the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”  This is in his epistle to the Philippians, chapter 4, verse 4.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta promised Jesus she would smile for him, and she did so for the rest of her life, even though she felt deep within her heart the pain of abandonment that her chosen little ones felt every day of their lives. Her smile lighted an entire generation, and still provides us with peace. Read Come be my Light.

I have other favorite prayers. One is the Lorica of St. Patrick, the deer’s cry, where he says,

I arise today

Through a mighty strength

The invocation of the Trinity

Through a belief in the threeness

Through confession of the oneness

Of the creator of creation.

So it goes for a whole page. You can find it here with a simple icon of St. Patrick. I have been told that it has the form of a traditional spell, and it speaks a word of protection against all the wiles of darkness. Note that he thinks pretty highly of the Trinity! It’s an interesting prayer as well as a glad one. I love his list of the wonders of creation:

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven;

Light of the sun,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of the wind,

Depth of the sea,

Stability of the earth,

Firmness of the rock.

He lived on the earth, didn’t he? This is a true child of the Incarnation. And you can be sure that all the prayers of the saints began as spontaneous words of their own. You can lean on them when they are right for you, and you can also pray in your own words every day, as they did.

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