Prayers

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Twelve (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

November 21, 2018

From Soul of Christ Theme for Holy Hour: Offering Ourselves With Jesus Suggested opening hymn: “Pan de Vida,” by Bob Hurd and Pia Moriarty (based on John 13:1-15, Galatians 3:28-29) or “Panis Angelicus” (Bread of Angels), traditionally attributed to Saint Thomas Aquinas, or “See Us, Lord, About Your Altar,” written by John Greally. Adoring Jesus In His Word And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great.” Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Twelve (Part One)—That With Your Saints I May Praise You Forever And Ever. Amen. by Marie Paul Curley

November 12, 2018

From Soul of Christ The second part of the final petition of the Soul of Christ prayer invites us to ponder the reason for our very being: praising God. That with your saints… One day when I stayed home from school in bed with a fever, I looked for something to read.  I picked up Fifty-Seven Stories of Saints for Boys and Girls, written and published by the Daughters of St. Paul.  I didn’t really like short stories, but I couldn’t find anything else to read.  I opened the book and started reading. Later that day – about 500 pages later – I closed the book.  (I don’t know how I hid from my mother that I wasn’t sleeping!)  My first all-day spiritual speed-read gave me a whole new perspective on the saints.  According to [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: When The Prayers You Make Make You

October 30, 2018

My mother, not a kind or generous mother, told me that my first words were the Lord’s Prayer. I have always treasured that knowledge, holding it close as an affirmation of who I am. My badge of identity, as it were. But after the past year or so I have come to a new appreciation of that choice of mine. To reach out into the air and decide which words I was hearing around me were the ones I wanted to speak aloud. I have experienced something strong and heart-changing in the past few months. It has to do with my prayers. Of course I have prayed all my life. In church. At the dinner table. Before meetings. For other people. From time-to-time, even for myself. Prayer is a part of my life.  In the doing.  In the studying under God.  In [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Eleven (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

October 22, 2018

From Soul of Christ “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from Heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for this life of the world is my flesh.” Theme for Holy Hour: Jesus, the Bread of Life The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Eleven (Part One)—In The Hour Of My Death, Call Me And Bid Me Come To You by Marie Paul Curley

October 8, 2018

From Soul of Christ The final petition, which is so rich it will take two chapters to cover, is a prayer for the last moments of our lives.  It reminds us of the eternal purpose for which God created and sustains us. In the hour of my death… Like the Hail Mary, the ending of this prayer focuses on the end of our journey here on Earth, the decisive moments when we are about to enter eternity.  Our faith can be strengthened when we consider the moment of our death, a practice recommended by many saints – from the Fathers of the church up to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.  Roman Catholic tradition wisely encourages us to reflect on the “Four Last Things,” which refer to death, judgment, Heaven, and hell. The thought of death reminds [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Ten (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

October 1, 2018

From Soul of Christ Then they seized him [Jesus] and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house.  But Peter was following at a distance.  When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.  Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.”  But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.”  A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, “You also are one of them.”  But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”  Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, “Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.”  But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!”  At [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Ten (Part One)—From The Malignant Enemy, Defend Me by Marie Paul Curley

September 17, 2018

From Soul of Christ These last couple of petitions of the Anima Christi prayer remind us of the vigilance we need on our journey to transformation in Christ.  This petition acknowledges our powerlessness to live the fullness of the Christian life on our own.  We plead for Christ’s protection from the devil, from the terrible evils of our day, from our own tendencies to sin, and from whatever can lead us into sin. From the malignant enemy… Today, people often think about the devil from one of two popular mindsets, neither of which is helpful in the spiritual life: The materialistic denial or dismissal of the devil’s very existence and power is spiritually dangerous because it deters vigilance and makes it easier for the devil to [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Nine (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

September 10, 2018

From Soul of Christ Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39) Theme for Holy Hour: The Power of Christ’s Eucharistic Love Suggested opening hymn: “Love Divine, All Loves [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Nine (Part One)—Permit Me Not To Be Separated From You by Marie Paul Curley

August 28, 2018

From Soul of Christ The eighth petition of the Soul of Christ is worded negatively but brings us back to the prayer’s overall theme, expressing the goal of our entire spiritual lives: union with Christ. Permit Me Not to be Separated From You I used to think this poetically phrased petition had been put in the wrong place, coming way too late in the prayer. We’ve already prayed to be sanctified, saved, cleansed, and strengthened. Doesn’t all of that presume that we are already united with Christ? But the placing of this petition so late in the prayer reminds us that spiritual vigilance and continual commitment to conversion are crucial to discipleship – no matter where we are on our spiritual journey. It prompts us to ask important [...]

POETRY: The Glorious Mysteries—The Coronation by John O’Donohue

August 27, 2018

It was a long time ago in another land. Who can tell how it really was before belief Came towards you with a hunger that could not see you Except against white air cleansed of the shadow of earth? No inkling that you were a free spirit who loved The danger of seeing the world with an open mind, How you strove to be faithful to uncertainty And let nothing unquestioned settle in your heart. You loved to throw caution to the wind when you danced. To be outside in the dawn before people were, Letting the blue tides of your dreaming settle ashore. The village said you put the whole thing into his head. In the glow of your silence, the heart grows tranquil. No one will ever know where you had to [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Eight (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

August 21, 2018

From Soul of Christ But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-25) Theme for Holy Hour: Contemplating the Healing Wounds of Christ A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them.  Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it in my side.  Do not doubt but believe.”  [...]

POETRY: The Glorious Mysteries—The Assumption by John O’Donohue

August 20, 2018

Perhaps time is the keeper of distance and loss, Knowing that we are but able for a little at a time. And the innocence of fragments is wise with us, Keeps us from order that is not native to our dust. Yet, without warning, a life can suddenly chance On its hidden rhythm, find a flow it never knew. Where the heart was blind, subtle worlds rise into view; Where the mind was forced, crippled thought beings to dance. As if this day found for her everything she lost. Her breath infused with harvest she never expected From the unlived lives she had only touched in dream; Her mind rests; memory glows in a stairs of twilight. Her hair kisses the breeze. Her eyes know it is time. She looks as young as the evening the raven [...]

POETRY: The Glorious Mysteries—The Descent Of The Holy Spirit by John O’Donohue

August 13, 2018

Somewhere in our clay remembers the speed of cold, Overtaking the surge of colors with grey breath, And the shudder of fields, as they smother beneath The white infinity of ice paralyzing the world. How swiftly fear touches this relic—cold in the bone. After his second going, they hide from the crowd. Then, like manna from a red wind, a tongue of flame swirls Into each mind huddled there in the fear-filled room. The language caul they lived in falls, leaves them wordless, Then, a kindling, words they never knew they had come Alive out of nowhere sprung with awakening That will not cease until winter sets the heart free. Out in the open now, voices of new belonging, Needing no courage beyond the fire of their [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Eight (Part One)—Within Your Wounds, Hide Me by Marie Paul Curley

August 6, 2018

From Soul of Christ The seventh petition of the Anima Christi prayer is a cry for refuge and connects deeply to the next two petitions.  All of us have moments in our lives when we need strength and encouragement to confront evil, to persevere through the challenges of discipleship, and to love selflessly.  Who better to go to than Jesus, wounded for love of us? Within your wounds… Meditating on the wounds Jesus suffered for us is a way we can take refuge in God’s love.  In moments of weakness, temptation, and frailty, we have one safe place we can turn to: the heart of Jesus.  Jesus opens his heart to us unconditionally, with no limits.  If we need proof of his love for us, we simply need to sit in front of a crucifix and [...]

POETRY: The Glorious Mysteries—The Ascension by John O’Donohue

August 6, 2018

With waves the ocean soothes the dark stillness of the shore. With words the mind would calm the awful, inner quiet. Offerings to the nothingness on which we trespass. Our imprint no deeper than breath on a mirror. Though delighted by the wonder of your return, To glimpse you is already too much for their eyes. At your cadence of voice a bird stirs in the heart, Its wings spread such brightness nothing can hold its form. You are no longer from here, yet you still linger In the lightness, wed to the dance you awaken, As if in drudged-down lives, the song of your new hands Could raise the soul towards horizons of desire. You slip through a door of air. Memory comes home, Bright as a dead tree drawn to blossom by the [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Seven (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

July 30, 2018

From Soul of Christ We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.  For in hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what is seen?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.  Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.  And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  We know that all [...]

POETRY: The Glorious Mysteries—The Resurrection by John O’Donohue

July 30, 2018

Oh, the rush with which the forgotten mind awakens Under the day a well of dark where color dwells Until it learns the art of light and can reveal, In neglected things, the freshness thought darkens. With grey mastery distance starts to blur the horror. Already the days begin to set around the loss. The after-silence of his death become porous To the gossip of regret that follows failure. Through the cold, quiet nighttime of the grave underground, The earth concentrated on him with complete longing Until his sleep could recall the dark from beyond To enfold memory lost in the requiem of mind. The moon stirs a wave of brightening in the stone. He rises clothed in the young colors of [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Seven (Part One)—O Good Jesus, Hear Me by Marie Paul Curley

July 23, 2018

From Soul of Christ The sixth petition of the Anima Christi prayer is a simple plea expressing the urgency of our prayerful desires – springing from our hearts directly to the heart of Jesus. Good Jesus… Names are important.  Entire books are dedicated to helping writers choose the best name for their fictional characters. The names we use for God can reveal a lot about our relationship with God: our image of God, how close we feel to God, and our trust (or lack of trust) in him.  We naturally pray with names of God that are familiar and intuitively appealing, but we can also choose to pray with a particular name or title of God.  Regularly using a specific name for God or Christ can then shape our prayer life. “Good Jesus” [...]

POETRY: The Sorrowful Mysteries—The Crucifixion by John O’Donohue

July 23, 2018

When at last it comes, it comes in silence; With no thought for the one to whom it comes, Or how a heart grieves itself and loved ones With that last glimpse from its fading presence. Yet it is intimate, the act of death, To be so chosen, exposed and taken. Nowhere untouched. But death wants you broken. The soldiers must wait ages for your last breath. With all the bright words, you are found out too, In agony and terror in vaulted air, Your mind bleached white by a wind from nowhere That has waited years for one strike at you. A slanted rain cuts across the black day. It turns stones crimson where the cross is [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Six (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

July 16, 2018

From Soul of Christ When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.”  And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”  Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly [...]

POETRY: The Sorrowful Mysteries—The Carrying Of The Cross by John O’Donohue

July 16, 2018

A kiss on the back of the neck tingles, Almost sound, a breath of music in bone. It is here they laid the heavy crossbeam, Each step a thud inward like sick thunder. It invades his head. All silence leaves him. Stooped forward he watches his innocent feet Search each step for sure ground to take the weight. He falls face first on the broken pavement. Those he knows to see will not meet his eyes. They fear his gaze might unleash misfortune. Sweat down his back opens a line of wounds. A white towel absorbs a mirage of his face. Windows open in the crowd, his heart rends At the weeping of his mother and [...]

POETRY: The Sorrowful Mysteries—The Crowning With Thorns by John O’Donohue

July 9, 2018

The thorns woven to your head are nothing Like the emptiness loosening your mind From the terse mountains where you served your time Seeking the hearth in the loneliness of things. Then that slow glimpse of three faces concresced In a circle of infinitely gentle gaze Trusting each thing out of air into form, Showed you belong to this first tenderness. You earth divine flame in a young man’s frame. Things rush your senses offering their essence. Now the earth clenches against you, cold and closed In a yard forsaken by every name. On crucifixion duty, bored with routine The soldiers start mocking and crown you [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Six (Part One)—Passion Of Christ, Strengthen Me by Marie Paul Curley

July 2, 2018

From Soul of Christ The fifth petition of the Anima Christi prayer focuses on Jesus’s passion as our source of strength.  We can find this strength especially in the Eucharist, where Jesus renews his saving suffering, death, and resurrection for us and for the world. Passion of Christ… In fulfilling his command at the Last Supper, “Do this in memory of me,” the church continuously celebrates the memorial of Christ’s passion and death.  At every Mass, the sacrifice of Jesus is made present on our altars for our sake.  Yet, it is not uncommon to hear Roman Catholics complain, “I don’t get anything out of the Mass.”  Why this tragic lack of understanding? Most Roman Catholics have never studied their faith past First [...]

POETRY: The Sorrowful Mysteries—The Scourging At The Pillar by John O’Donohue

July 2, 2018

When we love we love to touch the beloved. Our hands find joy in the surprise of skin. Here is where tenderness is uncovered. Few frontiers hold a world more wondrous in. Imagine the anger of their disturbance. They cannot bear the portals his words create. Helpless, turned inside out by his presence, Sheltering from themselves as a crowd irate. Made to face the pillar, the wrists bind him Under the shadow of the angel of pain, Who flogs, and waits, prefers a broken rhythm, Until his back becomes a red text of shame. His mind holds to the images of those he loves; While his frightened skin swells under the [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Five (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

June 25, 2018

From Soul of Christ Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the Sabbath, especially because that Sabbath was a day of great solemnity.  So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed.  Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.  (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe.  His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.)  These things occurred so that the [...]

POETRY: The Sorrowful Mysteries—The Agony In The Garden by John O’Donohue

June 25, 2018

Whatever veil of mercy shrouds the dark Wound that stops weeping in no one, cannot Stop the torrent of night when it buries thought And heart beneath the black tears of the earth. Through scragged bush the moon discovers his face, Dazed inside the sound of Gethsemane, Subsiding under the weight of silence That entombs the cry of his terrified prayer. What light could endure the dark he entered? The void that turns the mind into a ruin Haunted by the tattered screeching of birds Who nest deep in hunger that mocks all care. Still he somehow stands in that nothingness; Raising the chalice of kindness to [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Five (Part One)—Water From The Side Of Christ, Wash Me by Marie Paul Curley

June 18, 2018

From Soul of Christ The fourth petition of the Anima Christi prayer focuses on water flowing from the heart of Jesus as a symbol of cleansing and new life – for each of us individually, and for the world. Water From the Side of Christ… “But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out,” (John 19:33-34).  The Fathers of the church saw a great deal of symbolism in the water mixed with blood flowing from the side of Jesus: an image of the sacramental baptismal waters that cleanse us from our sins, and also a reference to the church, founded on the new life that Jesus came to bring us. Water is [...]

POETRY: The Joyful Mysteries—The Presentation In The Temple by John O’Donohue

June 18, 2018

The words of a secret have rivet eyes That cannot sleep to forget what they know. The restrained voice sharpens to an arrow That will reach its target through any disguise. Two old people wait in the temple shadows Where stone and air are hoarsened with prayer For some door to open in their hunger; Sometimes children laugh at her twitching nose. Worn to a thread the old man’s rope of days, Spent unravelling in this empty torment, Has wizened his silence to words of flint. When he glimpses the child, his lost voice flares. His words lodge in the young mother’s thought That a sword of sorrow will pierce her [...]

ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Four (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

June 11, 2018

From Soul of Christ United ourselves to the Precious Blood of Jesus, we place before the Lord our intentions: to alleviate the sufferings of the world, especially of the innocent victims of violence, war, and oppression.  We may wish to pray especially for those who witness to Christ in the face of persecution and threat of death. Theme for Holy Hour: Adoring the Victorious Lamb of God Suggested opening hymn: “Pange Lingua / Tantum Ergo” (written by Saint Thomas Aquinas with various translations into English, such as: “Sing My Tongue the Savior’s Glory,” translated by Edward Caswell).  Spend quiet time in silent adoration. Adoring Jesus In His Word Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come… and [...]

POETRY: The Joyful Mysteries—The Nativity by John O’Donohue

June 11, 2018

No man reaches where the moon touches a woman. Even the moon leaves her when she opens Deeper into the ripple in her womb That encircles dark to become flesh and bone. Someone is coming ashore inside her. A face deciphers itself from water And she curves around the gathering wave, Opening to offer the life it craves. In a corner stall of pilgrim strangers, She falls and heaves, holding a tide of tears. A red wire of pain feeds through every vein Until night unweaves and the child reaches dawn. Outside each other now, she sees him first. Flesh of her flesh, her dreamt son safe on [...]