How should we pray?

Unless you have recently regained consciousness or stopped in for a visit to planet Earth from a faraway galaxy, you are well aware that 2020 has been a year to remember (or maybe forget)! We are into the ninth month of our annual trip around the sun and the histrionics don’t seem to be letting up any time soon. And as of today we are only eight weeks out from another presidential election!

If you are a person of faith you have no doubt spent some dedicated time in prayer. In the Gospel of Matthew, our Lord Jesus said to us, “And when you pray…” (6:5 RSV), not “if you pray.” The Apostle Paul exhorted us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (RSV) “pray constantly” and the older translations put it this way, “pray without ceasing.” We are called to pray: in secret and in corporate worship.

One of the things that Coronavirus took from us was the opportunity to pray in a corporate setting. For me and my parish that lasted three months. For others it has been longer and may even continue as I write. Thankfully, we are never cut off from the presence of God who invites us daily into the secret place of prayer.

Yet there is something powerful about public, corporate prayer! I have discovered that to be even more true as I continue to journey deeper and deeper into the Catholic Church. The Mass is a prayer from start to finish, and we have been given so many deep and rich prayers that we can pray together, and should be praying as we find ourselves in a time of crisis unlike any I have experienced at my tender age (almost 64) of this earthly sojourn.

Unfortunately because of the many restrictions placed upon parishes due to COVID precautions these prayer opportunities have been eliminated or greatly restricted: prayers before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration Chapels, Rosaries, and traditional prayers at the end of Mass. I fear that they may never return.

Is all lost? I trust not. I encouragement you to join your hearts with others kneeling before and after Mass to pray these great prayers of our faith, given to us by the holy ones who came before us who prayed these prayers in their time of crisis.

Allow me to suggest the following prayers that have traditionally been prayed at the end of the Low Mass up until the end of the 1960s. Dare I say that since these prayers have been suppressed after Vatican II, we have seen a loss of vitality in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and a greater attack upon the spiritual life of our land as a result? I dare say that and I will!

Prayers after Low Mass

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
(Said 3 times)

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee to we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with favor upon Thy people who cry to Thee; and through the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph her spouse, of Thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, mercifully and graciously hear the prayers that we pour forth to Thee for the conversion of sinners, and for the freedom and exaltation of Holy Mother Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.

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