Grandma K. over at A Bit of the Blarney tagged me last week for the Catholic Prayer Meme. This is a great thought-provoking meme. Here are the guidelines:
"Name your three most favorite prayers, and explain why they're your favorites. Then tag five bloggers - give them a link, and then go and tell them they have been tagged. Finally, tell the person who tagged you that you've completed the meme... The Liturgy and the Sacraments are off limits here. I'm more interested in people's favorite devotional prayers."
There are so many prayers that come to mind, I don't know where to start or how to narrow my favorites down to three... The Mass and the rosary come first as the greatest prayers, of course, but I think that's assumed by most Catholics... So many others to choose from, though... from my daily repertoire and from those that we use occasionally, when we want to call in the "big guns." It's hard to come up with just three! But, after some thought, this is what I decided on:
1. I love the Prayer of St. Francis.
Such a beautiful lyrical prayer, like you'd expect from St. Francis (my Confirmation saint), but also solidly practical. It's a three-parter. The first part tells me what I must be: an instrument of God's peace -- a necessary thing in any vocation, but an especially important thing for a mother. What do I need most to do in my home every day? Sow love, get injuries pardoned, grow in and impart faith and hope. With God's help.
Then the second part of the prayer tells me what I must not be: a needy, self-centered whiner. There are people out there who don't need this reminder, but unfortunately, I'm one of the ones that needs the constant poking -- and the alternative suggestions: console, understand, love.
The third part of the prayer is the payoff: ...for it is in giving that we receive, in pardoning that we are pardoned, and in dying that we are born to eternal life. Such a gentle, but firm hand on the shoulder, this prayer. Go this way, Lisa. Do this. Don't do this. And this is why.
My favorite prayer.
2. My second choice I'm cheating on. I have two prayers of St. Thomas Aquinas that we've depended on through the years. First, The Student's Prayer: Grant me, I beseech Thee, most merciful God, prudently to study, rightly to understand, and perfectly to fulfill that which is pleasing to Thee, in the praise and glory of Thy Name. Amen.* * * * * * We've prayed this prayer to start every home school day for seventeen years or so. It is straight-forward, simple, and says it all, not only for the student, but for all of us, I think.
The second St. Thomas prayer that we love and use often is similar -- The Prayer to Know God's Will: Grant me grace, O merciful God, to desire ardently all that is pleasing to Thee, to examine it prudently, to acknowledge it truthfully, and to accomplish it perfectly for the praise and glory of Thy name. Amen * * * * * * I'm not exactly sure why this works, but we've always used this one when making decisions about car buying. We think St. Thomas would have been a good mechanic, happily puttering around with motors while pondering the mysteries of the universe. But, aside from its use for automotive endeavors, this is a short, easy prayer for a teenager seeking God's will for a vocation; for a family making decisions about its children's education; for counsel on moving to a different home... You name it. We use it often.
St. Thomas rocks.
3. The third prayer that comes to mind is actually a novena -- a new one to us and a long one that is a little difficult to get all the way through, but so very worth it. The Novena To St. Joseph. We prayed this novena right before we put our house up for sale and St. Joseph definitely came through for us. But that's not why I choose this novena as my third favorite. It was through this prayer that I found a greater love and understanding of the wonder and importance of St. Joseph than I ever had. In the words of this novena, which change with each of the nine days, you walk through the life of this greatest of saints and learn the power of his virtues in a deep way. We always loved St. Joseph, but after saying this novena, we honor and love him more than ever. St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, pray for us!
* Now, I'd like to tag the following friends to see what their favorite three prayers are:
5. My daughter, Theresa