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HOLY GHOST, TEACH ME TO PRAY WELL


———- Forwarded message ———-
From:
Our Lady of the Rosary Library <library@olrl.org>
Date: Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 1:25 PM
Subject: Pray Well
To: lmsautnr@gmail.com

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
St. Raphael the Archangel
J.M.J.

HOLY GHOST, TEACH US TO PRAY WELL

“This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far
from me.” St. Matt. 15:8

Here Our Lord gives us to understand that when we pray, our heart
must be united with our lips. At least by intention, for it is
impossible not to have distractions. Fr. Zuadrupani says, “Begin your
prayer with the desire of being recollected. This is all that is
necessary.” “A desire has the same value in the sight of God as a
good work,” says St. Gregory the Great, “when the accomplishment of
it does not depend upon our good work.” “The best of all prayers is
to do everything with a pure intention, and frequently to renew the
desire to perform all our actions for God and in accordance with His
divine will.” But we must ward off voluntary distractions, and
involuntary ones as soon as we are aware of them. He also gives us to
understand that our heart must be united to His in the state of grace,
for one who prays while yet living in sin has his heart far from the
Lord. “Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the
Lord,” St. James 1:7. However, the exception to this is the sinner
who turns to God with a sincere desire to amend. Him God promises to
hear, as in the case of the Good Thief who heard words of eternal
life, “This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” St. Lk. 23:43.
Whereas, the bad thief prayed, “If thou be the Christ, save thyself
and us,” St. Lk. 23:39, but was not heard because “his heart was not
right in the sight of God.” Acts 8:21.

One day St. Bernard saw how an angel of the Lord wrote down in a book
the divine praises of each of his brethren when they were reciting the
Divine Office. Some were written in letters of gold to express the
devotion and fervor with which they were recited; other in letters of
silver on account of the pure intention with which they were
performed; others were written in ink to signify that they were said
by way of routine and in a slothful manner; others, again, were
written in watercolor to indicate that they had been performed with
great lukewarmness and without devotion or fervor.

The Divine praises of some of St. Bernard’s brethren were not written
down at all; but instead of the chanted psalms, the following words
were written; “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their
heart is far from me” (Is. 29:13) to signify that the angel of the
Lord was much displeased with this kind of prayer. There is good
reason to fear that the prayers of many are written down in letters
of ink, others in watercolor and the greater number of them, I fear,
are not written down at all; so that the devil himself must rejoice
and laugh at them as he did at the prayers of two Christians of whom
Jourdanus speaks; “They recited their prayers in so careless a manner
that at the conclusion of it, the devil appeared and cast an
intolerable odor around at the same time exclaiming with great
laughter, “Such incense is due to such prayer!”

This seems especially true with the Holy Rosary. Many people look on
it more as a burden than devotion. St. Louis de Montfort says, “It is
really pathetic to see how most people say the Holy Rosary – they say
it astonishingly fast and mumble so that the words are not properly
pronounced at all. We could not possibly expect anyone, even the most
unimportant person, to think that a slipshod address of this kind was
a compliment and yet we expect Jesus and Mary to be pleased with it!
I beg you to temper the speed which comes all too easily to you and
pause briefly several times as you say the Our Father and Hail Mary.”

“Blessed Alan de la Roche,” says St. Louis, “tells the story of three
sisters, on the advice of their confessor, said the Rosary for a year
to make beautiful robes for Our Lady. The priest had received this
secret from heaven. After a year Our Lady appeared with St. Catherine
and St. Agnes. Our Lady was wearing beautiful robes that shone and all
over them “Hail Mary, full of grace” was blazoned in letters of gold.
She came to the eldest sister and said, “I salute you, my daughter,
because you have saluted me so often and so beautifully, I want to
thank you for the beautiful robes that you made me.”

An hour later She appeared wearing green with no gold lettering and
did not gleam, thanking the second sister as the first. The second
sister asked her why the change and the Blessed Mother said, “Your
sister made Me more beautiful robes because she has been saying the
Rosary better then you.”

About an hour later She appeared to the youngest wearing tattered and
dirty rags, thanking her as she did the others. The young girl was
covered with shame and she called out: “Oh my Queen, how could I have
dressed you so badly! I beg you to forgive me. Please grant me a
little more time to make you beautiful robes by saying my Rosary
better.” Our Lady and the two saints disappeared, leaving the girl
heartbroken. Her confessor urged her to say her Rosary another year.
At the end of the second year Our Lady appeared, clothed in a
magnificent robe, with St. Catherine and St. Agnes, saying, “My
daughters, I have come to tell you that you have earned heaven at
last – and you will all have the great joy of going there tomorrow.”
That same night they all died thanking their confessor for the holy
practice he had taught them. 44th Rose – Secret of the Rosary.

St. Peter Damian relates the story of St. Severinus who, one day soon
after his death, appeared in a vision to a priest. He seemed to be in
great suffering and marks of sadness were upon his face. The priest
said to him, “My father, how is it that you are so sad, and in a
state of suffering? You are so holy that I was sure you had entered
the happiness of Heaven as soon as you had left this world.” “It is
true,” replied the Saint, “God in His infinite goodness has given me
the great grace of dying well, and I am to reign with Him eternally
in Heaven. But, alas,” he continued, “I am not there yet; I am
suffering in the purifying flames of Purgatory because when I was
alive, I sometimes said my prayers hurriedly and with distractions. I
was so much taken up with the duties the emperor required of me, that
I would sometimes put off my prayers, or say them without devotion.
It was my own fault and God is now punishing me for it.” He asked the
priest to intercede for him and then suddenly disappeared, leaving him
filled with a great fear of God’s judgment. #319 Stories from the
Catechist.

These stories are not meant to discourage us, nor to give us
scruples, for who does not have a hundred distractions when praying
the Rosary or other prayers, but they are given to us by God for our
instruction to be more respectful to Him in prayer, to not pray so
hurriedly and to put distractions out of doors when we are aware of
them.

The next story shows one who had pure intention, but many involuntary
distractions. Upon finishing the Rosary, a holy Carmelite nun was
disturbed because her thoughts had not remained upon the mysteries.
But Our Lady, who saw only the nun’s intention to meditate upon them,
reassured her that the involuntary distractions that often creep in
during the Rosary no more hinder the worthiness of our praise than
the flies that buzz around us on a country walk hinder us from
reaching our destination.

Again, the beautiful story of a young friar related in the Chronicles
of St. Francis, who would pray his Rosary so devoutly that witnesses
saw beautiful roses issuing from his mouth at each Hail Mary. The
same was said too of Brother Alphonsus Rodriguez who also said his
Rosary with great fervor. – 7th Rose.

The learned Cardinal Hugues says, “One should really be as pure as an
angel to approach the Blessed Virgin and to say the Angelic
Salutation.” One day Our Lady appeared to an immoral man who used to
always say his Rosary everyday. She showed him a bowl of beautiful
fruit, but the bowl itself was covered with filth. The man was
horrified to see this, and our Lady said: “This is the way you are
honoring me! You are giving me beautiful roses in a filthy bowl. Do
you think I can accept presents of this kind?”

St. Louis de Monfort says, “Your Guardian Angel is at your right
side, taking your Hail Marys, if they are well said, and using them
like roses to make crowns for Jesus and Mary. But be sure the devil
is at your left hand to snatch every single one of your Hail Marys
that you have not said attentively, devoutly and with reverence.”
Blessed Hermann used to say the Rosary attentively and devoutly while
meditating on the mysteries and Our Lady would appear to him
resplendent in breathtaking majesty and beauty. But as time went on
his fervor cooled and he fell into the way of saying his Rosary
hurriedly and without giving it his full attention. Then one day Our
Lady appeared to him again – only this time she was far from
beautiful and her face was furrowed and drawn with sadness. Bl.
Hermann was appalled at the change in her and than Our Lady
explained; “This is how I look to you, Hermann, because in your soul
this is how you are treating me; as a woman to be despised and of no
importance. Why do you no longer greet me with respect and attention,
meditating on my mysteries and praising my privileges?”

“The Rosary well said,” says St. Louis, “gives more glory to Jesus
and Mary and is more meritorious for the soul than any other prayer.”
Listen well, you who have little or no use for the holy Rosary and
think your private devotions are better! St. Louis says, “This is a
deception of the devil.”

St. Augustine says, “He who does not know how to pray well, will not
know how to live well.” St. Chrysostom said that, “Everyone who does
not pray, and who does not wish to keep in continual communion with
God, is dead, he has lost his reason, he must be insane, for he does
not understand what a great honor it is to pray and…not to pray is
to bring death upon the soul..” And St. Francis of Assisi said,
“Never expect anything good from a soul that is not addicted to
prayer.” “Of all means,” says St. Charles Borromeo, “that Jesus
Christ has left us for our salvation, prayer is the most important.”

Our prayer must be humble. Dust and ashes, why art thou proud?
Ecclus.10:9. “The prayer of the humble shall pierce the clouds.”
Eccllus.35:21. How did Solomon pray, the wisest of men? Scripture
says, “he had fixed both knees on the ground, and had spread his
hands toward heaven.” 3 Kings 8:54. St. Stephen converted St. Paul
and many others by his prayer. Falling on his knees, he cried with a
loud voice, saying: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Acts
7:59. St. James the Apostle used to pray so long on his knees that
the skin of them became as hard as that of a camel. St. John
Chrysostom adds that also the skin of his forehead had become quite
hard from lying with it prostrate on the ground while at prayer. The
same was related also of St. Bartholomew the Apostle. And how did
Jesus Christ Himself Pray? “Kneeling down, He prayed.” St. Lk. 22:47.
Even more than that, “He fell upon his face praying and saying:
Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me.” St. Matt.
26:39. Persevering in prayer and praying repetitiously, “And leaving
them, He went again and He prayed the third time, saying the selfsame
word.” Verse 44. And bidding us to follow His example, “For I have
given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.”
St. John 13:15. St. Paul the Hermit was so much accustomed to pray on
his knees, and with his hands lifted up to Heaven, that he died in
this posture. Therefor, Father Mueller says, “Let him who does not
know how to pray with fervor, make a voyage at sea. There the storms
and dangers of death will teach him to pour forth most fervent
prayers. Such prayers are most powerful with the Lord and they are
heard by Him.”

The prayer of children is also most efficacious. When Agar was
wondering in the deserts of Arabia with her little boy Ismael, dying
thirst, she began to cry for the poor dying boy. Then an angel of God
spoke to her, “Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the boy…
Genesis 21:17-19, and He gave them water to drink. And the prayer of
children, honoring their parents, is also most pleasing to God. “He
who honoreth his father…in the day of his prayer he shall be
heard.” Ecclus. 3:6.

Say this prayer daily: Lord, I am living in a wicked world,
surrounded with dangers that lead to perdition. I am like a child,
not knowing how to walk on, or follow the true way. Give, therefore,
to Thy servant an understanding heart to discern between good and
evil. Make me understand how great an evil sin is, and how great a
good it is to love Thee above all things. Give me a great hatred of
sin, the gift of devout prayer, and make me love Thee most ardently
to the end of my life. Amen.

—————————————-

Some of the above is from “The Secret of the Rosary” by St. Louis De
Montfort. This excellent 148 page book is available in our Store for
only $1. Also available are 2011 Liturgical Calendars for only $9.
http://olrl.org/mm5/merchant.mvc
.


Sincerely in Christ,
Our Lady of the Rosary Library
“Pray and work for souls”
http://olrl.org

For good Catholic books, articles and religious goods visit www.olrl.org.


 

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