Liturgy of the Hours

Mr. Kosloski’s post below is an excellent primer on Praying the Prayer of the Church, The Liturgy of the Hours.  Thanks to Mr.  Kosloski for the informative piece.


A Beginner’s Guide to Praying the Liturgy of the Hours

A Beginner’s Guide to Praying the Liturgy of the Hours

I have said before, praying with a physical breviary can be challenging especially if no one is there to show you how. However, after an initial introduction to praying the Liturgy of the Hours, it becomes quite easy and is like clockwork.


Today, I will walk you through the most common prayer book lay people can pick up to pray the principal hours of the divine office: Christian Prayer. It contains: Morning, Evening & Night Prayer, with an abbreviated section for the Office of Readings and Daytime Prayer. If you only have enough time to pray one or more of those prayers, I suggest picking-up Christian Prayer.

First of all, as with any breviary, there are the all-important “ribbons.” These are extremely important and allow you to mark the correct parts of the divine office.


To begin setting the ribbons, take one of them and open to page 686 where the “Ordinary” and “Invitatory” are located. The “Ordinary” is the basic “instruction manual” for the Liturgy of the Hours and acts as a reference point if you ever get stuck.


Here we see how the common phrase “Say the Black, Do the Red” comes in handy. All the words printed in the color red are your instructions and all the words printed in black are the prayers you actually pray. There are plenty of instructions and options, so read it all very carefully. I suggest reading through the entire “Ordinary” before going any further.

The “Ordinary” also has prayers that are repeated each day such as the “Magnificat” and “Benedictus.” You pray these at Evening and Morning Prayer and are typically memorized in the monastery. Until you have them memorized, you can always turn to the “Ordinary” to find them.

After you have read the “Ordinary,” you can leave your first ribbon where it says “Invitatory.” This is composed of an antiphon and Psalm 95 and is typically prayed before Morning Prayer (or the Office of Readings). If you are praying the Invitatory on your own, you will say the correct antiphon once, pray Psalm 95 and then recite the same antiphon at the end. When with others, you will recite the antiphon after every stanza.

Before we go any further, a note about Christian Prayer. Unlike the full version of the divine office, the antiphons are only printed once at the beginning of each Psalm. That means after praying a Psalm, you will have to flip the page backwards to recite the correct antiphon. This is important to remember and will be repeated in Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, etc.

The second ribbon will be located in the front of the breviary in a section called the “Proper of Seasons.” This section of the breviary has all the prayers according to the “seasons” of the Church: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter & Ordinary Time.


Typically it has special antiphons and prayers for the hours prayed on Sundays throughout the year. During seasons such as Lent, there are specific readings and prayers for each day.

For now, you can place the ribbon on page 344. You will see that it says, “Fourth Week of Lent” and “Monday, Morning Prayer” at the top of the page. In order to figure out what week it is, go to and click on their calendar. Alternatively, you can order your own wall liturgical calendar that says what day it is.

This is an important part of the breviary as when you reach the next Sunday, it says what “Psalter” you are currently in:


You will see that it reads “Psalter, Week IV” below “Fourth Sunday of Lent.” This indicates where to put your third ribbon.


This third ribbon is located in the middle of the breviary and for our purposes is located on page 937. You will see that it reads, “Monday, Week IV” and is where we want to be. If you ever get confused on which “Psalter” you are supposed to be in, go back to the “Proper of Seasons” and the correct Sunday will tell you.

The fourth ribbon should be located at the current day for “Night Prayer.” Which is much easier to understand, as it only has a single cycle that is repeated each week. For today, it is located on page 1041.


The fifth ribbon can be placed in the “Proper of Saints,” which contains the special prayers and antiphons for specific saint days. All you need to know is the calendar date to know where to put the ribbon. Today it is located on March 7th, the Memorial of Perpetua and Felicity.


Once you have all of the ribbons in place, you can start praying every day and go through it one page at a time. If you ever get lost or confused, go to the “Ordinary” and it will tell you what to do.

If you don’t know where to set your ribbons, you can alternatively go to and they have the page numbers provided for you.

At first it can be quite confusing, but after several weeks of praying it goes much smoother. After several years of praying, it is like riding a bike. If you have any trouble, I am more than happy to help as well.

Praying in this manner, while more difficult than opening up an app, is very beneficial. In an age where everything is available at the touch of our finger, it is healthy to learn the “art” of praying the divine office.

Next week, I will open up the four volume set and we will take another look at praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

Improving Prayer Life – by Philip Kosloski

How 15 Minutes of Prayer Can Change Your Life Forever

I will be honest and say that setting aside time every day for a full hour of prayer is difficult. During seminary it was easy and a basic fact of life. Even a few years ago I didn’t have a problem finding an hour of quiet prayer. However, when multiple children are thrown into the mix an hour is hard to grasp.


The Angelus (L’Angelus) by Jean-François Millet

That is why I was intrigued by a new book entitled The 15-Minute Prayer Solution: How One Percent of Your Day Can Transform Your Life by Gary Jansen. It may seem like a “cop-out” to only pray for 15 minutes a day, but when you lead a busy life or are starting out in the spiritual life, 15 minutes is perfect. We can all find 15 minutes.

But is that it? Do we simply kneel down for 15 minutes? What do we do during that time?

In his book, Jansen provides detailed instructions on how to pray for 15 minutes based on ancient practices, many of which were inspired by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Daily Exercises

First of all, Jansen exhorts us to set-aside time every day for prayer. This is a pre-requisite of the spiritual life and is something we must do if we want to progress in our relationship with God. Some of us may be intimidated with that task, but it really shouldn’t be a problem. We don’t have to start by devoting ourselves to a full hour of prayer. Instead, we can begin by giving God one percent of our day. Jansen explains:

“Did you know that there are 1,440 minutes in a day? It’s true. I did the math. Did you also know that one percent of all that time is fourteen minutes and twenty-four seconds? What would happen if you made a conscious decision, every day, to exercise your soul by giving roughly fifteen minutes of your time over to God? Just one tiny percent of your life. Would your life change? Mine did.” (The 15-Minute Prayer Solution, 3)

The key is to set-aside time every day. As the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race.” Steady, consistent prayer has a much greater effect on our prayer life than intense bursts that fizzle over time.

Mustard Seeds

Connected to this thought of giving God one percent of our day is the idea of faith the size of a “mustard seed.” Jesus said to His disciples:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from hence to yonder place,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” Matthew 17:20

Praying for 15 minutes a day may seem like a short amount of time, but when it is done in faith the effects can last a lifetime. Not only that, the goal is that 15 minutes of prayer will lead to praying “without ceasing.” We must start small, have faith the size of a mustard seed, and let God do the rest.

The Jesus Prayer, Lectio Divina, & The Examen

Jansen does not dwell too much on theory before he starts explaining what to do during those 15 minutes. He gives many different ways to pray that can all be accomplished during that time frame. For the most part Jansen focuses on ancient ways of praying that aim at quieting the soul. The first type of prayer he describes is the famous “Jesus Prayer,” made popular by the Russian book The Way of a Pilgrim. It is a very simple prayer that involves saying the words, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner,” by slowly breathing in and out. The breathing is an essential part of the prayer and helps calm a person’s mind and allows them to focus on God.

After saying the “Jesus Prayer,” Jansen suggests meditating on a short passage of scripture and engaging in what is called Lectio Divina (“Divine Reading”). This type of praying with scripture focuses on immersing oneself inside the scripture passage and listening for God’s voice.

Another option is the “Examen” prayer. This type of prayer aims at finding God in the various people, things and events of the day. Often the “Examen” is done at the end of day where we meditate on how God brought different people into our lives and thanking Him for His divine providence. It is a great way to remind ourselves that God is present in all things and nothing happens “by chance.”

Seven Days of Exercises

The book itself is not very long (which makes sense) and at the end of it is a simple guide to praying for seven days. It includes seven days of Lectio Divina and is a great way to get started, especially for those of us who don’t know where to begin. This is probably one of the most helpful parts of the book and allows you to practice what you learned.

To conclude, I heartily recommend getting a copy of The 15-Minute Prayer Solution: How One Percent of Your Day Can Transform Your LifeJansen has a writing style that is accessible to anyone. He writes about deep theological truths in a way that a person who has zero years of religious education can understand. Much of what he writes is from experience and he gives many short stories to explain how prayer has affected his own life.

I will be honest, much of what Jansen writes may challenge you and your idea of prayer. He focuses much more on relational types of prayer than formula-based prayers. In other words, while he draws from the rich tradition of the Catholic Church Jansen focuses more on calming your soul to listen to the Holy Spirit than reciting different prayers to get what you want.

I know that I have benefited from Jansen’s book and will return to it on a daily basis.

Pornography and Acedia – by Reinhard Hutter

Please read the article below to help in your growing toward Chastity.  Also, work towards joining the Angelic Warfare Confraternity ASAP!


Pornography and Acedia

by Reinhard Hütter

A uniquely toxic combination of the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh has become an almost normal component of everyday life: the perturbingly pervasive use of pornography in general and internet pornography in particular, with its dangerous addictiveness and its lethal effect on the Christian spiritual life. To comprehend the spiritual roots of this crisis, we need to recall an all-too-forgotten vice, acedia, usually called “sloth” but better rendered as “spiritual apathy.” It is the very forgoing of friendship with God—which is the fulfillment of the transcendent dignity and calling of the human person—and the embrace of the self-indulgent deception that there never was and never will be friendship with God, that there never was and never will be a transcendent calling and dignity of the human person. Nothing matters much, because the one thing that really matters, God’s love and friendship, does not exist and therefore cannot be attained.

Acedia creates a void that we try to fill with transient rushes of pleasure—primarily venereal pleasure—to ward off the ennui of life bereft of its very center. But the simulacra that promise the rushes of pleasure we seek betray us. They cannot fill the void created by the loss of our transcendent calling to the love and friendship of God. Rather, they only increase the craving to fill the void we cannot fill, breeding compulsion and intensifying spiritual apathy, thereby encouraging acedia’s most dangerous shoot to spring forth: despair.

Christian spiritual wisdom has always regarded acedia as a vice that, unchecked, will eventually prove deadly to the Christian life. For spiritual apathy first leads us to despair of God’s love and mercy and eventually issues in a sadness that will always cause problems. For, as St. Thomas Aquinas observes in On Evil, “No human being can long remain pleasureless and sad.” People engulfed by the sadness to which their indulgence in spiritual apathy led them tend to avoid such sadness first by shirking and then by resenting and scorning God’s love and mercy.

This vice’s post-Christian secular offshoot, an unthematic despair posing as boredom, covers—like a fungus—the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional life of many, if not most, who inhabit the affluent segments of the Western secular world. The old vice of acedia, of spiritual apathy, is the root cause of the typically bourgeois ennui, boredom.

Eventually the collective ideological, cultural, social, and political aversion to the divine good previously received and embraced will issue in a collective spiritual state of acedia, which eventually turns against any remnant of or witness to the transcendent dignity of human persons and to their calling to friendship with God. This is the very story of modern secularism. The flight from sadness that begins with avoiding and resisting spiritual goods and ends with attacking them describes with uncanny accuracy the specific ressentiment and aggression typical of a secular age.

In a seminal phenomenological study, originally published two years before the outbreak of World War I, the German philosopher Max Scheler offers an astute analysis of this distinctly modern negative spiritual attitude. Ressentiment, he claims, arises from the weakness of the will and issues in contempt of those moral values one despairs of achieving oneself. This ressentiment characterizes not only the modern secular individual but also the most influential strand of modern secular moral theory.

Ressentiment, Scheler argues, motivates the whole modern subjective theory of moral values, an approach to ethics currently best known as emotivism. If moral values amount to nothing but subjective phenomena of the human mind without independent meaning and existence—a position held by a variety of naturalist, positivist, and pragmatist philosophers—one never can be found lacking in light of an objective standard of moral values. As a subtle form of ressentiment, the emotivist theory of moral values fails to understand the profoundly problematic nature of pornography. Unable to name an objective standard of moral values, emotivism will in the end find a way to exculpate its production and consumption.

Scheler helps us understand ressentiment as the distinctively modern practice of the vice of acedia. The typically modern secular practice carries the inner logic of spiritual apathy further, to the complacent contempt, even under the guise of moral theory, for what imposes itself as truly and objectively good. Ours is, arguably, not a culture of tolerance but a culture of deep-seated ressentiment that makes possible the amorphous yet broad social and political acceptance of pornography. The vast numbers of persons who, unbeknownst to themselves, are indulging in acedia , despair of and eventually come to resent the very dignity of the human person that pornography treats with contempt.

This spiritual apathy breeds other vices. In his overquoted but understudied Moralia in Job, Gregory the Great famously assigns six daughters to the vice of acedia: malice, spite, faintheartedness, despair, sluggishness with respect to the commandments, and—most important for our concern—“the roaming unrest of the spirit,” as the Thomist philosopher Josef Pieper aptly renders it in his book The Four Cardinal Virtues. This roaming unrest of the spirit takes initial shape in another vice, one hardly recognized as such anymore, because modernity all too often confuses it with intellectual inquisitiveness: vain curiosity, or the lust of the eyes. Fueled by ennui and ressentiment and elicited by the roaming unrest of the spirit, vain curiosity takes the first allegedly innocent step that all too soon leads to the regular, then habituated, and eventually compulsive practice of pornographic voyeurism. When considering the vice of vain curiosity, Thomas Aquinas offers in the Summa Theologiae a brief but profoundly pertinent remark: “Sight-seeing [inspectio spectaculorum] becomes sinful, when it renders [one] prone to the vices of lust and cruelty on account of things [one] sees represented.”

Christian spiritual wisdom has long taught that the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh feed each other. The concupiscence of the eyes inflames the concupiscence of the flesh, and vice versa. St. Augustine offers in the Confessions a first step to understanding why the consumption of internet pornography can easily lead to the slow destruction of moral self-possession. “The truth,” he writes, “is that disordered lust springs from a perverted will; when lust is pandered to, a habit is formed; when habit is not checked, it hardens into compulsion. These were like interlinking rings forming what I have described as a chain, and my harsh servitude used it to keep me under duress.” Concupiscence indulged and habituated gathers such strength that it takes on the nature of a certain kind of necessity that compels the will in such a way that the attribute “free” becomes increasingly vacuous.

What seems most characteristic of the compulsive consumption of pornography is that the consumer no longer finds any pleasure in looking at the simulacra. All he has left, when the act is completed, is a craving for stimulating a desire that will always remain unsatisfied. What is to be learned from the testimonies of pornography’s users is the important fact that, contrary to prevailing cultural assumptions, the lust of the eyes is not a “hot” but rather a “cold” vice. It arises from the roaming unrest of the spirit rooted in a spiritual apathy that, again, despairs of and eventually comes to resent the very transcendence in which the dignity of the human person has its roots. The lust of the eyes that feeds on Internet pornography does not inflame but rather freezes the soul and the heart in a cold indifference to the human dignity of others and of oneself.

The consumption of internet pornography harms the one who does the consuming; those whose dignity, health, and often lives are consumed in the production of pornography; and those who have to suffer from the dissolution of conjugal and familial bonds of fidelity, intimacy, and trust. Into that night of moral errancy, the Catechism of the Catholic Church sheds salutary light by reminding all persons of goodwill of a truth that to right reason is self-evident, that pornography offends against chastity:

Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of the spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

The Catholic Church’s teaching on the evil of pornography is anchored normatively in the dignity of the human person and in the intimately conjoined virtue of chastity. Chastity is not (as current stereotypes insist) prudishness, the fearful contempt of sexuality as a “necessary evil,” unavoidable but ultimately subhuman. It is the virtue that both expresses and preserves the dignity of what is a genuine and surpassing good: the dignity of the human person in sexual matters.

In order to understand chastity rightly, and especially its indispensability for proper human flourishing and the enjoyment of true freedom in all relationships, it is crucial to see how this often ridiculed and misunderstood virtue is intimately related to another virtue in need of recovery: temperance. Temperance is one of the so-called cardinal virtues, which can be described as the four habits of excellence that enable human beings to realize the human good. The first of them, prudence, identifies and commands the appropriate specific act; the second, justice, attends to the good of others and hence gives them their due; the third, courage, overcomes the fear of whatever threatens our bodily integrity and existence; the fourth, temperance, protects our inner order from the ever-present power of our internal sense appetites.

Temperance—or better, “selfless self-preservation,” as Josef Pieper felicitously renders this virtue—has nothing whatsoever in common with some bourgeois, lukewarm moderation in matters of food and drink. Rather, temperantia is the virtue that preserves the inner order of the human being, directing the most elementary forces of human self-preservation, self-assertion, and self-fulfillment: As Pieper writes, “The discipline of temperance defends [the human being] against all selfish perversion of the inner order, through which alone the moral person exists and lives effectively.” Chastity is nothing but the realization of selfless self-preservation in human sexuality.

Let me use an image. Prudence is the helmsman who directs the ship of our moral agency through the treacherous waters of moral quandaries and spiritual temptations. Our helmsman can operate properly only if we are properly formed in justice, courage, and temperance. An inordinate desire for sensual pleasure, brought about by the absence or failure of temperance, weakens and obstructs the ability of our helmsman to direct the ship. The selfless self-preservation of temperance protects the inner order of the person against the encroachments of powerful sensual desire and thus allows our helmsman to do his job. Without selfless self-preservation there simply is no true and perfect prudence.

And consequently, without chastity, the expression of temperance in sexual matters, there is no true and perfect prudence in the sexual life either. Without chastity, the helmsman cannot safely and confidently steer the ship safely through the treacherous waters of the sexual life to its proper destination. The result is a severely hampered moral life and consequently a great diminishment in human flourishing.

Thus chastity is a virtue not only indispensable for the realization of the virtue of prudence in sexual matters but also for the undisturbed proper operation of prudence in general. In other words, where the virtue of chastity is feeble and frail, the virtue of prudence will be encumbered and possibly corrupted. Those who are not chaste will not be truly or fully prudent.

This has fundamental meanings for the preservation of human dignity. If we want to protect human dignity in sexual and indeed all other human matters, we must exercise true and perfect prudence. If we want to exercise true and perfect prudence, we must seek chastity. But before we can exercise chastity in its proper sense, we must practice a more general virtue of chastity, a spiritual chastity. For it is this virtue that addresses the spiritual root of the problem: acedia. What is spiritual chastity?

“If the human mind,” writes St. Thomas in the Summa, “delights in the spiritual union with that to which it behooves it to be united, namely God, and refrains from delighting in union with other things against the requirements of the order established by God, this may be called a spiritual chastity. . . . Taken in this sense, chastity is a general virtue, because every virtue withdraws the human mind from delighting in a union with unlawful things.” This spiritual chastity arises directly from faith, hope, and charity, which unite the human mind to God. Spiritual chastity preserves the union with God and thereby offers the most salient protection against acedia.

The single most important practice that fortifies our spiritual chastity and simultaneously protects us from acedia is an active and persistent discipline of prayer. Yet because of the unique and distinctly modern attack on the moral integrity of the human person by way of subtle and omnipresent temptations to indulge in the lust of the eyes, the restoration and protection of chastity requires practices more pointed and radical than the individual practice of prayer alone. False self-sufficiency is best overcome communally.

Note well, the practice of prayer is a spiritual discipline categorically different from and not a substitute for the counseling or therapy advisable for those experiencing what clinicians increasingly diagnose as gravely compulsive behavior or addiction. Because the root of the problem is a spiritual one, the healing from the addictive behavior will ultimately be overcome only when the negative spiritual root, acedia , is eradicated. It is the latter that the practice of prayer addresses.

In conclusion, therefore, I propose one such communal practice and discipline. One highly pertinent spiritual initiative that most directly addresses the pressing contemporary problem of Internet pornography—not at its shiny electronic surface but at its hidden spiritual root—is the Angelic Warfare Confraternity promoted by the Dominican order.

The Dominican theologian Brian T. Mullady explains that it “seeks to foster the connection between chastity and the other acquired and infused virtues, especially charity; which enables one to love and reverence [one’s] own body as well as the bodies of others.” The members of the confraternity engage in a disciplined practice of daily prayer and support each other in prayer while drawing upon the intercessions of the Seat of Wisdom, the Mother of God, and of St. Thomas, the confraternity’s patron saint.

Far from being an outlet for pious and prudish impulses, the confraternity’s practice of prayer reflects a pertinent theological truth about the efficaciousness of prayer. As St. Thomas states: “Since prayers offered for others proceed from charity . . . the greater the charity of the saints in heaven, the more they pray for wayfarers, since the latter can be helped by prayers: and the more closely they are united with God, the more are their prayers efficacious.” The prayer that the members of the confraternity pray daily is directed to the one who has the power to protect and to liberate man from spiritual apathy, ennui, ressentiment, and the lust of the eyes:

Dear Jesus, I know that every perfect gift and especially that of chastity depends on the power of your Providence. Without you, a mere creature can do nothing. Therefore, I beg you to defend by your grace the chastity and purity of my body and soul. And if I have ever imagined or felt anything that can stain my chastity and purity, blot it out, Supreme Lord of my powers, that I may advance with a pure heart in your love and service, offering myself on the most pure altar of your divinity all the days of my life.

The discipline of prayer sustains the spiritual union of the mind and heart with God and with everything that is consonant with the will of God. By exercising spiritual chastity and thereby sustaining spiritual union with God, the discipline of prayer protects us most effectively from falling into spiritual apathy and its secular offspring, ennui and ressentiment. For the one who prays—truly prays—is never bored or resentful. The practice of prayer might commend itself as the apposite, grace-initiated preparation for welcoming the virtue of chastity into the human mind and will.

Such welcome is gravely important. For the virtue of chastity is the prime protector of human dignity. In the order of action, conjugal chastity realizes one’s own human dignity and acknowledges the dignity of one’s spouse. More comprehensively, it is the chaste person whose gaze can genuinely behold and affirm the dignity of the other. It is the chaste person who is free from the lure of the enticing, the titillating, the demeaning, the base, and who consequently can exercise true and perfect prudence.

Reinhard Hütter is professor of Christian theology at Duke Divinity School.

Novena to St. Anthony of Padua – Day 6

Novena to St. Anthony of Padua

Say once a day for nine days, especially beginning on 4 June and ending on 12 June, the eve of the Feast of St. Anthony. Some pray a Novena to St. Anthony on thirteen consecutive Tuesdays, per the instructions of Pope Leo XIII, or on all Tuesdays.

Patronage: American Indians; amputees; animals; barrenness; Brazil; elderly people; faith in the Blessed Sacrament; fishermen; Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land; harvests; horses; lost articles; lower animals; mail; mariners; oppressed people; poor people;Portugal; pregnant women; seekers of lost articles; shipwrecks; starvation; sterility;swineherds; Tigua Indians; travel hostesses; travellers; Watermen

O White lily of purity, sublime example of poverty, true mirror of humility, resplendent star of sanctity. O glorious St Anthony, who didst enjoy the sweet privilege of receiving into thy arms the Infant Jesus, I beseech thee to take me under they powerful protection. Thou in whom the power of working miracles shines forth among the other gifts of God, have pity upon me and come to my aid in this my great need.

(Mention your intentions here).

Cleanse my heart from every disorderly affection, obtain for me a true contrition for my sins and a great love of God and of my neighbour that serving God faithfully in this life, I may come to praise, enjoy and bless Him eternally with thee in Paradise. Amen

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be.

I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel. (Rev. 8:3-4)

Prayer is the Key to Salvation

You will not go to heaven if you don’t pray.  Just like with any relationship, you cannot form a good one without communication.  Please read the article from Father Ed Broom who is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary and begin communicating with the one that will determine where you will spend eternity (God)!.  This article appeared in the Catholic Gentlemen blog.


10 Ways to Grow in Prayer

Prayer is the key to salvation.  St. Augustine says that he who prays well lives well; he who lives well dies well; and to he who dies well all is well. St. Alphonsus reiterates the same principle:  “He who prays much will be saved; he who does not pray will be damned; he who prays little places in jeopardy his eternal salvation.  The same saint asserted that there are neither strong people nor weak people in the world, but those who know how to pray and those who do not. In other words prayer is our strength in all times and places.

We would like to offer ten words of encouragement to help us on the highway towards heaven through the effort to grow in our prayer life!

1. Conviction or Determination. There is no successful person in this world in any enterprise who was not animated by a firm determination to achieve his goal. Super athletes, accomplished musicians, expert teachers and writers never arrived at perfection by mere wishful thinking but by a firm, tenacious determination to arrive at their goal—come hell or high water. For that reason, the Doctor of prayer, Saint Teresa of Avila, stated:  “We must have a determined determination to never give up prayer.” If we really believed in the depths of our hearts the priceless treasures that flow from prayer, we would make it our aim in life to grow constantly in prayer.

2. Holy Spirit As Teacher. St. Paul says that we do not really know how to pray as we ought but that it is the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us teaching us to say “Abba” Father.  The Holy Spirit is the Interior Master or Teacher.   With Mary the Apostles spent nine days and nights praying and fasting and they were imbued with the power from on high—the Holy Spirit.  Before starting any formal prayer period why not invoke the Person of the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness. During the course of your prayer period why not beg the presence of the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind and ignite your heart.  He is closer to you than you are aware. If your are in the state of grace He resides in your heart.

3. Time, Place, Good Will, and Silence.  As in any art we learn by practicing.   This applies to prayer. To learn how to pray we must have a set time, a good place, good will on our part and silence. The saying rings true in sports as well as in prayer:  “Practice makes perfect.”

4. Penance.  It might be that our prayer has become insipid, boring, lifeless, anemic and stagnant for many reasons. One possible reason might be a life of sensuality, indulgence, gluttony, and simply living more according to the flesh then the spirit. As St. Paul reminds us, the flesh and the spirit are in mutual opposition.   Jesus spent forty days and nights praying and fasting.  The Apostles spent nine days and nights praying and fasting. One cannot arrive at any serious mystical life led by the spirit if he has not passed through the ascetical life of self-denial, mortification and penance. A bird needs two wings to fly; so does the follower of Christ. To soar high in the mystical life the two wings are prayer and penance.  If you have no training in the penitential life consult a good spiritual director and start with small acts of penance to build up will-power so as to do the more heroic acts of penance! If you have never run before, start with a block and build up to the mile.

5. Spiritual Direction.  Athletes need coaches; students need teachers; teachers need mentors to learn the art. Equally important, prayer-warriors must have some form of guidance and this is called spiritual direction. St. Ignatius of Loyola insisted on the spiritual life as being a journey of accompaniment.  St. Teresa of Avila had several saints directing her on her long and painful journey leading to perfection—St. John of the Cross, St Peter of Alcantara, and St. Francis Borgia. There are many obstacles in the spiritual journey, especially when one pursues a deeper life of prayer; for that reason having a trained spiritual director who knows the traps of the devil, the pitfalls always present, and the dangers that are always present can help us to grow steadily in holiness through a deeper and more authentic prayer life.

6. Prayer and Action. St. Teresa of Avila points out that authentic growth in prayer is proven by growth in holiness and that means by the practice of virtue. Jesus said that we know the tree by the fruits. Likewise an authentic life of prayer blossoms forth in the practice of virtues: faith, hope, charity, purity, kindness, service, humility and a constant love for neighbor and the salvation of his immortal soul.  Our Lady is model at all times but especially in the intimate connection between contemplation in action. In the Annunciation we admire Mary absorbed in prayer; then in the following mystery (in the Visitation) she follows the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to serve her cousin in a mission of love. In truth we can call Mary a true “Contemplative in action”. Like Mary we are called to be “Contemplatives in action.

7. Study-Read about Prayer.  St. Teresa of Avila would not allow women into the convent of the Carmelites who could not read. Why? The simple reason was that she knew how much one could learn on many topics, but especially on prayer through solid spiritual reading.  Find good literature on prayer and read! How many helpful ideas come through a good spiritual reading. One suggestion: read Part Four of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is a spiritual masterpiece on prayer.

8. Retreats. A most propitious manner to really go deeper in prayer is to set aside some time for a prolonged period of prayer; this we call a spiritual retreat. One of the most efficacious styles of retreats are Ignatian retreats. It might last a whole month, or eight days, or even a weekend retreat can prove extremely valuable. Seeing the Apostles overwhelmed with work Jesus exhorted them: “Come apart for a while and rest…” This rest that Jesus mentioned has classically been interpreted as a call to the spiritual retreat!  Look at your calendar for the year and set aside some time. More extended periods of time for prayer allow for greater depth in prayer!

9. Confession and Prayer. Sometimes prayer proves exceedingly difficult due to a dirty conscience. Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.”(Mt. 5:8) After a good confession, in which the Precious Blood of Jesus washes our souls and consciences clean, the interior eye of the soul can see and contemplate the face of God with greater clarity.

10. Our Lady and Prayer. As we have mentioned the importance of the Holy Spirit to be with us as our Interior Master, so also we should constantly beg Mary to pray for us and to pray with us every time we dedicate time and effort to prayer. She will never fail us. As Jesus turned water into wine at Cana through Mary’s intercession, so she can help to turn our insipid and flavorless prayer into the sweet wine of devotion. Mary will never fail you! Call upon her.

Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom’s Blog. This post originally appeared at Catholic Exchange and it is reprinted with permission.

The post 10 Ways to Grow in Prayer appeared first on The Catholic Gentleman.

Ways to Pray at Three O’Clock

Divine Mercy Meditation: Ways to Pray at the powerful Three O’Clock hour as we have been instructed by our Lord.  St. Faustina, Ora Pro Nobis.

My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. I claim veneration for My mercy from every creature, but above all from you, since it is to you that I have given the most profound understanding of this mystery (Diary, 1572).

My Prayer Response:
Lord Jesus, You so desire that we take advantage of the Hour of Great Mercy that You offer us a variety of ways to venerate Your mercy. Help us to draw down all the available graces for a world in desperate need of Your mercy.

Parent’s Prayer for Their Children

Can you feel the evil creeping closer and closer to you?  We certainly can.  This is why all Catholic parents need to rely on ALL of the supernatural tools of the Church to protect our children so they can grow in their spirituality before the world corrupts them.  This is why is it is so important to make personal sacrifices such as homeschooling your children, driving farther to attend a Traditional Latin Mass church, taking the time each night to pray the rosary as a family, and seriously monitoring your children’s use of electronics where evil lurks behind every mouse click.  Thank God we are traditional Catholics and have re-discovered the joys of being a Catholic parent.

Please find the prayer below parents should pray for their Children daily.


O God the Father of mankind, who hast given unto me these my children, and committed them to my charge to bring them up for Thee, and to prepare them for eternal life: help me with Thy heavenly grace, that I may be able to fulfill this most sacred duty and stewardship. Teach me both what to give and what to withhold; when to reprove and when to forbear; make me to be gentle, yet firm; considerate and watchful; and deliver me equally from the weakness of indulgence, and the excess of severity; and grant that, both by word and example, I may be careful to lead them in the ways of wisdom and true piety, so that at last I may, with them, be admitted to the unspeakable joys of our true home in heaven, in the company of the blessed Angels and Saints. Amen.

O Heavenly Father, I commend my children to Thy care. Be Thou their God and Father; and mercifully supply whatever is lacking in me through frailty or negligence. Strengthen them to overcome the corruptions of the world, whether from within or without; and deliver them from the secret snares of the enemy. Pour Thy grace into their hearts, and strengthen and multiply in them the gifts of Thy Holy Spirit, that they may daily grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; and so, faithfully serving Thee here, may come to rejoice in Thy presence hereafter. Amen.

Litany of Humility

Litany of Humility

Composed by Cardinal Marry Del Val,
the saintly Secretary of State to Pope St. Pius X

O Jesus! Meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,


From the desire of being loved . . .

From the desire of being extolled . . .

From the desire of being honored . . .

From the desire of being praised . . .

From the desire of being preferred . . .

From the desire of being consulted . . .

From the desire of being approved . . .

From the fear of being humiliated . . .

From the fear of being despised . . .

From the fear of suffering rebukes . . .

From the fear of being calumniated . . .

From the fear of being forgotten . . .

From the fear of being ridiculed . . .

From the fear of being wronged . . .

From the fear of being suspected . . .

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I,

Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.

That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,

Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside,

Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed,

Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything,

Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.

That others become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,

Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.