Having a well-stocked arsenal of memorized prayers is part of being raised a Catholic. As children we were taught the classic three: Our Father, Hail Mary and the Glory Be. Along with the Apostles Creed, they are the basis of the rosary so we had lots of practice rattling them off. In high school, the Sisters made us stop and offer these prayers whenever an ambulance went by. Since we were mere blocks away from a hospital, we sometimes had several prayer breaks in a class. My husband and I used car rides as an opportunity to practice the classic three with our children. Each trip began by raising a prayer for safe travels. It was stressed even more strongly when they began driving!
A favourite for children was the Prayer to our Guardian Angels. It was comforting to know that God gifted each one of us with a special, spiritual companion to keep us safe.
Then there was the prayer for the dead; Eternal rest, grant unto them O, Lord… It is a prayer that comes effortlessly to the lips when you hear of the passing of a soul. It connects us in the midst of sorrow and offers simple words, when there are none to say.
With five children, something was always getting lost. St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, was the friend to call on. Tony, Tony, turn around…something`s lost and must be found. It`s a friendly prayer, and St. Tony usually pulls through for us!
I tease my husband about his family`s patron saint – St. Jude, the patron of hopeless causes. But prayers were (and are) raised every night, through his intercession, that the family may handle all the stresses that life will bring.
The Prayer to the Holy Spirit helps me to focus and ask for wisdom before a presentation, a writing task, or discernment. It`s a good prayer for exam time – though we had to stress to our children to do their part. Study hard, and pray that you will recall what you have learned. You can`t expect miracles if you don`t do the work!
For every time, every circumstance….there`s a prayer. The prayer may be short and sweet, but it helps us to acknowledge the presence of the Divine in the midst of the ordinary.