Monday, September 6, 2010

Meme-o-rama, part one

Larry D. at Acts of the Apostasy tagged me with a meme recently, which reminded me that Magister Christianus tagged me with one quite a long time ago; since I spent Labor Day helping Thad clear out some of the clutter that has unaccountably accumulated around here, I think that posting these memes is probably a wiser move than ranting about the topic I had planned to rant about earlier in the day, when I was arguably more coherent than I am now. Arguably.

First, since Magister Christianus tagged me over a month ago, is the Favorite Prayer Meme you have probably heard so much about and probably already done yourself. The rules, which I intend to break, are as follows:

"Name your three favourite prayers, and explain why they're your favourites.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 favourite devotional prayers."

The part I'm going to break is the "tagging other people" thing, especially since most of the bloggers I read regularly have already done this one. However, if you haven't done this one and want to, consider yourself tagged.

Of course, the Mass is the perfect prayer, but the rules make it clear that the Mass is off limits. I ought, then, as a good Catholic to list the rosary, the Way of the Cross, and the Divine Mercy chaplet--all of which I do really appreciate and enjoy praying. But I'm sure many other people have listed and waxed poetic about these beautiful prayers, so I'm going to go off the beaten path a little and talk about three prayers I say every day, without fail, even in those seasons of my life when my daily rosary becomes a daily decade (if that) and I forget how to start the Divine Mercy chaplet.

The first of these is the one posted on my sidebar, the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel:

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.

The version I memorized long ago has slightly different words ("safeguard" instead of "protection," and "cast" instead of "thrust"). And I do usually pray it in English, though the Latin version posted in my sidebar is pretty cool, too.

Why is this one of my three favorites? Because St. Michael rocks, of course. He's always been a particular favorite of mine, for his instant cry of indignation against Lucifer's mutiny: "Who is like God?" and his ceaseless efforts since then to stand against the powers of Hell and protect a lot of silly humans who must annoy him terribly with the weakness and vacillating nature of our own faith and loyalty to God. But he protects us anyway--not by his own power, but by the power and the will of God. In these days when people think of the devil as some silly medieval throwback or disturbance of the psyche or some such thing, it's good to know that St. Michael stands between us and diabolical influences.

The second prayer I pray daily is this one:
Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection,
implored Thy help or sought Thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother;
to Thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in Thy mercy, hear and answer me.
This prayer, called the "Memorare" after its first word in Latin, is a prayer I learned as a child, and it was always comforting to pray. Can any Christian really doubt the special relationship of our Lord and Savior to His mother, or wonder if He encourages us to turn to her in our difficulties and needs? At present, this is one of the prayers with which I begin my day. I have been praying it in particular for a friend of mine and his family, for their various needs and difficulties, but I will also remember other people who have asked for my prayers when I begin this lovely prayer. Placing everything in Mary's hands and asking her to present our requests to her Son is a beautiful idea, don't you think?

My love for our Lady is the reason why this is the third prayer I say daily without fail:

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do 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 our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Unlike the Memorare, this prayer does not present our particular petitions or needs to Mary; it addresses her as our Queen, and asks her to pray for us as we sojourn so far away from our heavenly home. I like to pray this one as a reminder that this earthly life is so far from being all that we have, that the trials of daily life are as nothing compared to our eternal fate. Truly we do mourn and weep in a valley of tears, when we consider as a measure what awaits us in the next life, if we persevere in the Christian life!

Magister, better late than never, I hope? :)

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