Rafael Cardinal Merry de Val was a Cardinal under Pope Pious X (1865-1930) composed a beautiful prayer that was shared with me by a colleague a little over a month ago. She warned us while handing it out that the prayer can be very powerful and has a tendency to sneak up you. She was so right!
Last week, while our principal was away celebrating her honeymoon, there was a particular (minor) disciplinary instance that I initially felt left out of. I had been under the impression that I was to be consulted in such matters. As I began to feel left out and disheartened, I felt a small nudge in my heart.
"From the desire of being consulted..."
As I have led the Prayer of Humility for the past two weeks, different lines have stood out to me and stayed with me. Instead of flinching when I feel left out, I am reminded that I want others to be preferred to me in everything. When my son reaches for another adult, I remember that I want others to be loved more than me. Praise is given to another for something I have also done... Jesus deliver me from the desire of being praised.
I can humbly say that I am not good at humility. But I also believe that Jesus will deliver me and provide me with the grace that I need so that I can become as holy as I should. I had no idea what I was really praying for. However, as time as gone by, I'm beginning to just barely understand the humility and service Jesus calls us to. Try incorporating this litany into your life, maybe for the upcoming Advent season? You'll be surprised by how powerful such a simple prayer can be.
Give thanks to the Lord, who is good,
whose love endures forever;
1 Chronicles 16:34
Our fourth and final form of prayer is thanksgiving, which is one of the most natural forms of prayer we experience as people of faith. I strive to focus on personal prayers of thankfulness each day and offer space to those around me as well. Culturally, we lack a sense of gratitude in our everyday lives. There is such a focus on what else we need or want that we often neglect what we already have. Even practicing gratitude for our basic needs being met (food, water, shelter, clothing, community) when we feel like we do not have much to be thankful for can be enough to help slowly pull us out of the dark pit our consumerist culture creates.
Still stumped on what a prayer of thankfulness may look like? That's okay. Here's a few ways I try to offer up prayers of thanksgiving each week and encourage those around me to do the same!
You could practice Thankful Thursdays and write a short thank you note to God, a family member, friend, or underappreciated staff member at work. I have my students practice this each Thursday, which is also our Mass day. You'd be amazed by the lengthy letters young teens write to God when given the time, space, and spiritual environment.
Try saving one decade of your Rosary for thankfuls. Try to think one for each of the 10 Hail Mary beads. "For my husband, Hail Mary... " "For my job, Hail Mary..." "For this beautiful weather, Hail Mary..." You get the picture.
Try to think of three things you are grateful for each night before going to bed. Even if that is the only prayer you offer before hitting the hay, what a positive note to end on each night!
Boost your prayer time by offering a simple prayer of thanksgiving after each meal or your shared family meal. It can be as simple as "God, thank you for this food and community" or more elaborate like a memorized prayer that you say together.
What are you thankful for today? It can be as deep as grace, the Sacraments, or God's mercy and as simple as food, coffee, or a particular friend.
Curious about the three other forms of prayer? Check them out below!
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