Prayer Book I: I Meet the Catholics

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Editor’s Note: Today we’re excited to welcome Michelle Jones to our CatholicMom.com family of contributors. Michelle hails from Ontario, where she and her husband are raising four kids. Be sure to check out her blog, too, for more about her life and her writing. -SR

When I was ten, I got a Sunday School teacher with a Catholic husband. This was the closest I had ever been to a Catholic. I remember she shook her head and sighed more than once at my many questions.

One day she arrived with a Catholic prayer book. “Here,” she said, attempting once again to return to the lesson, “I was given this at my wedding.”

The St. John’s Daily Prayer book was covered in delicate white lace, printed in 1962, and in pristine condition from twenty years of no use. I took it home with eagerness but soon set it aside.

A few years later our always fragile family was imploding. Both parents were deeply unhappy and searching, sometimes in fairly destructive ways. The tension, anger, and fear in the house was palpable. Everyone was desperate to escape.

I had no idea what to hold on to; one day I thought to read the prayer book. There, I stumbled into a new world of treasure. I loved Jesus, that part wasn’t new, but the book seemed a gift made out especially to me in my time of need. The prayers were food and water for a hungry, weary soul. Sometimes, I enjoyed finding new prayers, but I also found two to hold on to. The first, was the Prayer of Pope Clement XI.  It offered me the clear guidance of a loving father, guidance I so dearly desired.

I believe, O Lord: may I believe more firmly. I hope, O Lord: may I hope more securely. I love, O Lord: may I love more ardently.  . . .I offer Thee, my God . . .

There is so much to this prayer. I like the 1962 version I started with, but there is a nice one here also: http://www.dow.org.au/connect/meaning-and-spirituality/prayer-for-today/item/universal-prayer-pope-clement-xi-2

If the first was advice, the second prayer was the rope itself to which I could cling. It was a flotation device in the stormy dark of my soul’s pounding waves and rain. Into my night, a voice of love said walk. The chaos is not me. I am everything forever and always. I will redeem you. Someday all of this, every bit, you will count it all joy.

And so I prayed:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come to Thee.
That with Thy Saints, I may praise Thee
Forever and ever. Amen.

I had no idea the prayer was well known, or who the St. Ignatius was that wrote it. I prayed it as my own, held on to it and waited. It held me too, as it pushed me into the arms of Jesus.

Copyright 2014, Michelle D. Jones

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8 Comments

  1. Michelle, thank you so much for this lovely post and for becoming a part of our family. It’s funny how something so small as the gift of a book can truly change someone’s life. Thank you for sharing your writing – I look forward to getting to know you!

  2. Talk about “planting the seed”! It’s a good thing God is more patient with us than we are of ourselves. I’m h)appy to call you sister at many levels!

  3. What a wonderful introduction to Catholics and Catholicism, Michelle! God was so good, to provide you just the resource you needed, and when you needed it the most. Thanks for the reminder that even the smallest act we do in His name will bear great fruit. <3

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