Monday, February 25, 2008

Praying with the Saints

(Saints by Fra Angelico)

One spiritual practice I've been using for some years now, I have found fruitful. I have more recently shared it with my family and we now put it into practice in our nightly rosary (no we don't pray the rosary every night, but more often than not) This is very simple and goes like this:

With each decade of the rosary/chaplet/etc. pronounce your intention and ask a saint or, in the case of my children MULTIPLE saints to implore the Lord before His throne for said intention. In practice it goes like this:

My husband leads the rosary, at the start of each decade he calls a child's name, the response goes like this: "The ah...the angel comes to Mary, uh, the Ammonciation...." , "You mean the Annunciation?", "Yeah...the we'll pray for grandma and grandpa for their health, for Charley (the dog) so he'll have a long life, and for our family and that I can get better grades. We'll pray with Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John... and let me see, St. Nicholas and St. Benedict too....Our Father..."

That would be our youngest, he's 11. Believe me, the teenagers are no different, just less enthusiastic. We talk about the certainty that with the name of each saint called on, they do indeed enter the room, kneel down with us before our home altar and pray with us, and for us.

In my own private prayer life it works a bit different. I have five primary patrons who I've "assigned" as it were to each decade of the rosary so I no longer call on them specifically but as I pray I imagine them right beside me, witnessing the mysteries with me. They of course are saints of God, much greater than me - I am no one. Sometimes when I am feeling particularly wretched I spiritually place my head in their hands, cower on the ground at their feet, or kiss their feet and beg like the most needy person alive for their help. I find they will often lead me in the meditation on the mysteries, walk with me from the scourging to the crowning of thorns, etc. This practice has richly deepened over the years to the point that I can no longer image prayer in any other manner. For instance, St. Charles Borromeo is my patron of the third decade. I am now accostomed to kneel beside him as our Lord is beaten by the soldiers and crowned with thorns. We praise His Holy Name as Jesus is spit upon, His beard plucked... sometimes at the end of this decade I imagine myself to kiss St. Charles' pectoral cross as he hands me off to St. Raphael for the carrying of the Cross. I ask my Angel Guardian to accompany me always as well.
This way, we are never, never alone in our prayers, but have a veritable arsenal at our disposal with which to beseech God for the graces needed. And God does surely know how badly I'm in need of His graces!


Anonymous said...

good idea..

swissmiss said...

Beautiful. I always ask my Guardian angel to be with me, but will now have to include some saints. Wonderful idea and practice.