Rosamundi has been talking about her three favourite prayers. Apparently this is some kind of Caholic internet memey thing. Ever one to follow trends, unless they involve clothing or Boris Johnson, here are my three favourite prayers:
(1.) The Mass
This might seem either lazy, or pious in a sickly way, or just straight out of Father Ted. But I’ll risk all of those. Strictly speaking, the only Christian prayer is the prayer Christ makes to the Father, expressing that love which we call the Holy Spirit. We participate in that prayer by grace, even as we do not understand it, because we do not understand God. Prayer is emphatically not a matey chat to my best friend, as Christianity lite has it.. As far as this life goes I am, as Thomas puts it, united to God as to one unknown. The danger is not only one of minimising God and denying our creatureliness; there is also the worry that if I think I am in a personal relationship with God qua friend, I might think that I have comprehended her. And then I might be all too confident he is telling me to do daft things (example: invade Iraq). Better to let God be God, and to let ourselves be transformed by God in God’s humanity. The Mass is where the sacrificial prayer of Christ, the human being who is God, is made sacramentally present. It is the Church’s prayer above all else – all other prayers lead to it, and flow from it.
(2.) The Divine Office.
Reasons as follows. The corporateness of it all. The richness of scripture. The fact that it can be more or less meditative depending on one’s sate of alertness. And my ability to recite it with a cup of coffee in one hand.
(3.) The Angelus
A tricky one. Like Rosamundi, I’m going to cheat by explaining my deliberation. I nearly went for the rosary, for many of the same reasons as the office, plus a lurking fear that I would be a Bad Dominican if I didn’t mention the beads at some point. However, I’ve gone for the Angelus. It is a simple prayer, profoundly incarnational, and the collect at the end sums up the whole gospel of redemption: incarnation, cross, and resurrection:
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to your word.
Hail Mary . . .
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary . . .
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, your grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, your Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.
There is a very interesting piece in today’s Observer by Padraig Reidy, I’m an atheist but this anti-Catholic rhetoric is making me nervous
Last night I went to a vigil and meeting in support of the campaign for justice for Sean Rigg. Sean was a young black man who died in police custody in Brixton two years ago. The dignity and resolve to discover the truth on the part of his family are both moving and inspiring. I’d encourage you to support the campaign in any way you can.