Tag Archives: prayer
30 Apr

I serve a God who works in mysterious ways…

Sunday night I sat on my couch with a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies and I prayed:

God, I’m done. I’m done with all of this. I don’t want to be here right now. Please get me out of here somehow. Please, please, please…

Then Monday I got a phone call from my S…

I’ll be back for a week. I already bought your plane ticket to come meet me when I get in. You leave Wednesday night so go pack your stuff!

I’m not sure what happened or how it did…but I’m going on a much needed vacation!

Structured Prayer

16 Apr

Prayer was such a hard thing for me as a Protestant. I wanted to pray…but the churches I attended believed that a good prayer was very long and that if you didn’t make it up yourself it wasn’t genuine. Those were the only guidelines, created so that supposedly anyone would be able to pray according to them – yet they were so hard to follow.

I’d lay awake at night wanting to talk with God, but for some reason it was hard for me to make my prayers last longer than a minute or two. Surely that wasn’t an appropriate amount of time. And then I’d realize that I had borrowed some of the words and phrases I used. Well…I guess that prayer wasn’t genuine.

For years I tried and failed to create ten to fifteen minute prayers that I truly meant.

Do you know how hard that is? I always wonder if my pastors and teachers realized the chain they added to my life with their teachings on prayer.

Eventually I could manage to make my prayers long and meaningful enough – after all, I am pretty decent at throwing words around. Everyone would always ask me to pray before meals or at events or at church because my prayers were very beautiful and everyone thought they sounded very heart-felt.

I didn’t really pray that much on my own though – it was too exhausting to come up with all those words for just myself. Why not save them to share with others? Sometimes I would throw up a quick “Help me, Jesus,” but those only happened when I was desperate enough to not worry about the guilt associated with not devoting enough time to prayer.

But more often than not I would think, ” I don’t have the words (or time) to pray.”

And then a few years ago I picked up a Book of Common Prayer in a used bookshop. As I flipped through it I encountered prayers that weren’t nearly as long or original as I’d thought prayer had to be. I took that book home and I prayed through it.

The funny thing is that as I built my prayers around a structure they became longer and I even started to actually mean them the way I had wanted. But at that point length and meaningfulness weren’t my priorities anymore. My goal was simply to communicate with my God.

Yesterday as I watched the news about the awful things going on in Boston. I found myself wanting to do something – to fix the situation. A few years ago I would have just sat and watched the news all night. But instead I pulled out my rosary, walked outside into the beautiful sunshine, sat on the grass, and prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the people of Boston.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on those injured in Boston today.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on all emergency workers.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on our government leaders.

7 Apr

My parents’ words are poisonous…

“Don’t you dare tell your grandmother. Don’t tell anyone even.”

“You might as well have become a Mormon. In fact, I wish you had.”

“This is just a phase. I’ve signed you up for a conference that’s going to fix you and get you through this faster.”

“You’d better not be thinking about becoming a nun.”

“You’re wrong, and you don’t know what you’ve done.”


I’m just not responding to them…so far if I’ve said something they’ve twisted it. It’s hard to twist silence. It’s hard to turn unsaid words into something ugly and poisonous.

I’m trying really hard to keep in mind that they haven’t even known for a week yet. There’s plenty of time for them to calm down.

S, on the other hand, is still furious. I’m trying really hard to keep him informed without telling him too much. I don’t want to make it hard for him to be a good son-in-law to them…but even based on the overview I’ve given him of my parents’ behavior this past week, he’s started to say that he doesn’t want them involved in our children’s spiritual lives at all. He also wants us to start saving so that we can pay for our own wedding.

I agree with him…is that wrong? Will that just cause further un-doable damage and hurt?

Father, Spirit, Jesus, help me. Save me. Love me. Guide me. Give me grace for my own sins so that I can extend grace to others for their sins against me. Give me words of comfort and wisdom for myself so that I can give those words to others. Help me to know when to be silent and when to speak. When I am to be silent, help me keep my mouth shut. When I am to speak, give me words. 

Well…the Catholic cat is out of the proverbial bag…

3 Apr

I sent my parents an e-mail this morning that said this.

I literally could not sleep last night because I couldn’t stop thinking about how I needed to tell them. I feel a lot better now because it’s not a secret anymore…

We’ll see how they react.

In the meantime I’m asking for all the prayers I can get. I even stood in the shower and timidly asked St. Elizabeth Ann Seton for her intercession.

I’m an adult and I’m obeying the Lord. There’s no reason I should be this worried…

All you holy men and women pray for me and pray for my family.

Pray for me, dear readers.

“Ellie, you’re too good at being a Christian to be Catholic.”

2 Apr

I didn’t really mean for my co-workers to even find out I became Catholic. I mean, I wasn’t going to hide it from them, but I honestly thought they wouldn’t even care. So (as with nearly everyone else), I’ve freely talked about the Church when it’s come up, but I haven’t intentionally pushed it into everyone’s faces. Even as a Protestant I preferred to share my beliefs in actions and allow the Holy Spirit to make ways for conversations.

So last night at work I was making calls to raise money for a scholarship here at my school. It was a pretty typical night…lots of hang-ups, swear words, and just generally grumpy people. And then one man answered the phone with a courteous “Hello.” [As a side note: I get paid to be nice to people on the phone, so I really appreciate it when they’re nice back. Even just a “Hello” instead of “What do you want?” can perk up my night.]

I  asked him how his night was going, and then he shared a story with me that broke my heart – a story of loneliness and pain that just made me hurt inside for him. One of the nice things about working at a Christian university is that they encourage us to listen to these stories, and then if the person we’ve called is willing, we get to pray with them. I love this part of my job, because it honestly feels like the most worthwhile thing I do.

After I hung up the call, I sat and dried my eyes and was quiet for a few seconds as I got ready to make my next call. I looked over at the girl sitting next to me. She was shaking her head.

“You’re so good at this. I don’t understand why you would want to give it up. Seriously, Ellie, you’re too good at being a Christian to be Catholic.”

Meanwhile I was thinking, “Uhh Holy Spirit, I guess I wasn’t done with you yet…words please?”

To which He responded: “Just smile at her and then turn around and make your next call.”

1 Apr

Easter Vigil was absolutely wonderful – such an indescribable and great night. Even thinking back on it now…it makes me just want to smile and sing.

I’m so grateful for my sponsor and her family. They have showered me with love, prayers, kind words, books, and gifts throughout this whole process. The night of the vigil they all sat with me and then Easter day they invited me to have lunch and spend the day with them.

One of the books I got as a confirmation gift is The Illustrated Lives of the Saints. Since it separates the saints based on the days they’re celebrated, I’ve decided to just read through it day by day, starting yesterday. I’m excited to get to know the saints and also to have a new saint to ask to pray for me each day. For some reason this book is helping me to let go of some of the stigmas I’ve been holding against the saints…

I also got a Catholic Book of Prayers. I’m super excited for this one, because I was relying on the pamphlets I’d picked up here and there and on a Book of Common Prayer that I picked up at a used bookshop a few years ago. While all of those things were great, I needed something a little more portable and a little more Catholic. I’ve looked through the prayers, and my sponsor put little sticky notes in it to mark the ones she thought would be important for me, but I’m hoping to figure out a way to pray through the whole book. Maybe I’ll just say a few new prayers every day and then start over when I reach the end.

I’ve had a Catholic Bible for quite some time now, and I’ve looked through some of the “new” books, but I have yet to actually sit down and read through them. I can’t decide if I want to just read the whole Bible and therefore have a better appreciation of context, or if I just want to start reading the “new” stuff. I’ll probably end up with a mixture of both.

I also received quite a few prayer cards. I LOVE these! Yet another thing I wish I had had when I was growing up. Today I had a test that I was kind of nervous about and right before it I took out the card with St. Thomas Aquinas‘s picture and prayer on it and was able to pray it right there. I’ve sometimes made up prayers for tests before, but this one was nice because I didn’t find myself stumbling for words – it was a nice quick prayer that said exactly what I wanted to say.

Catholic Prayers and Devotions

29 Mar

There are so, so many prayers and devotions out there for Catholics! I’m really trying to take my devotions one step at a time, and the rosary has been on my heart these past few weeks, but I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to partake in other prayers and devotions. Here are some of the ones I’ve found that I’m excited for:

  • The Divine Mercy Chaplet (I really like this one and I’m super excited to pray it! A. Because it’s amazing. B. Because it might be one to share with Protestant friends and family.)

Using rosary beads:

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.

2. On the Our Father Beads say: 
”Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

4. Conclude with (three times): “
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

  • Stations of the Cross (I have gone through these a bit, but I haven’t really sat down and prayed/meditated through them yet – excited to get to the stations though!)

1. Jesus is condemned.
2. Jesus takes up his cross.
3. Jesus falls.
4. Jesus meets his mother.
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus.
6. Veronica wipes Jesus’ face.
7. Jesus falls again.
8. Jesus meets the weeping women.
9. Jesus falls a third time.
10. Jesus is stripped.
11. Jesus is crucified.
12. Jesus dies.
13. Jesus is taken down from the cross.
14. Jesus is buried.

  • Holy Spirit Novena (I just found this one, and I love it! I’m going to start praying it on Sunday, the day after I’ll officially be Catholic! I think it’ll be a good prayer to begin that time in my life. So excited!)

Pray theses prayers every day:

Act of the Consecration to the Holy Spirit – “On my knees, before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to you, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of your purity, the unerring keenness of your justice, and the might of your love. You are the strength and light of my soul. In you I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve you by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against you. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for your light, and listen to your voice, and follow your gracious inspirations. I cling to you and give myself to you and ask you, by your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced feet of Jesus and looking at his five wounds, and trusting in his precious blood and adoring his opened side and stricken heart, I implore you, adorable Spirit, helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in your grace that I may never sin against you. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to you always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening” Amen.”

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit – “O Lord Jesus Christ who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish your work in the souls of your apostles and disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that he may perfect in my soul, the work of your grace and your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with you and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of your true disciples, and animate me in all things with your Spirit. Amen.”

Then pray these different prayers based on what day it is:

First Day

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light!
From Your clear celestial height,
Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important – eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared – sin. Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helps our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asks for us.”


Almighty and eternal God, who has permitted to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and has given us forgiveness of all sins, permit to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once. Glory be to the Father seven times.

Second Day

Come, Father of the poor.
Come, treasures which endure;
Come, Light of all that live!

The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in his sight will sanctify their souls.”


Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend you, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God without end. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once. Glory be to the Father seven times.

Third Day

You, of all consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Do refreshing peace bestow.

The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for his sake persons and things consecrated to him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, his Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in his service, and for his sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once. Glory be to the Father seven times.

Fourth Day

You in toil are comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
solace in the midst of woe.

The Gift of Fortitude

By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitation the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that perseveres to the end, shall be saved.”


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from You, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once. Glory be to the Father seven times.

Fifth Day

Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

The Gift of Knowledge

The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth – in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesses it.”


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Your glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to you, and your eternal rewards. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once. Glory be to the Father seven times.

Sixth Day

If You take your grace away,
nothing pure in man will stay,
All his good is turned to ill.

The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. By faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God, pleasing Him in all things, and increasing in His knowledge.”


Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in your Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of you and the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once. Glory be to the Father seven times.

Seventh Day

Heal our wounds – renew our strength;
On our dryness pour your dew,
Wash the stains of guilt away.

The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct your way in truth.”


Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do your holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of your commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.

Our Father and Hail Mary once. Glory be to the Father seven times.

Eighth Day

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
melt the frozen, warm the chill.
Guide the steps that go astray!

The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish divine things, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, while the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up your cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.


Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once. Glory be to the Father seven times.

Ninth Day

On those who evermore confess you and adore you,
in your sevenfold gifts, descend;
Give them comfort when they die; Give them joys which never end. Amen

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as fruits of the Holy Spirit. These fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.


Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with your heavenly fruits, your charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never grow weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to your inspiration may merit to be united eternally with you in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once. Glory be to the Father seven times.

  • Prayers related to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (my confirmation Saint)

Prayer of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

O Father, the first rule of our dear Savior’s life was to do Your Will. Let His Will of the present moment be the first rule of our daily life and work, with no other desire but for its most full and complete accomplishment. Help us to follow it faithfully, so that doing what You wish we will be pleasing to You. Amen.

Prayer by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Lord Jesus, Who was born for us in a stable, lived for us a life of pain and sorrow, and died for us upon a cross; say for us in the hour of death, Father, forgive, and to Your Mother, Behold your child. Say to us, This day you shall be with Me in paradise. Dear Savior, leave us not, forsake us not. We thirst for You, Fountain of Living Water. Our days pass quickly along, soon all will be consummated for us. To Your hands we commend our spirits, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer in Honor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Lord God, you blessed Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people. Through her example and prayers may we learn to express our love for you in love for others. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Do you have any favorite devotions or prayers?