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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Learning to Pray

 

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Introduction | Asking for Guidance | Praying Constantly | Feelings in Prayer | Distractions During Prayer | When You Don’t Receive Answers to Your Prayers | Vocal Prayer and Mental Prayer | Fundamental Prayer (The Sign of the Cross; Improvised Prayer; The Jesus Prayer; Prayer Before Eating) | Formal Prayers | Beyond the Basics (The Angelus; The Rosary; The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy; The 3 O’Clock Prayer) | The Liturgy of the Hours

 

OECAUSE we do not experience a normal sensory perception of God, to live a properly ordered and directed holy life it is necessary to maintain a constant mental contact with God through prayer.

Our time in prayer, therefore, is the only time, in this life, when we can live in holiness. How sad that so many of Christ’s own anointed treat Him so carelessly as to neglect simple, heartfelt prayer in which we speak intimately to God as we would speak to another trusted person.

If you constantly open your heart to God in spontaneous prayer, you will be immune to feelings of loneliness, of abandonment, of anxiety, of depression, and of all other problems with psychological causes. Yes, you will have to endure the heavy weight of living in the midst of the world’s apostasy and sacrilege—but even that is anguish, not depression. On the other hand, if you neglect this prayerful communication with God you will be afflicted with all the untreated wounds of your own psychological emptiness.

  

For some persons—especially those wounded by childhood abuse or neglect—the greatest obstacle to prayer is the irrational (that is, unconscious) belief that they are such despicable and evil persons that God has totally abandoned them and refuses to hear any pleas for help. Although this belief is refuted by the Bible itself (e.g., 1 Timothy 2:4), such a belief derives psychologically from a confusion of God with the “Other” (i.e., the social world around us). In truth, the social world, at its best, is completely indifferent to our welfare, and, at its worst, it “sees” us only as objects to be manipulated for its own satisfaction. In other words, it is not God’s rejection of you but sin itself—the rejection of God by the “Other”— that has abused you.

  

So the first step to prayer must be a turning back to your baptismal promises to renounce the world and Satan and to trust completely in God’s providence and justice; all genuine prayer, at its core, requires a sincere willingness to die through Christ to the world—the “Other” that seeks your spiritual destruction—in order to be resurrected into everlasting life.

  

Prayer should be a constant reminder of the presence of God and a continuing act of purification, not dry intellectual superstition and pride. Trying to pray without first detaching yourself from the world and living a chaste and holy lifestyle is like trying to drive a car with four flat tires. So, in order to make your prayer more than just superficial, follow the Spiritual Counsels explained on this website. 

  

Accordingly, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains (2626-2643), prayer has several different aspects: praise (recognition of God not so much because of what He does for us but simply because He is), thanksgiving (simple gratitude for Christ’s work of redemption and its personal effects on us), adoration (acknowledging our helplessness and humility in the presence of God’s glory), intercession (pleading for the welfare of others), and petition (pleading for our needs as an expression of our hope and desire in all things that “Thy Kingdom come”).

Read an instruction about prayer by
Saint John Mary Vianney

 
Asking for Guidance

The surest approach to learning to pray properly is to instill in your heart a deep sorrow for sin (both yours and that of others) while desiring to be freed from the illusions of your own identity. Then confirm this desire by fasting; that is, by making sacrifices of time, food, and other personal pleasures. And then sustain this desire by constantly speaking to God as you would to a trusted master, telling Him everything you are experiencing and asking Him for help and guidance in accomplishing every task before you.

You might want to use the following prayer to the Holy Spirit as a short formal prayer in regard to guidance; this is my own version, based on a traditional prayer. 

  

O HOLY SPIRIT,
take me as Your disciple.
Guide me; illuminate me; sanctify me.
Show me what is holy,
and I will pursue it.
Show me what is unholy,
and I will turn from it.
Direct me, and with Your grace
I will obey.
Lead me, then, into the fullness
of Your Truth and Wisdom.
Amen.

Available as a prayer card 

  
Praying Constantly

We should all learn to pray constantly—as our Lord Jesus Christ advised us (Luke 18:1). This involves vocal prayer, which is the recitation of the Church’s “standard” prayers, and it involves mental prayer, which has three dynamically intertwined components: a quiet, internal meditation (i.e., a deliberate thinking about divine things); contemplation (i.e., a surrendering to the experience of divine love); and spontaneous communication with God (i.e., constantly being aware of God’s presence, and asking for His help, in all that you experience in every moment.

Read a selection from a homily about praying constantly
by Saint John Chrysostom

Therefore, in praying constantly, we bring our minds into our hearts, such that our thoughts are constantly attuned to the presence of God, and our hearts are constantly inflamed with love for God and concern for the salvation of our neighbors. 

  

Are we then ceaselessly to bend our knees, to lie prostrate, or to lift up our hands? Is this what He meant in saying: Pray without ceasing? Even if we admit that we pray in this fashion, I do not believe that we can do so all the time.
     Yet there is another, interior kind of prayer without ceasing, namely, the desire of the heart. Whatever else you may be doing, if you but fix your desire on God’s Sabbath rest, your prayer will be ceaseless. Therefore, if you wish to pray without ceasing, do not cease to desire.
     The constancy of your desire will itself be the ceaseless voice of your prayer. And that voice of your prayer will be silent only when your love ceases. For who are silent? Those of whom it is said: Because evil has abounded, the love of many will grow cold.
     The chilling of love means that the heart is silent; while burning love is the outcry of the heart.

  

—From a discourse on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Office of Readings, Friday:
Third Week of Advent)

 
Feelings in Prayer: Natural and Spiritual

Some persons become discouraged because they don’t feel anything when they pray. Some persons even take this as an indication that they aren’t “worthy” enough for God to listen to their prayers. And some persons seek out charismatic groups in an effort to create their own ecstatic feelings.

Natural Feelings

Prayer, however, is not a psychological process, and genuine Catholic mystics have consistently told us that we aren’t supposed to feel anything in prayer; that is, we aren’t supposed to feel natural feelings such as feeling special or feeling good about ourselves. God works His graces silently in the soul—unseen, unfelt, and unheard by the natural bodily senses.

Spiritual Feelings

In contrast to natural feelings, which more often than not lead us into the deadly sins of pride and sensual pleasure, spiritual feelings such as compunction, loving gratitude and joy, and spiritual warmth and light do have a very profound place in prayer. These spiritual feelings emerge from the depths of one’s heart (or being) when prayer produces the fruit of God’s grace.

 
Distractions During Prayer

Our minds will always tend to wander when praying. So, when you encounter distracting thoughts during your meditations, you can do several things:

First, take a brief mental “time out” and do what you can to recognize the content of your “wanderings.”

Then look at the distractions psychologically and seek to explain to yourself why they are happening just at that moment and what they are telling you about the current difficulties and challenges you face in your life.

Finally, say to yourself, “It’s OK. I don’t have to repeat the prayer until I get it perfect. My intent is love; I don’t have to be perfect to love, and I don’t have to be perfect in not having intruding thoughts. So let’s return to the prayer.”

 
When You Don’t Receive Answers to Your Prayers

Although some persons mistakenly complain that God does not answer their prayers, God always answers our prayers. Yet the answer may not be what we would like or what we are expecting. In this regard, from my clinical work I have seen four characteristic mistakes that are commonly made.

1.

Not listening. In every moment God is telling you through inner inspiration how to do His will, but because you don’t like what He is saying—or because you’re afraid to hear it—you don’t listen.

2.

Not paying attention. God often answers prayers through external circumstances, rather than through inner inspiration. When you find yourself in an difficult situation, therefore, it can be an opportunity to gain a grace by acting as a true witness to your faith. But if you’re not paying attention, you will just complain about how miserably you are being treated and how you receive no consolation from your prayer.

3.

Pride. Some persons have a deep psychological need to feel “special,” and they will pray for things knowing that, if they were given what they want, it would either prove to the world how exceptional they are, or it would give themselves some special reassurance that God likes them. In either case, this is a request that serves the illusions of the “self,” not God’s will.

4.

Testing God. Some persons will pray for God to do something for them, such as “Make me stop smoking.” Such a request, however, is just a way to put God to the test in a no-win situation.
     On the one hand, if God really were to interfere with their free will and make them suddenly stop smoking, then they would never have to come to terms with the underlying anger toward their parents that makes them continue smoking in the first place. Thus, if God gave them what they wanted, He would be denying them what they really need: spiritual purification from their anger and from their lack of forgiveness.
     On the other hand, if God does not give them what they want, then they can blame God for “hating” them. This will allow them to believe that there is something “wrong” with themselves, thus allowing them to continue to believe that they themselves were at fault for their parents abusing them—and this self-blame allows them to hide from themselves their anger at their parents: “I’m at fault, not my parents, so I have no right to be angry with them.” Moreover, all the while they can hate God for “hating” them. After all, hating God is a way to get punished, right? It goes to show how someone will send himself to hell in order to protect his parents from their own faults and from his own unconscious hatred of them.

 
Vocal Prayer and Mental Prayer

Saint Teresa of Avila spoke constantly about the difference between vocal prayer and mental prayer. She also spoke very carefully about this difference. Because of the many abuses resulting from the illuminists—or alumbrados—of Teresa’s time, many theologians looked on mental prayer (or contemplative prayer) with suspicion, fearing that it would result in a contempt for vocal prayer (or liturgical prayer), along with a contempt for the Church tradition in general.

But, psychologically speaking, Saint Teresa got it right. All prayer, she said, begins with vocal prayer—such as the Our Father and the Hail Mary—and then, by meditating on the meaning of what is being said, even as it is being said, the soul will effectively be led to mental prayer. And not just that, but in the quiet moments between periods of vocal prayer—even while performing our daily work—the soul should be filled with contemplative mental prayer of pure, timeless love.

So, in regard to vocal prayer and mental prayer, it’s not a matter of either-or. When the soul struggles through darkness, it needs the beauty of mental prayer to cheer its heart and help it along. But it also needs the discipline of vocal prayer to keep it on the true path, lest it decide to chase off after fairy lights in the distance and be lost forever.

 


 
AS YOU become more proficient at prayer, you will begin to recognize Apparitions: Mystic Phenomena and What They Mean the voice of divine inspiration. You might even receive some personal revelations in the form of apparitions (visual perceptions), or locutions (auditory perceptions).

Mind you, I’m not speaking here of distractions or dreams. (For more information about various mystic phenomena, see Kevin Orlin Johnson’s book, Apparitions, on the Recommended Readings page.)

Therefore, you need a strong warning. Through my familiarity with Catholic psychology, I can guarantee that you will often perceive things in prayer that are nothing but your own unconscious thought process.

For the most part, these perceptions will be your own thoughts.

Sometimes, these perceptions will be your own thoughts informed by the natural wisdom of what you already know to be true and wise, or have unconsciously perceived from your environment.

Only rarely will these perceptions will be your own thoughts informed by the supernatural wisdom of what you have no other way of knowing.

If these perceptions cause distress, or if you begin to believe that these perceptions are a telepathic communication with another person—i.e., mental telepathy—then you are on a collision course with a psychotic delusional disorder.

Therefore, you have only one protection against insanity and spiritual destruction:

Seek always to be humble, not special, and reject anything that contradicts Scripture or Tradition or the Magisterium (teaching) of the Church.

 


 
Fundamental Prayer

Saint Augustine, in one of his letters (Letter 130 to Proba 8, 15.17–9, 18), raised the question, “Why do we pray if God already knows what we need?”—and then he answered it: we pray to stretch our desire for God.

That’s a good answer, and a deepening of it, I think, comes if you read about the apparitions at Fátima. “Pray, and make sacrifices,” Mary told the children, making it clear to them that many souls go to their spiritual destruction because they have no one to pray for them. Imagine that. Pray, she warned, not just for ourselves, not just to stretch our desire to see God, not just to inflame our love of God, but pray also for the souls of others who might be lost without our prayers and sufferings—our sacrifices—on their behalf. Thus it becomes clear that praying for others—those now alive as well as the poor souls in Purgatory—is a fundamental aspect of our desire for God.

  

This point is often difficult for some persons to comprehend because they do not realize that prayer has mystical effects on other souls, not just practical effects in the material world.

  

So heed Our Lady’s warning and begin to pray properly.

Some Necessary Catholic Prayers
available as a booklet

 
The Sign of the Cross

The Sign of the Cross is a prayer in itself which should begin and end any other prayer in private devotion. It also has a place in liturgical celebration. If you watch people in church, however, you will often see them making the Sign of the Cross so hastily that they seem to be brushing flies away from their faces. Make the sign deliberately and with reverence, because it’s not some sentimental sign of the Trinity, it’s the Sign of the Cross; that is, when you do make the Sign of the Cross, you make an implicit agreement to take up your own cross by accepting—without protest or resentment—all suffering for the sake of the conversion of sinners. Whether you keep that agreement, well, only God knows. But you will be accountable for it on the day of your judgment. That thought should give you pause.

 

 

English

Latin

______________________

_____________

 

IN the Name of the Father

(Forehead)

IN nómine Patris

and of the Son

(Mid-chest)

et Fílii

and of the Holy

(Left Shoulder)

et Spíritus

Spirit.

(Right Shoulder)

Sancti.

Amen.

 

Amen.

 

 
Improvised Prayer

The best way to begin anything is with honesty, so you might want to say something such as, “OK. Here I am, God. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared. Teach me. Guide me and protect me, and lead me to You.”

Remembering that Christ told us to pray constantly (Luke 18:1), so that the lovely garden of the Spirit He planted in you at baptism receives careful cultivation and does not go to weeds, do not be afraid to repeat your improvised prayers constantly.

Moreover, maintain a constant awareness of God’s presence by talking to God about everything you do, telling Him of your difficulties and frustrations, asking for His guidance, and doing everything for love of Him.

You might also want to add such supplications as the following.

Teach me how to love.

Purify my heart.

Give me faith, if only that of a mustard seed.

Let it be done to me according to Your word.

Lift me up into Your presence that I might perceive Your great glory.

Let Your grace and glory reflect through me into the lives of all those around me.

Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Protect me, Lord, from this evil and perverted world and from all those who would devour me.

 
The Jesus Prayer

With this short prayer you can learn how to begin a process of constant prayer.

  

LORD Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me.

During the course of a day, pray the Jesus Prayer in both of two ways.

Say the prayer for a specified time (a half hour or so) whenever you can, while doing nothing else.

Say the prayer repeatedly moment-by-moment during your daily activities, interspersed with other mental and vocal prayers. Say the prayer slowly and with intimacy; e.g., take about 10 seconds (along with a deep breath) for each recitation of the prayer.

In the beginning, you will notice that no sooner will you start to pray than your mind will wander and you will be off in your own thoughts. But once you realize that your mind has wandered from the prayer, stop thinking and return to the prayer. Don’t try to analyze what happened. Just immediately stop thinking and return to the prayer.
 

Much has been written about the Jesus Prayer, so for clarification here keep in mind that this prayer has two aspects, a psychological one and a spiritual one, which should be distinguished and understood.

1.

The Psychological Aspect. If you repeat in your mind any word or phrase, over and over, you can put a check on wandering thoughts. This in itself can bring you a sense of calmness and peace. The process is purely psychological, however, and does not depend on the meaning of the word or words you repeat. Such a psychological process is often called “centering prayer.”

The Jesus Prayer can be used in this way, purely as an aid to relaxation, by coordinating the prayer with your breathing. Say the first part (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,) while inhaling, and say the second part (have mercy upon me) while exhaling.
 

2.

The Spiritual Aspect. When said merely as an aid to relaxation, the Jesus Prayer remains in the mind, but when said as a true prayer it descends into the heart to engender a warm spiritual desire for divine love.

To enter this state of prayer, as you say the words turn your attention to your heart so as to allow a zealous love for God to fill it. Imagine yourself saying the words directly to Christ, as you would speak intimately to another person, and let your heart overflow with warmth. You will then find yourself engaged in four spiritual tasks: voicing the Holy Name of Jesus; acknowledging His divinity; crying for His assistance; and adoring His mercy.

 
Before Eating

Say a short prayer before eating or drinking anything, even water, so as to remind yourself about your total dependence on God:

  

BLESS us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts
which we are about to receive
from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.

And, as you learn to eat a more austere diet, add the following to the above to increase your gratitude to God:

Thank You for such humble and simple food;
may it fulfill all our physical needs,
for without even Your most lowly of gifts
we would perish.
 
Amen.

  

 
Formal Prayers

In addition to fundamental prayers, memorize some simple, formal prayers, including the Our Father and the Hail Mary. 

  

OUR FATHER

  

Be careful not to slur together the seven petitions of the Our Father (Matthew 6:9–13) like the “elemeno P” of the grammar school alphabet. Say this prayer slowly, carefully, and distinctly.
 

Read an excerpt from a letter by Saint Augustine
about the Lord’s Prayer

OUR Father, who art in Heaven,

(1)

hallowed be Thy Name,

(2)

Thy Kingdom come.

(3)

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

(4)

Give us this day our daily bread;

(5)

and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

(6)

and lead us not into temptation,

(7)

but deliver us from evil.

 

PATER NOSTER

PATER noster, qui es in cœlis,
sanctificétur nomen tuum.
Advéniat regnum tuum.
Fiat volúntas tua,
sicut in cœlo et in terra.
Panem nostrum quotidiánum
  da nobis hódie.
Et dimítte nobis débita nostra,
  sicut et nos dimíttimus
  debitóribus nostris.
Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem:
sed líbera nos a malo. Amen.

 

HAIL MARY

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.

 

AVE MARIA

AVE María, grátia plena!
Dóminus tecum.
Benedícta tu in muliéribus,
et benedíctus fructus
  ventris tui, Iesus!
Sancta María, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatóribus
nunc et in hora mortis nostræ.
Amen.

 

  

GLORY TO THE FATHER

GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

  

GLORIA PATRI

GLORIA Patri, et Fílio, et Spíritui Sancto.
R. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc et semper, et in saécula sæculórum. Amen.

 


 

The prayers that follow are traditional prayers (also see the Prayer Menu of this website), but I have altered some of the texts to make the language and ideas more psychologically clear and direct. Say these prayers as a unit, several times a day, for the underlying idea is to purge yourself of your own desires and to learn to listen to divine guidance. You learn to pray, after all, by praying. 

 

  

(Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi)

LORD, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, let me sow pardon;
Where there is doubt, let me sow faith;
Where there is despair, let me sow hope;
Where there is darkness, let me sow light;
Where there is sadness, let me sow joy.
 
O Divine Master, grant that I may seek
Not so much to be consoled as to console;
not so much to be understood as to understand;
not so much to be loved as to love;
not so much to be seen as to see You in all things.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born to everlasting life.
Amen. 

 


 
MEMORARE

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thy intercession
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly unto the,
O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother.
To thee I come;
before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
look kindly upon my petitions,
and in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Amen.
 

 


 

ANIMA CHRISTI

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.
Suffer 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
For ever and ever.
Amen.

  

ANIMA Christi, sanctífica me.
Corpus Christi, salva me.
Sanguis Christi, inébria me.
Aqua láteris Christi, lava me.
Pássio Christi, confórta me.
O bone Iesu, exáudi me.
Intra tua vúlnera abscónde me.
Ne permíttas me separári a te.
Ab hoste malígno defénde me.
In hora mortis meæ voca me.
Et iube me veníre ad te,
Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te
In saécula sæculórum.
Amen.

 

And here’s one prayer of my own.

  

LET me taste the sweetness of Your splendor
In a world of bitter strife;
Let me hear the quiet song of Heaven
In a world of clamor and din;
Let me smell the odor of sanctity
In a world of foul decay;
Let me see the glory of Your visage
In a world of empty show;
Let me feel the ardor of Your presence
In a world grown cold with sin.
Amen.

  

GUSTEM dulcédinem splendóris tui
In mundo contentiónis amáræ;
Audiam susúrrum carmínis cæléstis
In mundo clamóris strepitúsque;
Olfáciam odórem sanctitátis
In mundo tabis foedæ;
Vídeam glóriam vultus tui
In mundo formæ vanæ;
Séntiam ardórem præséntiæ tuæ
In mundo peccáto frigescénte.
Amen.

  

      — Latin translation by Stefanie Bewell

   
THE ANGELUS

In the Angelus, we are reminded how Mary became a model for us in totally surrendering her will to God’s will. With her simple and humble Fiat (Latin for “let it be done”), she offered herself to God in unquestioning obedience.

So, pray the Angelus (or the Regina Caeli during the Paschal Season—that is, from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday)—every day at noon, if not also at the traditional times of 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Set the alarm on your watch for 11:59 AM to remind you to stop whatever you are doing. It may seem like a nuisance to stop work to pray, so just remember that if it weren’t for God, you wouldn’t have any work in the first place.

Step-by-step instructions for praying
The Angelus (and Regina Caeli)

 
 
THE ROSARY

Pray the Rosary—at least five decades (that is, one group of Mysteries)—each day, if possible. The Blessed Virgin herself told the children at Fátima to pray the Rosary every day for peace in the world and for the conversion of sinners. How can we, then, in our troubled times, fail to pray as ardently today?

An ideal time for this prayer is in the evening after dinner, just when most persons waste their time watching TV. If you have children, pray the rosary with them; a young child can sit in your lap for bonding time, and older children can pray along with you.

Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations, and the Telling of the BeadsThe Rosary requires meditation on some central Christian mysteries, so you will first have to learn the nature of these mysteries. I recommend the following book:

Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations, and the Telling of the Beads (Dallas: Pangæus Press, 1996) by Kevin Orlin Johnson.

 

 

Step-by-step instructions for praying
The Rosary

 
 
THE CHAPLET OF THE DIVINE MERCY

The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy was given to Saint Faustina (see her Diary) as a pledge that any soul that sees and realizes the gravity of its sins, and finds itself therefore immersed in misery, should not despair, but should, with child-like trust, throw itself into the arms of Christ’s mercy. And it offers grace and hope to even the most hardened of sinners (cf. Diary, 1541).

Petitioners who pray the Chaplet request mercy on the whole world and, in the process, perform a work of mercy themselves.

Saint Faustina was also told that if the Chaplet were said by the bedside of a dying person, “unfathomable mercy envelops the soul” and “the very depths” of God’s “tender mercy are moved” for the sake of Christ’s sorrowful Passion (Diary, 811; 1541).

The Chaplet is such a concise and compact prayer that you should learn to recite it as often as you can, in all moments of “spare” time: while you’re driving (or stuck in traffic), riding the bus, walking from one place to another, and so on. And, if you get a small Rosary ring, you can pray just one decade of the Chaplet throughout the day, as a way to take mini breaks from work (forget the cigarettes and coffee).

 

Step-by-step instructions for praying
The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy

 
 
3 O’CLOCK PRAYER

Jesus told Saint Faustina, “I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. . . . try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour” (Diary, 1572).

 

Step-by-step instructions for praying
The 3’O Clock Prayer

 
THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS

The Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office) is an ancient form of prayer that combines psalms, readings, and other prayers and intercessions. It can be obligatory according to the rule of many religious orders, but it is just as well an important voluntary form of prayer for the laity.

The modern version of the Liturgy of the Hours is found in either a one-volume edition or a four-volume edition and consists of the Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Daily Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer.

The one-volume edition, called Christian Prayer, has

an abbreviated Office of Readings;

an abbreviated Daily Prayer.

Every layperson who desires a rich prayer life should, at a minimum, keep the Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer.

Learning to use the Liturgy of the Hours can be a daunting task because the daily texts change according to various holy days and seasons.

Just follow very carefully the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours (found in Volume 1 of the four-volume set) and the instructions in the section called the Ordinary (found in each volume).

Use the Saint Joseph Guide for the Liturgy of the Hours (a small booklet that serves the entire year, available in any good Catholic bookstore, or directly from the publisher) as a valuable help for locating the correct sections to use each day.

 

Step-by-step instructions for praying
The Liturgy of the Hours

 

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and spiritual battle
against
evil

 
Collected texts about the spiritual depth of clinical psychology

 
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CATHOLIC PSYCHOLOGY

in association with
A Guide to Psychology and its Practice
 

 
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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.