Come Holy Spirit - Help Us To Pray
Chapter Eight: Praise
So if someone is praying about financial needs it could be good to start by thanking God for His provision in the past and to thank Him for the material things one already has. If praying for health one can thank God for the health one has, for being able to hear, see and walk if one can do these things. If one is praying for peace and justice in connection with Ireland or Yugoslavia one can begin by thanking God for the progress made in the peace talks and thank Him for all the good people who are truly working for peace.
It is helpful to remind ourselves that when Jesus taught us to pray He started with praise, "Hallowed by Thy name". Before we ask that His perfect will
be done in us, that He will provide for our needs, that He will forgive us, that He will protect us, we praise
His holy name. How often do I in fact praise and thank before asking for things? In 1
Peter 2:9 we read: "But you are a chosen
race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God".
That is also something for now, not just for Heaven. Ask yourself how much praising you have done in the last two
days, the last week. Are you in truth someone who in reality is living up to your vocation to "sing the praises of God"? Note that this vocation to praise
is not just something for contemplative nuns and monks but for all Christians,
The psalms also remind us of our vocation to praise. For example, psalm 145 starts: "I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever. Every day I will bless
you, and praise your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable' The prefaces of the Mass also take up the themes of praise and
thanksgiving For example, take the preface of the second Eucharistic Prayer: "Father
it is our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ
However, it is not always easy to praise and thank sod, indeed it is sometimes totally impossible to do so without a special grace from God. If a person is extremely depressed, if someone's husband has just dropped down dead unexpectedly leaving the wife and four children, if one has just been blinded in a car crash, if all one's material security has suddenly vanished in old age through the dishonesty of someone else, if unexpectedly you discover that your daughter is a serious heroin addict - the list could easily be continued -probably the last thing you would feel like doing is praising and thanking God. Indeed, you might well be feeling very angry with God for having allowed these things to happen. Why me, why us?
Praising and thanking God, however, are not basically a matter of the feelings but of the will. By the grace of God we can often simply decide to praise and thank Him and then do so whatever our feelings. As has often been said, we sometimes have to praise God through gritted teeth. However, we must be careful not to urge people to praise God when it is not the right moment for them. If I were badly hurt in a car crash perhaps the only prayer I could manage would be "Jesus help me" - indeed I might well not manage a prayer at all. We need to remember that Jesus was not carried along on a cloud of praise in Gethsemanie, and that we may well have our Gethsemanie moments when the most that God may be asking of us will be to say "not my will but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).
Yet it remains true that we often need to praise and thank God when we are not feeling like it,
and that we should seek to develop the practice, with God's grace, of praising and thanking Him in the difficult
times. It may help us to see the importance of this if we remember that praise and thanksgiving are an important
part of loving
To give an example, a few years ago I was attending an international conference on praying for healing in San Giovanni Rotondo, where Blessed Padre Pio lived. The afternoon before we had to leave for England, I could not find my return air ticket The situation was complicated by the fact that I had to transfer quickly from one hotel to another two days earlier. I looked very thoroughly for the ticket in my baggage, but in vain. So I handed the problem over to Jesus and spent the next two lectures praising Him instead of listening. Then I looked again for the ticket and found it in my dirty linen! The two hours when the ticket was lost was the time when I did the most intense praising during my whole stay there.
This story underlines another point. Praise often seems to release the power of Jesus, of God, into a situation in a new way. Quite often when there is authentic praise, especially powerful praise, remarkable things happen. Merlin Carothers in his books Prison to and Power in Praise gives examples of very wonderful healings and other remarkable things happening when people really gave themselves to praise. However, it is important to add that praise must not be attempt to bend God's arm to do things He does not to do, such as healing a particular person's cancer, when God wants to take that person to heaven. We must praise whether someone is healed or not, whether someone passes an exam or not, whether she says yes to a proposal of marriage or not. Our praise must be based on an acceptance of God's perfect will in every circumstance, trusting God that He knows what is best in every situation and trusting that He will always bring good out of evil if we let Him. As we read in Isaiah 55:8, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts".
Moreover, as far as we can we should praise and thank Jesus, God, for the situation in which we find ourselves, including its difficulties and even its horrors. Our present situation is where God has put or allowed us to be, and our present situation is His opportunity for doing in one way or another something beautiful in our lives. So if I were in prison for peddling drugs, I could thank God for that situation. I would not thank Him that I had sinned by peddling drugs - I should repent of that - but I could thank Him that God will bring good out of that evil if I let him. Indeed to take an actual case, Sr Breige McKenna tells of how a drug addict in Singapore who was converted through her ministry was used to convert a whole group of addicts in prison before they were all executed.
In my own life as a priest-monk I went through a very difficult period of depression, which at the time prevented me from getting on with my ministry and which seemed nothing but a disaster out of which no good could come. But my healing ministry of prayer, such as it is, was born in that difficult time of darkness. So now I can thank God for that suffering period and the good He has brought out of it. I am not saying that God sent me that depression, I would think rather that the devil was involved with it. But God upheld me in it and brought good out of it.
St Paul wrote: "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God" (Romans 8:28). We need to pray for the grace to believe this, especially in the difficult times. As we believe this we shall find it easier to give ourselves to praising and thanking God in difficult situations.
When I lose or mislay something I start by looking for it, then I ask Jesus to help me to find it, then I begin to praise Jesus. So often it is only when I praise Him that I find the lost object Once, however I lost the crown of a tooth which I had carefully put aside, and I could not find it despite all the looking and praising. Later the dentist told me that the roots of the tooth were in fact no longer strong enough to support the crown, and that it was in fact fortunate that I had lost the crown Then I thanked God for not answering my prayer to find the lost crown!
I am aware of course that things like finding the lost crown of a tooth, or one's glasses are
relatively very small matters in a world in which so many people are having to face great problems and sufferings.
However, if we learn to praise and thank God in the face of smaller problems that will prepare us for doing so
when great trials come along. If we experience the loving care of God in small things, that will increase our faith
for facing the big trials. And when we praise and thank God in the face of big difficulties and trials we shall
in fact often, but not always, experience that the objective situation has improved.
Remember all the obvious blessings in your life like a happy marriage, and thank God for them. Thank God for the gifts and talents He has given you. (There are so many blessings we simply take for granted like being able to see or hear, until they are threatened or lost). I find myself increasingly thanking God for my beloved parents and for other departed members of my family. How much I have received through them! We should thank God for all the natural blessings He has given us, but we should do so even more for the spiritual blessings. Thank God that He created us out of love, thank Jesus for having suffered and died for our salvation, thank the Holy Spirit for dwelling within us and for His gifts. Give thanks for the sacraments of the Church, for the Bible, for the support of the prayers of others, for our spiritual mother Mary, for the saints, and angels. And thank Jesus for a share in His sufferings, which is more difficult. St Paul wrote: "I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church". (Colossians 1:24).
Each one of us will find that different things particularly inspire us to thanks and praise. I personally find that the beauty of nature and flowers frequently helps me to praise and thank God the Father who created them.
I am writing this chapter on praise while spending a week with my sister and her husband, who
have a lovely garden in beautiful country near the Lake District. For
In the Catholic Church adoration is frequently linked with the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament.
Devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, having diminished somewhat after the Second Vatican Council, is now
on the increase again, and I think this is bearing much spiritual fruit. Just kneeling or sitting before the tabernacle
or the Blessed Sacrament exposed is obviously helping many people, as we find in movements like Youth 2000, Cor
Lumen Christi, and the groups connected with Charles de Foucauld. Many people visit the chapel of the Benedictine
nuns at Tyburn in London where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed day and night. Just being there in silence in front
of the Blessed Sacrament can open people up to a more contemplative dimension of prayer, where stillness and silence
largely replaces words.
In this chapter I have written of things which may, I hope, help some readers to praise and thank God better. However, all the suggestions in the world will make no difference unless Jesus Himself touches our minds and hearts. We cannot force ourselves to praise and thank authentically. It is all a matter of His grace and mercy. We can however, ask for the grace to praise and thank, for the grace to do these things more truly, more fully. Let us ask for the grace to do that until the 'day' comes when through His mercy our faltering praise will be perfected in the heavenly choir above.
Chapter Nine: Contemplation
There is a difference between the reflective meditation on Jesus, on God, and the contemplative awareness of the presence of Jesus, of God. Reflective meditation has an important part to play in the life of prayer. We need to meditate on the Bible and on the life of Jesus in the New Testament. In our life in this world we shall never get beyond the need to meditate on the life of Jesus and the Bible. However, in reflective meditation we are intellectually thinking about Jesus, whereas in contemplation we are in some way experiencing the presence of Jesus. We are called not only to know about Jesus, but in some way to know Jesus. The 'head' nowledge of Jesus, of God, is important, but we are called to go beyond that and to have a 'heart' :nowledge. We are called to know through love, indeed if there is no love there will be no truly living knowledge of Jesus, of God.
Needless to say, Christians should not make contemplative experience or special contemplative
graces their aim in the Christian life. That could lead to all sorts of self seeking, spiritual pride, and illusions.
Our fundamental aim must surely be to grow in the first two commandments of loving God and our neighbour. It is
as we grow in love that we shall open ourselves to authentic spiritual experience. St Teresa of Avila valued true
ecstasy because it can lead to a great increase in love. That surely is a key test for all mystical experiences.
Are they in fact making the recipient a more loving person? Contemplative experience may not always take the form
of experiencing light, as we read in the lives of some of the saints who experienced great darkness. There is a
long tradition of having to pass through periods of aridity, the desert, and dark nights in the spiritual life,
and these times can be important periods of purification, growth, and testing. Are we seeking the consolations
of God rather than God Himself? However, I must admit to sometimes being rather worried at what I feel can become
something of a cult of darkness, which suggests that the more darkness the better, that darkness is the normal
state of prayer, or that darkness is the safest way.
So, although it is important not to misunderstand, and criticise Christians who are going through
dark nights and arid periods in prayer - indeed we should
I have the impression, and many others would agree, that in these times God is being especially generous with His contemplative and mystical graces in the lives of many Christians. I seem to meet or hear of an increasing number of Christians who are having special contemplative experiences of the presence of Jesus, of God, or perhaps of Mary. Or perhaps they are experiencing visions, touches or messages. And it is not among Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians that things are happening. Of course some of these experiences may not be authentic, do not come from God. Mental illness, emotional stress, or demonic forces all play their part in creating illusions. There could a1so sometimes be straightforward fraud. Obviously it is necessary to try to discern carefully whether or not these experiences come from God, as I have tried to explain in Chapter 5 on Listening to God. And it is not just a question of black or white. There can sometimes be grey areas. The right question can be, how far something is of God. Even the visions and messages of the canonised saints are not infallible.
However, I know of apostolic initiatives which have the blessing of the bishop and have been very fruitful for years, which were set in motion by a special mystical grace or word from the Lord. Special guidance did not stop with the Acts of the Apostles, as we can see from reading the lives of many of the canonised saints. At a much humbler level, I myself was protected from taking a wrong path in my ministry by a clear and repeated "No" from the Lord. The course of action in question, which at the time seemed the obvious thing to do, would in any case have had to receive the permission of my monastic superiors. However, I never got as far as asking for permission on account of the repeated interior "No" I was receiving. Looking back on the whole question over ten years later, I can see how right God's "No" was, although at the time I could not understand it.
Visions and words from God are not only for holy people. I remember talking with a lady who earlier in life had a vision of an angel. That did not stop her later going off the rails. However, when I spoke to her still later in life, she said that it was because of the vision of the angel she had sold some land to the church when she could have got a higher price elsewhere, and she attributed her coming back to the church and Christianity to the memory of that earlier vision of the angel. I think there is every reason to believe that particular vision of an angel was authentic.
Some people assume that any mystical experience or word from the Lord must be inauthentic if the person in question suffers from any mental illness. I would disagree with that. I think that God sometimes gives someone a special grace because their need is so great. I have known well for about fifteen years a woman who had experienced a very severe mental collapse. She is now, thank God, considerably better, indeed one psychiatrist tells her that she is medically speaking a 'success story', even though her life is still difficult. The lady in question received during her illness two or three significant touches or experiences from the Lord in one way or another. I think that it was because of those special experiences that she persevered in prayer through the very difficult years. I think that without those special experiences or something similar she would have given up prayer and probably committed suicide.
"You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16). If mystical experiences
and words form the Lord lead to greater faith, hope and love - and to greater fruitfulness in life, then there
is reason to believe that they are basically authentic. That would not necessarily rule out all possibility of
some error. However, I meet or hear of so many Christians who have obviously been blessed through their special
contemplative or mystical experiences that I cannot doubt that these experiences were often at least basically
from God. The same would apply to the many fruits of the Christian healing
There seems to be a division of the Christian world between those Christians who believe that
authentic contemplative and mystical experiences coming from the Lord still happen, and those very liberal Christians
who do not so believe, and who would seek to explain it all psychologically. Of course the official Catho1ic position
is that miracles and mystical experiences still sometimes happen, but some Catholics
I would like to suggest that there is food for thought in the fact that in the Protestant world it is the Pentecostal and Charismatic evangelical churches which are in general flourishing and expanding, sometimes rapidly, and the liberal Protestant churches and milieu which are in general declining, sometimes dramatically. I would personally have reservations about some Pentecostal prophecy concerning the 'end times'. Indeed Pentecostals often disagree among themselves on that subject. However, I think that so many Catholics have yet to recognise the fact that we are living alongside the groups of Pentecostal type Christians who in one century have expanded from nothing to about four hundred million members, and that it is this group of Christians who are growing most quickly today. Moreover, their growth and vitality are clearly connected with what they would call 'supernatural' experiences coming from God. (Catholics and Pentecostals use the word 'supernatural' in different senses. For Catholic theology 'supernatural' means the whole realm of grace, while for Pentecostals and many evangelicals the word "supernatural" means extraordinary happenings like miracles and visions. In fact I think an increasing number of Catholics are now using this word in a Pentecostal and evangelical sense).
Of course as a convinced Catholic priest there are some other areas in which I would disagree with the Pentecostals, for example, I would find their eucharistic belief and practice inadequate. I would also find some Pentecostals too narrow on the question of who is saved. This however does not stop me from recognising that the Holy Spirit is often working very strongly in the Pentecostal and charismatic churches, and I think that we Catholics have frequently something to learn from them, as they have from us. For example, have we Catholics not something to learn from the zeal for and dedication to evangelisation which we so often find in the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches?
Chapter Ten: Difficulties in Prayer
What are the reasons why prayer is sometimes difficult? There are various possible reasons, and at times they may combine. Ill health can be a cause. I have met many people who told me that prayer was very difficult when they had a bad attack of flu, and I cannot remember anyone who found prayer easy when they had serious flu. When illness is making prayer difficult we just have to pray as best we can. Long prayers will probably not be possible. Short phrases will probably be best, like "Help me, Jesus", "Heal me, Jesus" "Thy will be done", "Jesus, have mercy", "I offer it up", "Thank you, Jesus", "Alleluia" or just "Jesus".
Exhaustion and tiredness can make prayer difficult. It may be right when possible to cut down
on our activity, so that we can pray more easily. Workaholics, please note!
Serious sin which we have not repented of and which we are not making a real effort to overcome will clearly blunt the desire to pray. That could apply for example, to sexual promiscuity or serious involvement in the occult. People could find these two pursuits so absorbing that there is no time and energy left over for God. So if people are finding prayer difficult they could examine their lives to see whether they are worshipping false Gods.
Prayer can be difficult because we are trying to pray in a way which is not right for us, at least at the present time. For instance, trying to meditate discursively at length when God is calling someone to contemplation will not be helpful. Nor will rushing through liturgical offices just to fulfil an obligation. Nor will trying to pray through a particular private devotion which God is not calling one to be involved in. Nor will trying to pray at length at night if you keep falling asleep - we need if possible to pray at a time of day or night which is suitable for us, and that will vary from person to person.
Then there may be the times of aridity, the dark nights, the desert periods mentioned in the last chapter. The important thing is not to give up prayer, which is what the devil will try to persuade us to do. We just have to persevere gently as best we can until the Lord Himself brings us into the light.
There is another difficulty which perhaps I should mention. Drinking too much alcohol and overeating
can make prayer difficult, while fasting can be a help to prayer.
The purpose in writing this book has been to encourage everyone to have a greater conviction
of the importance of prayer and hopefully to help them in their life of prayer. Many of the readers of this book
are certainly better prayers than I am - it is humbling for someone who is a priest and monk to meet lay Christians
who from experience obviously know much more about prayer than he does. I spoke with someone on the phone today
who said that they have spent the last two days praying for a particular intention. Then there are my friends who
stay up praying late into the night in prayer vigils, and those who regularly fast seriously. So who am I to write
a book on prayer? Perhaps my excuse is that I am in touch with many Christians who really are great prayers. So
I can pass on to others the fruits of their experience.
In a way prayer unites two aspects of my own life: the monastic-priestly side and the Charismatic Renewal side. I have met over the years some very deeply prayerful priests and monastics. I have also met some equally prayerful Christians involved in the Charismatic renewal. (And I also of course know some wonderfully prayerful men and women who do not come into either of those categories).
In this country and in not a few others Christianity is facing a crisis of falling numbers, and
especially the loss of so many of the younger generation. The Tablet recently published a series of articles on the subject, "Where have all the Catholics gone?"
(starting 19th June 1999). Some other churches could have equally well published similar articles. The first article
states that the only growing churches in our country are the 'Charismatic
evangelicals'. I am not wanting to suggest that the only Christian groups which can grow
are the charismatic ones. But I do think it is only the Christian groups which take prayer very seriously who will
grow in our times.
Come Holy Spirit, help us to pray.
Appendix One: Mary, The Saints, and The Angels
Catholics ask Mary, the saints and the angels to pray forr them to Jesus, to God, so do all the historic Eastern churches, and so do many Anglicans and a number of other Christians. Evangelicals and Pentecostals do not. And why? Because they say that our religious beliefs and practices should be based on what is clearly written in the Bible, and there is nothing directly this subject in the Bible.
Catholics reply that alongside Scripture there is Tradition as a source of belief and practice,
and that the Catholic attitude towards this and some other subjects is justified by appealing to Tradition.
However, it would appear evident to many of us that very many Christian's prayer lives, while clearly centred on Jesus, have been enriched by asking especially Mary to pray with them and for them. Indeed, I myself am convinced that praying to and with Mary helps my spiritual life. I am convinced that my praying to Mary helps me to love and serve Jesus more. So I would not want to give it up because that would, I feel sure, reduce my love for Jesus.
For a number of years I was not particularly interested in going to Lourdes where Mary appeared to St Bernadette in 1858. The reason for this lukewarmness was partly because I was much involved in ecumenical work with Christians linked with the Reformation, and I did not feel that visiting shrines of Our Lady went particularly well with such ecumenical work. However, I found myself leading a charismatic pilgrimage to Lourdes about fifteen years ago and have done so almost annually ever since. The point I want to make here is that our pilgrimages to Lourdes have, I am totally convinced, increased the place of Jesus in our lives, not diminished it. I also want to say here that I personally am convinced that Mary is appearing in our times in Medjugorje and in quite a number of other places, and that these apparitions are bearing much fruit for Jesus.
I know of course that there are sometimes false apparitions and exaggerations in Marian devotion,
and papal documents have warned Catholics against such exaggerations. I myself am not entirely happy with pictorial
representations which appear to put Mary on the same level as Jesus. Nor am I happy with writings which say much
about God the Father and Mary, while saving practically nothing about Jesus. We Catholics would sometimes seem
to go out of our way to make it
We Catholics ask Mary, the saints and the angels to to pray with us and for us. What we are doing
is basically the same as when we ask another living person to pray
Having clarified, I hope, the basic position, I must add that I think it should be normal for a Catholic to have a very real devotion to Mary. The Holy Spirit will inspire some Catholics to go further in that direction than others. However, I think there is something missing in a Catholic's life of prayer if Mary is neglected. Mary, my heavenly mother, has a very important place in my life of prayer, but definitely secondary to Jesus, who is my only Saviour. And I think my devotion to Mary leads to Jesus, of course everything is summed up in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Some Catholics may think that in this section I have gone too far in seeking to avoid upsetting Evangelicals and Pentecostals. May I remind those Catholics that Pope John Paul II has made Christian unity one of the great intentions of the Millennium. Since Vatican II Christian unity and ecumenical dialogue have been officially a major concern of the Catholic Church. Obviously Catholics cannot sacrifice their essential beliefs for the sake of unity, any more than other Christians can.
Clearly the different attitudes of Christians towards Mary are an important cause of division
among Christians. Let us pray for the day when Christians are united in their attitude towards Mary, the mother
of Jesus. And let us try to help and not hinder the ecumenical dialogue on Mary. For those interested in this dialogue
there is The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (address:
11 Belmont Road, Wallington, Surrey SM6 8TE, England).
Many Catholics will pray particularly with and to a canonised saint on their liturgical feast
day, for example St. Benedict on the 11th July, St Teresa of Lisieux on 1st October. It is fairly normal that a
Catholic will have a devotion to this or that saint as the Holy Spirit guides them, and this may lead them to pray
daily to that saint. In a way I think All Saints Day, November 1st, is by far the most important Saints' day, because
it covers the vast multitude of saints who have not been canonised, and that will include good Christians whom
have known and who have now passed to the fuller life.
Catholics, or course, not only pray to the departed but also for the repose of their souls. The Administrator of Westminster Cathedral rightly wrote in the Westminster Record (August 1999) that people visit the tomb of the recently departed Cardinal Hume "and pray for the Cardinal and to the Cardinal". As to how much one prays for and how much to, I think we have to be led by the Holy Spirit. I personally normally pray daily for the repose of the souls of the departed members of my family, and I ask them to pray for me and for the other living members of my family. I feel that this really strengthens our bonds in the Communion of Saints.
I have also stuck on the wall above my bed pictures of departed people, a few of them canonised saints, some of them members of my family and of my monastic family, others of the holy people whom I knew and often worked with. I feel that in a general way I am united with them in prayer, until by the grace of God I am called to join them.
In general while Catholic-minded Christians pray for the departed, especially for departed members
of the their families, Evangelical, Pentecostal and very liberal Christians do not. Catholics believe that they
have a biblical backing for praying that the departed may rest in peace. In 2
Maccabees 12: 44-45: we read "For if he
(Judas Maccabeus) were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous
and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall
asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might
be delivered from their sin". For Catholics the books of Maccabees are part of the
Old Testament, whereas for Protestants they are not - the Catholic Old Testament is larger than the Protestant
one. (Some bibles include the book of Maccabees with a few other books under the title the Apocrypha). So Protestants
unlike Catholics do not think that praying for the departed to rest in peace has a biblical basis.
Following the pioneering lead of Dr Kenneth McAll, an Anglican Psychiatrist, I have for about
15 years been regularly celebrating Masses for the Healing of the Family Tree, sometimes referred to as Ancestral
Masses. These are basically requiem Masses for deceased members of one's family and for other departed people with
whom one has been linked. An increasing number of people seem to be finding these celebrations really helpful.
Indeed, I myself am sometimes surprised at how helpful some people are finding them. And more and more priests
are celebrating these Masses. I think that this area of the healing ministry will become more and more important
in the years to come, especially in those countries where traditionally people have had a special concern for ancestors.
For those interested, may I recommend Kenneth McAll's Healing of the Family Tree, Sheldon Press; Intergenerational Healing,
by a Catholic priest, Robert de Grandis SSJ with Linda Schubert; From Generation to
Generation, by Patricia A Smith, Jehovah Rapha Press ('highly' recommended by Francis
MacNutt); Requiem Healing, by two Anglican Evangelical
priests, Michael Mitton and Russ Parker, Darton, Longman and Todd. A Catholic Priest, John J Hampsch CMF, has a
centre in the USA from which he distributes literature and tapes on the Healing
of the Family Tree ministry, (Claritian Tape
Ministry, P 0 Box 19100, Los Angeles CA 90019).
I do not want to repeat here things I wrote in my last book, I Saw
Satan Fall, The Ways of Spiritual Warfare, in Appendix I 'Some Official Texts of
My belief in angels means more and more to me, and quite often I celebrate a votive Mass of the Guardian Angels. The thought that there is always at my side one of Jesus' angels, sent by Him to protect me, is a real source of comfort. My angel protects me spiritually, emotionally and physically. How many sins I might have committed, how many illness and accidents I might have had without angelic protection? Like many or most people I can remember a number of near misses in my life. Once when rock climbing on my own I had a very frightening and dangerous moment, once a very large bolder rolling down a hill missed the back of my head by inches, and more than once there have been close shaves with cars. Has my protection been just a matter of 'luck'. I do not think so. I think that often Jesus has been using his angels to keep me safe. That being so, it is surely right that I thank my guardian angel - or the angels in general - for all their help and protection. It is also right to ask the angels to protect us - and we can ask them also to protect other people, which is what Padre Pio did so frequently. I find myself chatting with my Guardian Angel at times, being grateful that he is there, and asking him to protect me, protect us, during this journey, this celebration, this ministry session, this difficult situation.
If you prefer in prayer just to go direct to Jesus, or the heavenly Father, fine! It is all glory to Jesus or to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the end.
Copyright © 2000 Benedict M. Heron OSB