Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

This is a prayer (attributed to Pope Clement XI) which recently came to my attention.  I prayed it this Easter morning.  The prayer is titled:  The Universal Prayer of Thanksgiving After Mass.  Since the mass is a participation in the sacrifice which Jesus made (the one which we celebrate this Easter day), the prayer seemed most appropriate.
Considering my recent reflections on making a difference with my life and on the value of prayer, this prayer of thanksgiving offers my thanks to God by committing to live my life well.  It reminds me of the movie I watched last night, Saving Private Ryan, in which one soldier sacrifices his life for another, and as he lay dying says to the saved Private Ryan:  “Earn it.”  Earn the sacrifice of his life, by living a life which makes a difference. 
This prayer is an attempt to tell Jesus that I want, in some small way, to earn His sacrifice, by promising to live the good life He wished for me.

The Universal Prayer of Thanksgiving After Mass
Lord, I believe in You: increase my faith.
I trust in You: strengthen my trust.
I love You: let me love You more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship You as my first beginning,
I long for You as my last end,
I praise You as my constant helper,
And call on You as my loving protector.
Guide me by Your wisdom,
Correct me with Your justice,
Comfort me with Your mercy,
Protect me with Your power.
I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on You;
My words: to have You for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for You;
My sufferings: to be endured for Your greater glory.
I want to do what You ask of me:
In the way You ask,
For as long as You ask,
Because You ask it.
Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart, and make me holy.
Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.
Let me love You, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch, those in authority over me or
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.
Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself and reach out toward others.
Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering,
Unassuming in prosperity.
Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.
Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep Your law,
And come at last to Your salvation.
Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.
Help me to prepare for death,
With a proper fear of judgment,
But a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
            - - - - - - - - - -
In my parish EVERYONE attends the Easter Vigil service --- or well, most everyone.  Early mass this morning was sparsely attended, and as I sat in my usual spot only one young couple and their two small girls joined me, sitting at the far end of my pew.
During the petitions said at mass, we prayed today a Prayer for the Year of Marriage, celebrating moms, dads, and family.  And as I prayed the prayer I felt two small hands circle my leg, and I looked down to see a small smiling face looking up at me, a reminder that at mass we are all family in the Body of Christ, married or not.  And we live our lives in sacrifice, as He did, for each other. 
And as I smiled back at that beautiful little face, and she hugged me harder, and I gave thanks, for all the little people God brings into my life.

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