Sunday, October 16, 2011

Table Prayer, Catholic Style, and a Public Rosary

Last Monday, I followed up on a suggestion my wife had made quite a while ago: and now we're saying a 'Catholic' prayer before meals.

Saying Grace, Then and Now

For years, we've been using the before-meal prayer I grew up with, with the added element of a sign of the Cross before and after:
"Father, bless this food we take, and bless us all for Jesus' sake. Amen."
Nothing wrong with it, and I was touched by my wife's recommendation that we keep that reminder of my parents' household. But it's not the prayer that many, if not all, Catholics around here say before meals. That one goes like this:
"Bless us, O Lord, in these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen."
And, of course, there's the usual before-and-after sign of the Cross.

Interestingly, the written references I found to this prayer read "...and these, Thy gifts...." Maybe it's a regional variation, or something this started. Here's that other version:
"Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen."
The meaning in our prayer isn't quite the same, but I'm not terribly concerned. Instead of asking for a blessing on the food, we're acknowledging that the food is a blessing. Moving on.

What prompted my decision was my son's habit of quietly saying grace with us. Very quietly. And not in synch with the rest of the family. I found out that he'd been bothered by not saying the 'Catholic' prayer, and so was saying the "Bless us, O Lord..." prayer when we said "Father bless...." Actually, he said it a little after we did, since it's hard to say one set of words when everyone else is saying another set - in unison.

I decided that he had a point, so we're all on the same page with our table grace now. I still usually say grace the way I did with my parents, when I'm taking a meal alone.

'Rosary Rally' in the Garden

Somebody'd picked up almost every leaf in the Marian Garden, when they set out the chairs. October 15, 2011.

Yesterday, I was in Our Lady of Angels' Marian garden for a noon Rosary. It's an annual event. This year was the first time I'd remembered the time and been there.

A little over a dozen folks showed up, which I gather isn't as many as last year. I could agonize over the declining attendance, or be glad that we turned out on a beautiful - but brisk and windy - day. I think I'll see the bright side of the picture.

'Rosary Rally' at Our Lady of Angels. October 15, 2011.

It took us about an hour to get through the Angelus, a decade of the Rosary, a few other prayers, and a litany. Time well-spent, I think.

There are quite a few ways to pray the Rosary. This time, we added 'Fatima prayers' after each decade:
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of the Mercy. Amen.

"My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I ask forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee!"
I like prayers like the Rosary; and the sort of formal worship involved in litanies. I've also prayed in more informal way, 'just talking' in the dialect I grew up with: which doesn't use "thee" and "thou."

Is one sort of prayer "better" than another? I don't think so.

Times when I've talked to God about some problem, or said 'thank you' when something went right: that's 'real' prayer.

Saying the Rosary is 'real' prayer, too: although I'll grant that it would be possible to memorize the words and let my mind wander while my mouth rattled them off. I can't see the point in doing something like that, though.

And that's another topic.

Somewhat-related posts:
  • Prayer
    • Isn't just an impulsive outburst
    • Is a learned skill
      • Taught by the Holy Spirit
        Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2650
  • The Seven Petitions (the Lord's Prayer)
    Catechism, 2803-2854
  • "How to Pray the Rosary"

    • Prayers of the Rosary
      • Apostles' Creed
      • Our Father
      • Hail Mary
      • Glory Be (The Doxology)
      • Hail Holy Queen (The Salve Regina)
More about prayer, from the Catechism:
" 'Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.'33 St. Paul adds, 'Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints.'34 For 'we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing.'35 This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.

"It is always possible to pray: The time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise.36 Our time is in the hands of God:
It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.37"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2742-2743)

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.