From a reader…
I will appreciate your help in leading me to a prayer to protect us from terrorism (specifically Muslim, if possible) that can be recited by our parish weekly during these threatening times. I do this at the behest of my Pastor.
Your pastor is wise to seek to do something like this. We are living in increasingly dangerous times.
Today I had lunch with a priest who remarked that the Church is really good and reacting and reforming, but not very good at foreseeing and avoiding. Why wait to tackle a problem before it turns into disaster? A stick in time saves nine applies also to the fabric of the Church.
The Rosary was used at the Battle of Lepanto! Can you think of something better than that?
But wait! There’s more.
I was recently reminded of the 1889 encyclical about St. Joseph, Quaquam pluries of Pope Leo XIII (will we see his like again, I wonder). In that encyclical Leo asked that a prayer be added at the end of the recitation of the Holy Rosary especially during the month of October (dedicated in a special way to the Rosary). The prayer was indulgenced then and it is still indulgenced now. It is in the Handbook of Indulgences. It would be said after the Salve Regina and the usual concluding prayer of the Rosary. Of course it could be used after any Marian devotion (it seems appropriate to use it in conjunction with a Marian devotion). It could be used by itself as well.
To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.
Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.
As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.
So, perhaps you might have in the parish a Rosary after morning Mass and a Rosary in the evening as a scheduled event, and include the prayer to St. Joseph. Father could hear confessions for the time of the devotion (and after).
Also, don’t forget that one of the historic reasons for the institute of the Forty Hours Devotion was the threat of Islam!
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you panty-waists are grizzling, “This is horrible. Pray against terrorists? They are simply misunderstood! After all, Vatican II says that we all pray to the same God… and … you know. We are brothers and sisters and we must never suggest anything so triumphalistic and retrograde! They are a ‘menace”? NO! YOU are the menace with your throwback fear mongering! You are a deplorable xenophobic islamophobe! You probably support Donald Trump because you HATE VATICAN II!
I’ll pray for you after I sorrowfully watch the video of a thug in a hood shouting in Arabic as he saws your head off on the street outside your parish church… no, wait… your faith community’s worship space. Even though you are seriously screwed up right now, there is hope for you. I’ll pray that, at the end, you gave courageous witness to the Catholic Faith and to Christ. And, if you are beatified, I’ll pray to you, asking you to intercede for our nation and to beg that God be appeased. Until then, please just shut up.
Back to Forty Hours. If the Rosary is something that you can have in the parish everyday, Forty Hours is a special event, very intense, which you can have once a year.
The mighty St. Charles Borromeo (shall we see his like again, I wonder) wrote to Pope Paul III asking for indulgences for his institution of Forty Hours. Paul III responded:
“Since … Our beloved son the Vicar General of the Archbishop of Milan at the prayer of the inhabitants of the said city, in order to appease the anger of God provoked by the offences of Christians, and in order to bring to nought the efforts and machinations of the Turks who are pressing forward to the destruction of Christendom, amongst other pious practices, has established a round of prayers and supplications to be offered both by day and night by all the faithful of Christ, before our Lord’s Most Sacred Body, in all the churches of the said city, in such a manner that these prayers and supplications are made by the faithful themselves relieving each other in relays for forty hours continuously in each church in succession, according to the order determined by the Vicar . . . We, approving in our Lord so pious an institution, and confirming the same by Our authority, grant and remit”, etc.
It is time to bring this devotion back and to do it right! Forty Hours Devotion means 40 hours. I would like to see this done as it used to be: on a rotating basis, parish to parish, throughout dioceses, on a fixed, annual schedule so that it is predictable. It would also like to see used the Clementine Instruction and in the Extraordinary Form.
There are many devotions and prayers already written and used by our forebears for centuries.
They must be REVIVED!
So many people today ought not to be receiving Holy Communion. They perhaps go to Communion anyway when they are at Mass because they feel pressure as everyone goes forward. At all these devotions, stand alone and without Holy Mass, everyone participates equally with no need to go forward. They can pray and participate in the life of the parish and be devout and join the personal problems and petitions to the prayers being offered. People would return to Church on Sundays for Vespers and Benediction. Old hand missals often included the prayers for Vespers along with the prayers for Mass.
WE NEED THESE DEVOTIONS!
I’ve often contemplated the signs of the times and wondered if the wrath of God will be averted through our prayers and mortifications. Once there were many communities of sisters who did reparation for the sins people committed. Once there were many many more Masses being offered. Once there were many more devotional practices and, as a Church, we talked about sacrifice and expiation, the anger of God at sins and our need to beg for mercy.
Before it is too late, this must be RESTORED!
Once upon a time, Popes vigorously moved the entire Church – which still had a strong identity – to common action in prayer. I wish that our bishops, at least, would give us collective guidance that doesn’t amount to nice thoughts about kitties, sunshine, and birthday cakes on this real threat and on a range of other issues.