Of Prisoners and Devotions

If we want to succeed in our initiatives in the Church, initiatives directed both ad intra and ad extra, we must revitalize our Catholic identity.  To revitalize our Catholic identity, we need, first and foremost, a renewal of our sacred liturgical worship, primarily of Holy Mass but also of the office and other rites.   And, in addition to our liturgical worship, we need to revive, recover, restore old devotions.

For example, at my home parish there was on every Tuesday evening, the Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help followed by Benediction, followed by confessions.  It was always well-attended.

Fr. Hunwicke reminded me of another devotion, very French I think, in a recent post.  HERE

I suspect that many of you haven’t heard of the devotion to the “Divine Prisoner”, or “Prisoner in the Tabernacle”.  I believe this was a strong devotion of St. Thérèse.

Here is one prayer:

O JESUS, DIVINE PRISONER present always in the Tabernacle as a ransom for my sins, look on me a prisoner, too, bound by my own guilt. O, relieve me from the shackles of my sins that I may give myself to the service of Thy Love.

Deliver me from the shackles of my pride, sweet Jesus, from my vanity, sloth and anger, melt the stiffness of my will, break the tyranny of my passions, open wide the door of my dungeoned soul and dispel the darkness of my sins and ignorance.

Have pity, O Divine Prisoner! Have pity on this poor prisoner. Help me to escape from sin so that I may always be with Thee … forever Thy prisoner! My mind chained by Thy Truth! My will chained by Thy Law! My heart chained by Thy Love! Chain me to Thee, living and dying. And may I die, dear Jesus, a prisoner in Thy Sacred Heart. Amen.

Some may tut at the old-fashioned language.  I respond that there is nothing wrong with old-fashioned!

Let the prayers of our forebears be ours as well.



So, if you would have Faith, pray.


How wonderful it would be to find a cache of these old-fashioned prayer cards.   I especially want a really good copy of the card (and statue) of Our Lady Queen of the Clergy.  I looked around in shops in Paris, but to no avail.   Perhaps they could be an opportunity for some entrepreneur.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Clinton R. says:

    This image of Our Lord as a prisoner in the
    Tabernacle and the accompanying prayer is
    in the Blessed Sacrament prayer book
    I have by Fr. F.X. Lasance.

    I agree with Father Zuhlsdorf that there are those
    who tut at the old fashioned language. However,
    we need those classic and timeless prayers.
    Prayers like this one allow our hearts
    to speak to His Sacred Heart and pour out our deepest desires,
    that we may conform our will to His and to live a life of holiness. We Catholics
    have the great gift of being able to go and speak to our Lord, who loves us so much
    that He makes himself a Prisoner in the Tabernacle for the sake of our souls.

  2. amsjj1002 says:

    I was so struck by the idea of Jesus as prisoner that I made it my signature years ago, as mentioned by two different saints:

    Jesus, God and man,
    imprisoned by love in Thy most holy Sacrament,
    have mercy upon us.
    + Blessed John Henry Newman, December 22, 1851

    Tú y yo sabemos por la fe que oculto en las especies sacramentales está Cristo,
    ese Cristo con su Cuerpo, con su Sangre, con su Alma, y con su Divinidad,
    prisonero de amor.
    + San Josemaría Escrivá, 1 junio 1974
    You and I know by faith that hidden in the sacramental species is Christ, that Christ with His Body, with His Blood, with His Soul, and with His Divinity, prisoner of love.

  3. APX says:

    People on Etsy sell old vintage Catholic prayer cards that they collect. You might have success there. I’ve also had some random success by buying old used Catholic books online only to find old prayer cards in them as well as some other cool old things, including a priest’s ordination prayer card from the early 1920’s.

  4. APX says:

    Further to my Etsy search, some crafty people have started making reproductions of the antique lace-styled French prayer cards. They don’t sell for cheap, though.

  5. ACM says:

    My beloved father gave me the following beautiful prayer when I was 15 years old. While it is not specifically addressed to our Lord as the Prisoner in the Tabernacle, it runs along those lines and remains among the prayers I continue to pray every evening 55 years later.

    “O Divine Jesus, alone tonight in so many Tabernacles throughout the world, without visitor or worshiper, I offer Thee my lowly heart. May every beating be a prayer of love to Thee. In Thy love Thou art ever watching under the sacramental veils. Thou never sleepest, and Thou art never weary of Thy vigil for sinners. O loving Jesus, O lonely Jesus, may my heart be a lamp, the light of which shall burn for Thee alone in time and in eternity. Watch Sacramental Sentinel, watch for the weary world, for the erring soul and for Thy poor lonely child. Amen.”

  6. un-ionized says:

    There is a current book called The Prisoner of Love with this picture on the cover. Inside are reproductions of some holy cards.

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