WDTPRS: Prayers for the Tried and Tempted

In my daily Masses, when I can, I add orations to the regular orations designated for the day.  I take these additional prayers often from the Orationes diversae section.  One of the set of prayers I select are “Pro tentatis et tribulatis… for the tried and tempted”.

Here is the Collect

Deus, qui iustificas impium, et non vis mortem peccatoris, maiestatem tuam suppliciter deprecamur: ut famulos tuos de tua misericordia confidentes, caelesti protegas benignus auxilio, et assidua protectione conserves; ut tibi iugiter famulentur, et nullis tentationibus a te separentur.  Per Dominum.

A person who is impius is, in essence, someone who has no respect for God, and therefore is “ungodly” and “wicked”.

In our Latin prayers maiestas is usually synonymous with gloria, a divine characteristic.  When people have come into contact with God’s maiestas they are in general transformed by, as Moses was when God would speak to him.  We will be transformed in heaven by God’s maiestas.   Maiestas is also a form of address, as it is today for royalty: Your Majesty.  In our prayer, it seems to function as such, but retaining the meaning of His transforming power.

Iustifico is both to “do justice to someone” and also “to forgive” (make “just”).   My mind immediately goes to Luke 18:14.  The Lord tells the parable about the Pharisee and the Publican praying in the Temple.  The Publican went away “justified”… “descendit hic iustificatus“.   The way the Publican prayed, his attitude before God brought God’s (majestic) transforming power into his heart and mind.

My mind also goes our Catholic understanding of sanctification and justification.   In baptism we are transformed by the Holy Spirit and we are “justified”, we are removed from a state of sin to a state of righteousness and grace.  This is a true change in our soul, not, as Protestants think, a kind of legal fiction, a “forensic” righteousness, whereby we truly remain sinful but that sinfulness is covered or whited out by Christ’s merits.  And as the Council of Trent’s Decree on Justification says, the final cause (a technical term) of justification is, ultimately, the glory of God, of Christ, and life everlasting.

Note the reference to Ezekiel 18:23 and 32: “Numquid voluntatis meae est mors impii dicit Dominus Deus et non ut convertatur a viis suis et vivatnolo mortem morientis dicit Dominus Deus revertimini et vivite.  … Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? …  I have no pleasure in the death of any one, says the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

Also, the last line reminds me of the repeated phrase in St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Stations of the Cross and also the priest’s 2nd prayer before his own Communion at Mass: “fac me tuis semper inhaerére mandátis, et a te numquam separári permíttas … make me always cleave to Your commandments, and suffer me never to be separated from You.”

O Lord, who make the wicked righteous, and do not desire the death of the sinner, humbly we beseech Your Majesty that You, beneficent, protect with heavenly aid Your servants trusting in Your mercy; with the result that they may continually serve You, and by no temptations be separated from You.  Through our Lord….

Temptations and trials are part of life.  Sometimes they can be terrible.  However, God will never allow us to be tried beyond our strength.  He offers us graces to bear our temptations and trials, even when He withholds consolations or a sense of His presence.   Our trials can purify and strengthen us.   God permits trials and temptations with a view that we continue to be steadfast and continue to love and serve Him.

This is a difficult time for so many people.  Many people are terribly tried and tempted even to dire things.   We must, in charity, help our brothers and sisters who are tried and tempted concretely through deeds and by prayers.

Knowing that readers here have their own trials right now, I periodically add these orations when I say Mass.

Secret:

Huius, quaesumus, Domine, virtute mysterii, et a propriis nos munda delictis, et famulos tuos ab omnibus absolve peccatis.

We beg, O Lord, by the power of this mystery/sacrament, both cleanse us from our own transgressions, and absolve your servants from all sins.

Postcommunio:

Purificent nos, quaesumus, Domine, sacramenta quae sumpsimus: et famulos tuos ab omni culpa liberos esse concede; ut, qui conscientiae reatu constringuntur, caelestis remedii plenitudine glorientur.

Let the sacraments/mysteries which we have consumed, O Lord, we beg, purify us: and grant that Your servants be free from every failure; so that those who are fettered by a guilty state of conscience, may glory in the fulness of a heavenly remedy.

The prayers assume that we do, in fact, fail from time to time when we are tried and tempted.

Hence, note the tone of joy with which these orations finish.  There is the all too familiar recognition of the burden of a guilty conscience, but it doesn’t end there.  We end with the joy of the remedy.

Dear readers…

GO TO CONFESSION!

Think back to the exhilaration, the feeling of relief when that cleaning and unbinding in the Blood of the Lamb washes over us in healing and also protection.   The Sacrament of Penance forgives our sins and then also strengthens us again falling in future times of trial and temptation.  The Sacrament heals and protects.

GO TO CONFESSION!

 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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