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The Mass and other prayers

Our rich tradition has supplied us with beautiful prayers that speak truth to all of life's stages. We invite you to use these prayers, as needed, during the different moments in life.

Booklets

The Mass

How to pray the rosary

Prayers

Our Father
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.

Glory Be
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


For the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

O Mother of the Americas, you came
on a dark hill in a dark time
to one who had no documentation.

To the challenge of the authorities, 
you offered roses and grace.

You wanted a space, 
simple and extraordinary,
a space where all could worship
together, equally your children.

You call us again 
in this dark time
to create a space
where all your children
are welcomed,
cherished,
offered bread, roses,
and what grace we can gather.

O Lady, still shining,
Madre, Mother,
You wait on the hillside,
until we believe,
until we can welcome
the ones whom you send.
-Jane Deren


Annunciation

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.

Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience.  No one mentions
courage. The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
      God waited.

She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.
_____________________________________________
Aren’t there annunciations 
of one sort or another
in most lives?

Some unwillingly 
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
uncomprehending.

More often
those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.Ordinary lives continue.
     God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.
____________________________________________
She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed 
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence 
fused in her, indivisible.
Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
  only asked
a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
perceiving instantly
the astounding ministry she was offered:
to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power – 
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
  Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love – 
but who was God.
-Denise Levertov

Prayer of Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. 

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.


I Tremble on the Edge of a Maybe

O God of beginnings,
as your Spirit moved
over the face of the deep
on the first day of creation,
move with us now
in our time of beginnings,

when the air is rain and snow-washed
and the world seems fresh and full of
possibilities,
and we feel ready and full.

We tremble on the edge of a maybe,
a second time,
a new try,
a tentative start,
and the wonder of it lays its finger on our lips.

In silence, Lord,
we share now our eagerness
and our uneasiness
about this something different
we would be and do;

and we listen for your leading
to help us separate the light
from the darkness
in the change we seek to shape
and which is shaping us.
-Ted Loder, Guerillas of Grace


Prayer of Joy

O You,
who are the God
no less of those who know you not
than of those you love you well,

be present with us at the times of our choosing
when time stands still
and all that lies behind
and all that lies ahead
are caught up in the mystery of a moment.

Be present especially with the young
who must choose between many voices.

Help them to know
how much an old world
needs their youth and gladness.

Help them to know that there are
words of truth and healing
that will never be spoken
unless they speak them,
and deeds of compassion and courage that
will never be done unless they do them.

Help them never to mistake
success for victory or failure for defeat.
Grant that they may never be
entirely content with whatever bounty the
world may bestow upon them,
but that they may know at last that
they were created
not for happiness but for joy,

and that joy is to those alone who,
sometimes with tears in their eyes, commit
themselves in love
to you and to their sisters and brothers.

Lead them and all your world ever deeper 
into the knowledge that finally all people
are one and that there can never really be 
joy for any until there is joy for all.

In Christ’s name we ask it and for his sake.
Amen.


Disturb Us, Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life,
having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity,
and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas, where storms will show your mastery, 
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back the horizon of our hopes,
and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ.
-Sir Francis Drake


A Contemporary Interpretation of Psalm 23

The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush;
He makes me stop for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness
which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind
and his guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day
I will not fret, for his presence is here;
His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance,
as he prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity.
When he anoints my mind with His oils of tranquility,
my cup of joyous energy overflows.

Truly, harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord
and dwell in His house forever.
We thank you, Lord, for Your gift of silence –
for these moments now
and for the other silent spaces You give us during the day.

We thank You for the gift of Yourself in silence,
And for the knowledge that You, whom we so easily neglect,
are so wonderfully close and alive in our lives.


The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who mad the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean – 
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down – 
who is now gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver


Peace Prayer

O God, you are the source of life and peace.
Praised be your name forever.
We know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace.
Hear our prayer in this time of crisis.
Your power changes hearts.

Muslims, Christians and Jews remember, and profoundly affirm,
that they are followers of the one God,
Children of Abraham, brothers and sisters;
enemies begin to speak to one another;
those who were estranged join hands in friendship;
nations seek the way of peace together.

Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these
truths by the way we live.

Give to us:
Understanding that puts an end to strife;
mercy that quenches hatred, and
forgiveness that overcomes vengeance.

Empower all people to live in your law of love.


Making Peace

A voice from the dark called out,
“The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster.  Peace, not only
The absence of war.”

But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except 
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.

A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
Until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.

A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . . 

A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light -- facets
of the forming crystal.
-Denise Levertov


September 11th Prayer

God of peace,
as we remember that terrible Tuesday years ago,
comfort us, strengthen us, heal us, be with us.

Be with us as
our hearts still ache for those 
we lost that day, for the families forever changed.  

Be with us as
we remember the extraordinary goodness of ordinary life,
the beautiful, daily dedication of unknown office workers, maintenance 
workers, window-washers, stockbrokers, and janitors, 
all the holy women and men who spend their days loving supporting families, raising children, contributing to community, creating life.

Be with us as
we honor the sacrifice of so many, 
the firefighters, the police officers, the paramedics,
those who rushed to help, selflessly giving themselves for others,
may they experience the fullness of your eternal grace,
and may we live as they did.

Be with us as
we continue to live in brokenness,
experiencing our woundedness,
profoundly in need of your healing.

Be with us as
we pray that the light of your love
will overcome the darkness of terror, evil, vengeance, and hatred,
that your compassion will keep us from turning in on ourselves, 
and will empower us to live in solidarity with all.

God of peace,
be with us, 
open our hearts to one another, 
turn our fear into forgiveness, 
change our grief into joy, 
and grace us with the courage to create the peace for which we long.


Suspice Prayer

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.
-St. Ignatius of Loyola


Prayer of One Who Feels Lost

Dear God,
why do I keep fighting you off?

One part of me wants you desperately,
another part of me unknowingly
pushes you back and runs away.

What is there in me that
so contradicts my desire for you?

These transition days, these passage ways,
are calling me to let go of old securities,
to give myself over into your hands.

Like Jesus who struggled with the pain
I, too, fight the “let it all be done.”

Loneliness, lostness, non-belonging,
all these hurts strike out at me,
leaving me pained with this present goodbye.

I want to be more but I fight the growing.

I want to be new but I hang unto the old.

I want to live but I won’t face the dying.

I want to be whole but cannot bear
to gather up the pieces into one.

Is it that I refuse to be out of control,
to let the tears take their humbling journey,
to allow my spirit to feel its depression,
to stay with the insecurity of “no home”?

Now is the time. You call to me,
begging me to let you have my life,
inviting me to taste the darkness
so I can be filled with the light,
allowing me to lose my direction
so that I will find my way home to you.
-Joyce Rupp


Prayer of Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
That it is made by passing through some stages of 
instability. . . 
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually – 
let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today
What time 
will make you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing that you are being lead,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ


Fall in Love

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
-Pedro Arrupe, SJ


Come, Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in us
the fire of your divine love.

When you send forth your
Spirit, we are created
and you renew the face of the earth.

O God,
on the first Pentecost you
instructed the hearts of
those who believed in you
by the light of the
Holy Spirit:

Under the transformation of
the same Spirit, give us
a taste for what is right
and true and a continuing
sense of his joy --
brining
presence
and power,
through
Jesus Christ
Our Lord.
Amen.


The Holy Longing

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
Because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making
sweeps you upward.
Distance does not make you falter,
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven’t experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.
-Goethe


Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.


A Future Not Our Own

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of
saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession
brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives include everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one
day will grow. We water the seeds already planted
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of
liberation in realizing this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's
grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the
difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not
messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.


Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. 
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. 
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. 
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. 
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
-St. Augustine
Stained Glass in Founders Chapel

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