Monday, 8 October 2012

Prayers for the conversion of lapsed catholics

I signalled yesterday that one of the things I think we should consider doing for the year of faith is praying for the conversion of lapsed and uncatechized Catholics.

The synod for the New Evangelization is underway, so I thought I'd start listing out some suggested psalms and a prayer for this purpose.  A psalm a day or week would be a nice offering for this purpose I think, but I'll signal upfront what those who are familiar with the Office will quickly work out for themselves, namely that the psalm selection I'm going to suggest could readily be added together to mimic the form of one of the many devotional Offices devised in the past.

Matins: Psalm 94(95)

So, my suggestion is to start with the traditional Matins invitatory psalm (Psalm 94), which is particularly appropriate to the cause I think, and use the verse 'If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart' as the antiphon.

Here is the psalm, first in English:

"Come let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our saviour.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his.
5 For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us.
7 For he is the Lord our God: and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
8 Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts:
9 As in the provocation, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works.
10 Forty years long was I offended with that generation, and I said: These always err in heart.
11 And these men have not known my ways: so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest."
Glory be....

And here is the Latin, in the version used in the traditional Office:

Antiphon: Hódie, si vocem ejus audiéritis, nolíte obduráre corda vestra

Veníte, exsultémus Dómino, jubilémus Deo, salutári nostro: præoccupémus fáciem ejus in confessióne, et in psalmis jubilémus ei.

Quóniam Deus magnus Dóminus, et Rex magnus super omnes deos, quóniam non repéllet Dóminus plebem suam: quia in manu ejus sunt omnes fines terræ, et altitúdines móntium ipse cónspicit.
Quóniam ipsíus est mare, et ipse fecit illud, et áridam fundavérunt manus ejus (genuflectitur) veníte, adorémus, et procidámus ante Deum: plorémus coram Dómino, qui fecit nos, quia ipse est Dóminus, Deus noster; nos autem pópulus ejus, et oves páscuæ ejus.
Hódie, si vocem ejus audiéritis, nolíte obduráre corda vestra, sicut in exacerbatióne secúndum diem tentatiónis in desérto: ubi tentavérunt me patres vestri, probavérunt et vidérunt ópera mea.
Quadragínta annis próximus fui generatióni huic, et dixi; Semper hi errant corde, ipsi vero non cognovérunt vias meas: quibus jurávi in ira mea; Si introíbunt in réquiem meam.
Gloria Patri....

Antiphon: Hódie, si vocem ejus audiéritis, nolíte obduráre corda vestra


And as a prayer to go with the psalm, a traditional prayer for the conversion of the lapsed that I've found in a number of places, including as one of the intentions for the week of Christian Unity:

"Almighty Father, You desire not the death of the sinner, but that they may be converted and live. Pour out upon us Your mercy and hear the prayers of Your servants. Soften the hearts of Your children who have strayed from the true faith which You established for their salvation. They are now forgetful of their duties as Catholics and pursue the pleasures of the world. Grant that they may quickly return to the practice of every Christian virtue so that their lives may shine with the integrity of faith, the fervor of piety and the ardor of charity. Restore them all to Your sacraments and the life of Your grace through the merits the most Precious Blood of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen."

You could perhaps top this off either with a prayer for a particular person or persons, and/or for the conversion of our country:

O God, Who hast appointed Mary, Help of Christians Patroness of Australia, grant that through her intercession our brethren outside the Church may receive the light of faith, so that Australia may become one in faith under one Shepherd. Through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.

Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us.
St Mary McKillop, pray for us.

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