When Betty tagged me to write about my five favorite Catholic devotions, I started making a list in my head of this and that and composing little snippets of prose in my head, already crafting what I was going to say about various forms of piety. But then I thought that perhaps I ought to assess not just what I like, but what I actually do. It's one thing to say you like a particular devotion, but what does it avail one to like a devotion but never practice it?
1. The Holy Name of Jesus
Before considering this meme, I never would have thought I would embrace such an old-timey devotion, but then I realized: any time I utter a spontaneous prayer in the day, I turn to Jesus first, by name.
2. The Divine Mercy
Over at Betty's, I commented, "I too love the chaplet, because it's so straightforward. I need mercy, and the best way to ask for it is to offer God something He can't refuse: His son's suffering and death."
Well, to be fair, I don't know if I can say accurately that I'm devoted to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, since I rarely say the whole thing in its proper form, with the beginning and ending prayers attached. But I frequently find myself praying, "For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world," under my breath.
3. Liturgy of the Hours
We have a prayer book that used to belong to Darwin's mother, a one volume pre-conciliar Liturgy of the Hours. The canonical hours flow like poetry: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, Compline. When I'm nursing the baby, I turn to this book. The blessed simplicity of one-week cycle is refreshing, as is the format: every hour included in every day, so there's no flipping or wrangling with ribbons to get in the way of the prayer.
Every night our family closes our set of children's prayers with antiphon from Compline: Protect us, Lord, while we are awake, and safeguard us while we sleep, that we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.
I'm going with the three devotion variant instead of the full five, because although there are other devotions, such as the rosary, that I like, I don't say them often enough to call them favorites.
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