Friday, November 30, 2012

Holy Abandonment and an Advent Prayer

On a previous post, a commenter recommended a book – Holy Abandonment by Dom Vitalis Lehodey. I bought it and have begun reading it.

I don’t have the book handy, so won’t quote from it right now, but I can say I was quite taken even by the introductory remarks. In the preface, it is noted that we all seek happiness – we can’t help it. And true happiness is found in doing the will of God. Why? Because God wills only what is good (even if we cannot see the good at the time an event is occurring) and because anything that is good must be willed by God.

I pray so often to be able to abandon myself to Divine Providence! But it seems like I am so seldom successful. This book Holy Abandonment seems to be laid out in a way that may be helpful to me in seeing just exactly what is meant by “God’s will”. Already the author has made the distinction between God’s signified will – the Commandments, precepts of the Church, etc. – and God’s will of good pleasure, which we are not aware of until hindsight gives us the benefit of our experience.

If we are doing our best to remain in God’s signified will, we’ve made a good start. What helped me in that regard was realizing that my Rule of Life is part of God’s signified will because it was approved by my spiritual director, and because I made a personal, private vow to live by it. I signed my profession to do so on the altar of God.

And actually, this realization that that Rule signifies God’s will is a relief to me, and a reassurance that I’m on the right track.

In conjunction with being made aware of the book, I was also made aware of a “novena” that runs from the feast of St. Andrew (today, November 30) through Christmas Eve. I saw it first on Face Book, I think – “pray this prayer 15 times per day till Christmas for your intentions”.

Well…sometimes I’m skeptical about such things. Yes, I do pray novenas, but I don’t like seeing them advertised as a sort of “wish list” or “rabbit’s foot” that will bring me good luck. It’s like those email “forwards” that amount to some sort of “spiritual” chain letter – “Pray this prayer, and pass this on to 7 people, and your prayers will be answered. If you don’t, you will die.” Okay, they don’t say anything quite that dire, usually, but you get the idea.

Anyway, the second time I saw the “Christmas novena” was on the blog of “Tantamergo”. I gave it some more thought, and re-read the prayer, and thought I might go ahead and pray it. 15 times a day? Well it’s short, but I asked myself why 15 times. I decided that it’s probably just to make sure that one spends some time meditating on the content. It is a perfect prayer for Advent, as we prepare for the coming of Our King.

Well, as I mentioned, I had started reading Holy Abandonment, too, and was feeling determined to really consider, contemplate, reflect on, and otherwise seek to abandon myself to God’s will. I decided that that would be the one thing I would pray for. In fact, it seems like the only thing really worth praying for!

So I copied the prayer from Tantamergo’s blog along with part of the commentary from the friend who had sent it to him. Here’s what I copied and pasted:

Begin on November 30th, the Feast of St. Andrew, until Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.
Pray it 15 times a day:

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother. Amen.

This prayer is very efficacious! It has helped many, many souls achieve not only specific intentions but also to grow tremendously in Grace and union with the Divine Will.

And it was only in re-reading it after I’d printed it out for myself that I really saw what that last sentence said – that many souls “…grow tremendously in Grace and union with the Divine Will.”

Of course, that’s exactly what I want.

So I’ll pray the prayer, from now till Christmas. It’s not difficult to pray it 15 times per day; I just pray it before and after each hour of the Divine Office. And I have found just in this first day that it is helping me to focus on the coming celebration of the birth of the Our Savior.

I think this is going to be a good Advent.

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