Sermon given by Father Pancras Raja on May 17th, 2020
“Amen, Amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you.” (Jn. 16: 23)
Before Our Divine Lord departed from this world, he promised to his chosen ones two gifts. (1) The gift of the Holy Ghost. (2) The unfailing efficacy of prayer in his name – “JESUS.” Last Sunday we meditated about the first: the gift of the Holy Ghost. Today let us meditate upon the second gift:
The unfailing efficacy of prayer.
This guarantee of Our Lord extends only to those prayers which are made in the name of JESUS.
What is meant by this condition?
In the name of Jesus means he who prays for that which pertains to Salvation. St. Augustine says: “He prays in the name of Jesus, who prays for that which pertains to Salvation – through the merits of Jesus.”
In the penny catechism no. 44, we read “What does the Holy name of Jesus mean? SAVIOUR! And the gospel says: “Thou shalt call his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mt. 1: 21)
Let us see what conditions and circumstance should accompany our prayer.
I The conditions of Prayer
1) We must pray for what is right and fitting (not for anything and everything), and the most fitting thing that we can ask from God, and the grace which will infallibly granted to our earnest prayer is: that which pertains to our own salvation and sanctification.
2) We must pray through the merits of the passion and death of Jesus Christ – because it is through the blood of Christ and in his name that our prayers become pleasing in the sight of God. If we are sometimes discouraged in our efforts to attain sanctity and salvation of souls, it is because we fix our eyes on our own weakness rather than upon the strength of our union with Christ. That is why the prayers in our liturgy always ends with the formula: “Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum ….” Through the merits of the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ …. Amen.
3) We must pray with attention, humility, confidence and perseverance.
II The circumstances of our prayer
1) The time of prayer: We can always pray, but we should pray especially in the morning and at night – that God may bless our labours during the day and protect us at night while we sleep. The practice of frequent ejaculations will enable us to pray always.
2) The place of prayer: Of all the places, the church – the house of God is the house of prayer. (It is not a place for public gathering – to sing and dance, to clap and shout and to eat and drink) The church is the abode of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; the throne of God before which the angels tremble and say unceasingly “Sanctus,” “Sanctus,” “Sanctus.”
3) The posture of prayer: Prayer should be made in a becoming and respectful posture. For example: on our knees, with folded hands. (The angel of Fatima taught the children to pray to God in a posture of prostrating with the forehead touching on the ground).
4) The method of prayer: Those prayers which have the approbation of the Church; and the sacred liturgy are the prayers which have the official methods most useful and salutary. The Most Holy Sacrifice of the mass, Benediction of the Blessed sacrament, the Office of the breviary, Vespers, Holy hour, The Most Holy Rosary, Way of the Cross, Meditation and Contemplation. (Beware of self-made “ex tempore” prayers and Charismatic prayer meetings)
The practice of praying the “Angelus” three times a day, the Holy Rosary every evening in common in the church, or in the family, the saying of grace before and after meals and prayer before and after work and study are very powerful methods to be well united with God throughout the day.
Some Traditions, Customs, and Practices for
Traditional Catholics on Prayer
St. John Chrysostom called the Catholic home “a church in miniature.”
Catholic parents have the most important role in setting the example for their children. If the children see that their Dad is a manly Catholic, unafraid and unashamed to express his Catholic Faith in the home and even in public discourse, the children in turn will be very likely to follow his example. People — even children — are not converted through intellectual arguments … but by example: they see another doing something remarkable and good — and are deeply impressed. They want to be like them!
• This is especially true of what children observe in their behavior when they know that they do not see them watching them. We cannot stress the importance of this. A child unexpectedly opening his father’s bedroom or office door at home and finding the father in prayer on his knees will say more to the child than years of lectures on the importance of praying. A mother found lying in bed or sitting in a chair praying the Rosary when she thought the children were out for a play, will strike them more forcefully by the example she sets than by her words encouraging them to pray the Rosary.
• In you, the father, your children will first encounter Christ … or not. In your wife they will see Blessed Mary … or not. Through each of you children will understand the Fatherhood of God (which God has participated to you) and the Motherhood of the Virgin Mary (the exemplar for perfect motherhood).
Say grace before every meal — in the house or at a restaurant: if you are ashamed to acknowledge God … they will be ashamed, too. If you have that strength, they will acquire the strength, too.
• When you pray, make the Sign of the Cross slowly and reverently — the halfhearted, routine, and careless motion of your hands say much about what is truly in your heart: if you teach your children reverence by example … they will become reverent. If you show them that it is no cause for shame to make the Sign of the Cross in public at a restaurant … they will not be ashamed … of Christ. Children are incredibly perceptive!
• There should be a Crucifix in every room of the house and beautiful pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary and statues of Saints special to you. They need not be overwhelming in number or size; remember that you are not creating a monastery, but a devout Catholic home.
• A Crucifix should be placed over the inside entrance door of your home.
• Pray with your children every night before going to bed — again, prayerfully, not quickly as though simply to “get it over with”. The Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory be — and teach them when they are old enough (which is young) to say them in Latin also.
• Always bless each of your children at bedtime: it is your right as a father, and your duty as a Catholic. One such prayer is the following: Say: May the blessing of Almighty God be with you (name the child): The Father + (Making the Sign of the Cross over them) And the Son +(a second time Making the Sign of the Cross over them) And the Holy Ghost +(a third time Making the Sign of the Cross over them) May the peace of Jesus Christ be in your mind + (trace the Sign of the Cross with your thumb over their forehead) And the love and praise of God the Father be on your lips+ (trace the Sign of the Cross with your thumb over their lips) And may the joy of the Holy Ghost be in your heart+ (trace the Sign of the Cross with your thumb over their hearts).
The story of St. Louis De Montfort begging for food in the name of Jesus.
What is your name?
Give me something to eat not for my name’s sake, but in the name of Jesus Please.
No food, if you do not say your name.
He said: “No need – for my name’s sake!” And went away!
Conclusion: Prayer and alms giving will have their merit of salvation and sanctification only when they are done in the name of Jesus!