Category Archives: Prayers of the Saints

Prayers of the Saints: St. John of the Cross

Living Flame of Love

1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now perfect me! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!
::
2. O sweet burn-healing
O delightful wound!
o gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.
::
3.  O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.
::
4.  How gently and lovingly you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

 

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About St. John of the Cross:

Take yourself back, before the landmark wars of the 20th century, back beyond the industries of the 19th and the revolutions of the 18th.  Take yourself into Spain, just decades after Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  And head straight to the heart of the country, just hours north of Madrid. There on the upper levels a medieval Spanish fort, you will find a frail monk wasting away in a cobbled jail cell.  The room is small, plastered with his scattered notes. They are scribbles from his heart.  They are seeds of his great work written on scraps of paper which were smuggled in by sympathetic guards.  There, in the damp quarters, we find one of the world’s great Spiritual Masters, St. John of the Cross.  He is penning The Spiritual Canticle  insights of intimacy with the Father.  His work still illuminates believers today, young and old.

John of the Cross is remembered for four main works.  I will introduce them in their own time: Living Flame of Love first, The Ascent to Mt. Carmel in chapter three, The Dark Night of the Soul in chapter four, and the Spiritual Canticle in chapter five.

John wrote the The Living Flame of Love, nearer to the end of his life.  In it he dwells upon union with God, as his main theme. The spiritual life is like a burning log.  We are the wood. He is the flame. John draws his image from an ancient observation.  When you light a log on fire, the log slowly becomes the fire.  It leaves only ashes of impurity on the forest floor.  And as it transforms, it “grows much more and becomes more completely enkindled, until it gives out sparks of fire and flame.”[1]  The whole Living Flame is about this observation.  He talks about it first in the Ascent:

 “It must be known that God dwells and is present substantially in every soul, even in that of the greatest sinner in the world.  And this kind of union is ever at play between God and all the creatures. In this union He is preserving their life; so that if union of this kind were to fail them, they would at once become annihilated and would cease to be.  And so, when we speak of union with God, we speak not of this substantial union, which is continually at play.  We speak of the union and transformation of the soul with God, which is not being at play continuously, but only when there exists that likeness that comes from love.  We shall call this the union of likeness, even as that other union is called substantial or essential.”[2]

John is picking upon the great biblical tradition that spans from Leviticus to Matthew. Our spiritual life is about being changed from un-likeness to likeness, from being un-holy to holy, from being imperfect to perfect.  Genesis to Revelation is about a God who is recreating his unique world into a land of likeness.


[1] Living Flame of Love Prologue.

[2] John of the Cross, Ascent Book 2 Chapter 5.

Prayers of the Saints: A New Prayer Resource with Christian Masters

Jesus

Zechariah father of John the Baptist

Augustine of Hippo

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Teresa of Avila

St. John of the Cross

Ignatius of Loyola

St. Therese of Lisieux

Evelyn Underhill

Thomas Merton

Adrian van Kaam

Mother Teresa

Prayers of the Saints: Augustine of Hippo

Late Have I Loved You O God

Late have I loved You, O beauty so ancient and so new.  Late have I loved you!  You were within me while I have gone outside to seek you.  Unlovely myself, I rushed towards all those lovely things you had made.  And always you were with me, and I was not with you.

All these beauties kept me far from you—although they would not have existed at all unless they had their being in you.

You called, You cried, You shattered my deafness

You sparkled, You blazed, You drove away my blindness

You shed your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for You.  I tasted and now I hunger and thirst.  You touched me, and now I burn with longing for your peace.

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Prayers of the Saints: Jesus

 

For Humanity

“Father, it’s time.  Display the bright splendor of your Son, so the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.

You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.

I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.

I pray for them.
I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

Now I’m returning to you.
I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn’t join the world’s ways,
Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways.
I’m not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I’m consecrating myself for their sakes
So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and  mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent   me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.

Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them. (John 17, The Message)

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Prayers of the Saints: Evelyn Underhill

Come In. Enter My Small Life

Lord! Give me courage and love to open the door and invite You to enter, whatever the disguise You come in, even before I fully recognize my guest.Come in!  Enter my Small Life!

Lay Your sacred hands on all the common things and small interests of that life and bless and change them.  Transfigure my small resources, make them sacred.  And in them give me Your very Self.

Amen

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Prayers of the Saints: Ignatius of Loyola

 

Take My All

Take, LORD, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will.

You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to Your Divine will.

You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your Divine will.

Give me only Your love and Your grace.  With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.

Amen

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Prayers of the Saints: by Zechariah Father of John the Baptist

Praise to the God Who Rescues and Redeems

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us  in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;  for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

 

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