Emmitsburg Council of Churches

Ten Tips and Models on Prayer

Father John J. Lombardi 

1. Contemplation-The Lord Jesus said: "Come away by yourselves, to a deserted place, and rest a while." (+Mk 6:31) He is calling you: get away, rest in Him; Trust in His Presence. Cultivate love for Him by practicing a "simple loving attention" to, and a gentle adoration of, His Sacred Presence (St. John of the Cross), and, "Think not much about Him but love Him much (St Teresa). Persevere in this prayer.

2. Meditation-The Virgin Mary models this loving discipline: "And she treasured all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." +Lk 2:19. To meditate means to "chew"-to think over a sacred thought, Bible verse or holy mystery, and form affections to God for the fruit received, and to respond to it. Like chewing a fruit (which resembles the holy object of meditation), unlock the sweetness by focused thoughtfulness, and thank God for His many graces thru this instilling prayer-form!

3. Practice the Presence of God: Let nothing separate you from the Love of God in Christ (+Rm8:28-35). Whatever you are doing or thinking about let God Himself be part of your activity. Simply, lovingly, consistently, place yourself in God's presence and let Him work in and through your actions or thoughts; be mindful of the graces He offers, whether while washing dishes, walking or playing with the children.

4. Repititio: When distracted at Mass or hearing a spiritual talk, etc: silently and gently repeat the words just spoken/heard, allowing them to resonate in your soul; repeat consistently: focus lovingly on God speaking to you.

5. Lectio Divina: This means: 1) prayerfully reading over the Scripture, 2) pondering it in your heart and mind; and 3) responding to it in thought, word, or deed.

6. Oratio: Sound the verbalized words of your prayers--at Mass, for instance--through the channel of your heart-and thereby more mindfully and intentionally involve your whole being in prayer.

7. Marian Devotion: the saints love her because she loved Him--Jesus. Slowly pray the words of the Hail Mary, with affection, for the Mother of God. Pray one decade, and eventually, one Rosary, a day. Place a beautiful icon of the Virgin (with Child, perhaps) around you to cultivate Beauty.

8. Liturgy of the Hours: pray this "public prayer of the Church" consisting of psalms, biblical and saintly readings, to help your soul be grounded in loving discipline. Begin with the Psalms in your Bible.

9. "Jesus Prayer": this famous intonation is prayed the world over: "Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." Some call it the "Gospel in miniature--essential Christianity." Consistently pray this prayer in all activities, allowing Jesus to help you.

10. Our Father: Meditate with devotion on the petitions of the Master's teaching. i.e. Father=strong and wise; Heaven=a perfect "place/state" where God dwells; "Hallowed": made holy by the love in your heart. Dwell on the rest of the images faithfully.

Litany of the Sacred Heart

(JUNE is the month of the Sacred Heart: cut out this prayer and invoke Christ's merciful love)

  • God the Father of Heaven…R: Have mercy on us.
  • God the Son, Redeemer of the World, God the Holy Spirit; R...
  • Holy Trinity, One God, R…
  • Heart of Jesus, Son of the eternal Father,
  • Heart of Jesus formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother's womb,
  • Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the word of God,
  • Heart of Jesus of infinite majesty,
  • Heart of Jesus, Holy Temple of God,
  • Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High,
  • Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of Heaven,
  • Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity,
  • Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love,
  • Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and mercy,
  • Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
  • Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
  • Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
  • Heart of Jesus, containing all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
  • Heart of Jesus, having all the fullness of the Godhead,
  • Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased,
  • Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have received,
  • Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
  • Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy,
  • Heart of Jesus, enriching all who call upon You,
  • Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness,
  • Heart of Jesus, propitiation of our offenses,
  • Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches,
  • Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities,
  • Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death,
  • Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
  • Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
  • Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,
  • Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
  • Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins,
  • Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in You,
  • Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You,
  • Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints...

Summer Spiritual Suggestions:

Don't find yourself complaining, at the end of the Summer, that "It just went too fast-I didn't have time to…" …Carpe diem: Seize the day--and so, with family or friends, or alone, think about . . .

  • MOUNTAIN HIKES: Moses went up the mountain Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20), and Jesus went up "a high mountain" during His Transfiguration (+Mk 9:1-8 ). Take a hike up some of the Cactoctin mountains (named after an Indian tribe), or to nearby Sugarloaf (south of Frederick for Washingtonians), or any others to experience soft whistling air, enchanting mountain paths and sacred solitude! Mother Seton often hiked up mountains, picnicking and praying along the way-- why not you?
  • NATURE EXPLORATION: St Paul says that thru Christ-and in Him, all things continue in being (+Col. 1:12-15). You don't have to be a "tree hugger" to enjoy God's creation-the trees, plants, & wildlife along with the pristine mountains, valleys and natural geological formations made long ago. In appreciating it anew, love Who made it. The Creator is manifest in His creation.
  • WALK: The Christ and Virgin Mary walked virtually everywhere; and Jesus made that famous Emmaus Walk (+Lk 24:13ff ). Slow down, make the extra time to exercise and trod the Earth without any vehicle-close to the Earth. Like the Emmaus journey perhaps God has a revelation for you.
  • DAY TRIP: Make a spiritual trip-with fun along the way--for instance, to: the country's first Catholic Cathedral, the Basilica of the Assumption in downtown Baltimore; to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Wash., DC.; visit the shrines of Padre Pio, Cardinal Neumann or Catherine Drexel, in Philadelphia; tour St. Peter's Catholic Church in Harper's Ferry, which includes a dramatic, realistic Crucifix inside… It's Summer: take advantage NOW and enjoy God's creation. "If you have never heard the mountains singing, or seen the trees of the field clapping their hands, do not think because of that that they don't. Ask God to open your ears so you may hear it, and your eyes so you may see it, because, though few men ever know it, they do, my friend, they do!" +Mcandlish Phillips

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi