Prayer and Meditation
There is a lot of praying in spiritism and for a good reason. Praying activates your brain! Praying and meditating strengthens your spiritual abilities and connects you to the world of spirits. Neurotheology, or Spiritual Neuroscience, is not "new" per say but it has become a very popular topic to read about. Andrew Newberg is a scientist and author of many books including "How God Changes Your Brain", shows through neural scanning that praying, from a biological point of view, can dramatically change your brain. Different parts of our brains light up when we pray and most importantly the frontal lobe. In Yoga there is talk of a "Third Eye" or psychic center. They say if you open this Third Eye Chakra you can unlock hidden potential in the brain. Mantras are very important in Eastern religions. Yogic and Buddhist chants aim to calm the mind and make it steady. Mantras, or recitations of chants, can prepare the mind for meditation or be the meditation itself. If you are inclined to learning Yoga mantras I recommend any books by Thomas Ashley-Farrand.
Eastern religions have always taught that praying, meditating, chanting, and singing liturgical songs have dramatic influences on a person's peace of mind. People who pray and "experience God", however you want to define that, have an increased capacity for kindness, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, and empathy. They are less morbid and show less fear of death. And to Hindus it is not so much about who "God" is. Because God is within all things, and all things exist in God. Different gods and goddesses are prayed to such as Shiva, Krishna, and Ganesha to name the most popular. Each of those deities represents a particular energy and serves a different function. And it is exactly the same idea in Puerto Rican Vodou.
The spirits are not just anthropomorphized or abstract thoughts. They are real, and they are listening. Here is an interesting take away from one of Andrew Newberg's studies between Buddhist monks' brains while praying opposed to Franciscan nuns. When the nuns prayed they had the same increased activity in the frontal lobe just like the monks but also had an increase in the inferior parietal lobe (the language area of the brain). They believe that is because it is a verbally based prayer rather than visualization. All of that might seem to be obvious biologically but there are moral and social implications by these studies too. I'm not suggesting that Christian nuns prayers are stronger because they can light up their language center. All I am saying is that we know praying and meditating changes your brain chemistry... and for the better.
I suggest taking the time to check out Dr Newberg's books about how praying changes the brain, as well as how praying changes the way we view reality. But wait! You don't have to read anything... try it yourself. This book's goal is to have you praying about 15 minutes a day. Sitting in front of your boveda, in the dark with a candle going, while praying your rosary and/or selected prayers regularly. Regularity is the key, not so much the context of your day (how you feel and if you want to or not). You need to sit down and "do the work" everyday if you want to experience this "magical change" I am telling you about. And you have to do it when you're happy, or sad, or anxious, or tired. Don't miss a day. Some prayers are Catholic, some from the books of Alan Kardec, and there are also prayers to "Folk Saints" and Orishas.
The overall themes in the prayers include: Repentance for wrong doing Praying for forgiveness of sins on behalf of oneself and other spirits. Asking for protection and guidance. Asking for something. Asking for the removal of something. These prayers show god/ourselves/the universe/spirits our humility in understanding that we are just limited human beings having a seriously limited experience of reality. It also shows that we understand we are all in the same boat. These prayers might be difficult to squeeze out, I'm not going to lie. If you are prideful or holding on to a lot of emotional baggage, these prayers are going to be work. You might even experience a melt down. There could be a purging that starts to happen from deep within. Mild depression might set in for a period. I am very serious. I want to include a category that was not mentioned above I think is important. Confession.
I feel that confessing your sins to God is a good thing. So if God is God why do you need to confess anything? Because you need to own it! You need to acknowledge you made a mistake. If you own your faults and take responsibility for your actions you are making spiritual progress. Saying these prayers does not negate you from any responsibility, actually it's the opposite. These prayers, I am going to say should, stimulate in you the desire to do good. The language is old and archaic. A lot of the Christian language that is used might bring back some very unpleasant feelings and memories associated with abuses from the Church. When this happens the best thing you can do is recognize the associations upsetting you, name the trauma, sit with it dispassionately, and then try to let it go. Holding on to anything is not helping you move forward. The fear, shame, anger, doubt, and all other unpleasant feelings you do not want to have will pop up and get nasty with you. You must be that spiritual warrior, on behalf of yourself, and press on ever forward. Being able to admit you are wrong is a virtue. Not holding onto anything? Priceless.
At the "basest level" a man might say a prayer asking for a petition believing that if he begs for forgiveness he might get extra points. Or get faster/bigger results from acting contrite. But on a "higher level" of awareness you recognize that you make choices conscientiously or not everyday that cause harm to others. A lot of harm we cause we will never know the repercussions of. Why? Because everything you think, everything you say, and everything you do vibrates through the entire universe. Words can kill. We see this when kids are bullied and then take their life. Even the things we do not do can cause harm. That's what happens when a friend sees downward spiraling behavior of another friend and fails to act. If you look at the world this way then it's easy to ask God for forgiveness. The goal is to live in a world where no one gets harmed.
How to pray the Most Holy Rosary
When you sit down to pray the Rosary you will meditate on a different Mystery depending on the day. The Joyful Mysteries are said on Mondays and Saturdays. The Luminous Mysteries, or mysteries of light, are said on Thursdays. The Sorrowful Mysteries are said on Tuesdays and Fridays. The Glorious Mysteries are said on Wednesdays and Sundays. We will go over all the mysteries together, what to meditate on while reciting the prayers, and what your affirmation should be when praying them.
To say the rosary makes the sign of the cross and kiss the crucifix. Begin by reciting the “Apostles Creed” on the crucifix then say the “Our Father” on the first large bead. Say three “Hail Marys” on the next three beads followed by one “Glory Be” and one “Oh My Jesus”. Then announce the first of the five mysteries being contemplated that day. Recite the “Our Father” again on the next large bead followed by ten “Hail Mary”, a “Glory Be”, and an “Oh My Jesus”. After you have completed all five mysteries say the “Hail Holy Queen” and “Final Prayer”. After you have finished with the Rosary prayers you can say the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Then you have completed praying the Most Holy Rosary. Let’s go over all the mysteries now. While praying each “decade” of the Rosary, when done correctly, you will be meditating on a scene from the Gospel announced. Each meditation inspires an affirmation to imitate the faith of Mary and Jesus.
The Joyful Mysteries
The Annunciation: The angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that God wishes her to become the mother of his son. Mary obeys with humility and joy. (Luke 1:26-38) Affirmation: I will be humble and courteous towards all. The Visitation. (Luke 1:39-56)
The Visitation: Mary visits St. Elizabeth who will become mother of Saint John the Baptist. She remains with Elizabeth lovingly for three months. Resolution: I will help my neighbor in need.
The Nativity: Jesus Christ the Son of God is born in a stable. His mother places him in a manger. He’s visited by shepherds and Wise men. (Luke 2:1-14) Affirmation: Christ became man, I will become Christlike.
The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple: In obedience to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph take the infant Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to his Heavenly Father. (Luke 2:29-32) Affirmation: I will obey the laws of God as Jesus, Mary, and Joseph did.
The finding of the child Jesus in the temple: On having lost Jesus Mary and Joseph seek him. After three days, they find him in the temple talking to the Learned men. (Luke 2:48-52) Affirmation: I will fulfill my daily duties.
The Luminous Mysteries
Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River: Jesus appears in the Jordan and insists that John baptize him. As this occurs the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove as God proclaims, ”This is my beloved son”. (Matthew 3:13-17) Affirmation: As Christ was baptized, I will also submit to his Father’s will.
Jesus self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana: When Christ changed water into wine we see you marry in guise of a teacher and intercessor as you urged the servants to do what Jesus commands. (John 2:1-12) Affirmation: As Mary tells people to “do whatever he tells you”, I will do what Christ wants of me.
Jesus proclaims the Kingdom of God: As Jesus announced the Kingdom, he called all to conversion and forgiveness of sins, saying, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 1:14;2:17) Affirmation: I will strive to be worthy to enter Christ's Kingdom through his example.
The Transfiguration: The Transfiguration shows the glory of the Godhead shining forth from the face of Christ. Peter, James, and John witness Jesus' face and clothes become dazzling with light, as he spoke with Moses and Elijah. (Luke 9:28-36) Affirmation: God revealed himself to us. I will always live my life for Christ.
Jesus’ institution of the Holy Eucharist: Christ offers bread and wine as symbols of his body and blood instituting a sacrificial memorial of his death and resurrection for the salvation of the world. (Mark 26:17-35) Affirmation: I will receive Christ regularly at Holy Mass and consecrate myself to him forever.
The Sorrowful Mysteries
Agony in the garden: Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane. The Thought of his coming sufferings and of our sins causes him to sweat blood. (Matthew 26:38-39) Affirmation: Jesus, I will pray with all my heart.
The Scourging: Our Lord Jesus Christ is stripped, bound to a pillar, and cruelly scourged until his innocent body is covered with wounds and blood. (John 19:1) Affirmation: Jesus I will keep my body pure.
The Crowning of Thorns: A crown of thorns is pressed into the head of Jesus. His eyes are filled with tears and blood. His executioners mock and spit on him. (Mark 15:16-17) Affirmation: Jesus, I will banish unclean thoughts.
The Carrying of the Cross: Weighed down by the cross, Jesus patiently walks the road to Calvary. Mary makes the stations of the cross with her dying son. (Jorn 19:17) Affirmation: I will bear my cross patiently.
The Crucifixion: Fastened to the cross by nails, Jesus, after three hours of agony dies in the presence of his Mother. (John 19:28) Affirmation: I accept the death God has prepared for me with all the pains that may accompany it.
The Glorious Mysteries
The Resurrection: Jesus rises from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday. He conquered death and opens the gates of heaven. (Mark 16:6-8) Affirmation: I will live with Christ so that I may rise with him.
The Ascension: Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus ascends, in the presence of his Mother and his disciples into heaven. (Acts 1:10-11) Affirmation: I will follow the example of Christ on earth, because I hope to be with him in heaven.
The Descent of the Holy Spirit: Ten days after the ascension, the Holy Spirit descends in tongues of fire upon Mary and the disciples. (Acts 1:4) Affirmation: I will love God and my neighbor.
The Assumption: The Apostles go to the tomb where they had laid the body of the Mother of God. They find that the angels had borne their Queen to Heaven. (Song of Songs 2:3-6) Affirmation: I will praise Mary through the rosary.
The Coronation: The Mother of God, to the joy of all the angels and saints, is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth by her Divine Son. (Luke 1:51-54) Affirmation: I will love Mary as my queen and mother.
Our Lady’s Promise
“I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary, keep me company for a quarter of an hour,while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation.”
The Holy Rosary Prayers
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I believe in God, the Father almighty creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father almighty. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, Now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Glory Be Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Oh My Jesus Oh my Jesus, forgive us of our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen.
Hail Holy Queen
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, hail our Life, our Sweetness, and our hope. To your do we cry out, poor banished children of Eve. To you we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then most gracious advocate, Your eyes of mercy towards us, and after this, our exile, show unto us, the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us Oh Holy Mother of God, That we may become worthy of the promise of Christ. Amen. Final Prayer Oh God, by the life, death and resurrection of your only begotten son you purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech you, that while meditating upon the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Prayers For Mary
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, make intercession for the Holy Church, protect the Sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke thee in their necessities, and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of God, obtain for us from thy most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, burning charity, and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.
Oh Virgin of Guadalupe, mystical rose, Mother of the Americas, grant to our hearts the grace of loving and respecting life from its beginning, with the same love in which you conceived our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of angels, Queen of Heaven and Earth, God-bearer, protect our families so that they may always be united and bless the upbringing of our children. Dear mother, we love you. We thank you for your promise to help us in our needs. We trust in your love that dries our tears and comforts our souls. Teach us to find our peace in your son, Jesus, and bless us every day of our lives. Help us build a shrine in our hearts. Make it as beautiful as the one built for you on the mount of Tepeyac. A shrine full of trust, hope, and love for Jesus growing stronger every day. Mary, you have chosen to remain with us by giving us your most wonderful and holy self-image on St. Juan Diego's cloak. May we feel your loving presence as we look upon your face. Like St. Juan Diego, give us the courage to bring your message of hope to everyone. We beg you to grant us a love of all the Holy Sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your Son left us on earth. Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our consciences, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all others true joy and true peace, which come to us from your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to wash away the sin of the world. You are our mother and our inspiration. Hear our prayers and answer us. Amen.
Our Lady of Regla
Oh, Holy, Sweet Virgin Mary, Mother of God, daughter of the Supreme King, Lady of Angels, Mother of the Supreme Creator, Queen of all mercy and immense pity. As in the days of old when anyone in time of need or devotion went to your shrines, you showed your love and power in many ways. Sailors in great storms invoke you as Our Lady of Regla, and thereby free themselves of fear and the perils of sea. In dangerous voyages offerings are made at your sanctuary in Regla, so that desired ports are reached. Those being sought by their enemies are also saved through your image. The sick find themselves before your holy image and are healed by you. All limbs that are broken or weak, gain back their natural strength. Bring health and strength to those who seek to be worthy of you. Dear Lady we have faith through your intercession that we receive what we ask for in prayer. Although we know that, because of our faults, we do not deserve what we ask for, we beg you nevertheless to answer our prayers. Amen.
Our Lady Star of the Sea
Mary, Star of the Sea, light of every ocean, guides seafarers across all dark and stormy seas that they may reach the haven of peace and light prepared in Him who calmed the sea. As we set forth upon the oceans of the world and cross the deserts of our time, show us, 0h Mary, the fruit of your womb, for without your Son we are lost. Pray that we never fail on life's journey, that in heart and mind, word and deed, in days of turmoil and days of calm, we will always look to Christ and say, “Who is this that even wind and sea obey him?” Our Lady of Peace, pray for us! Bright Star of the Sea, guide us! Our Lady, Star of the Sea, pray for seafarers, pray for us. Amen.
Our Lady of Charity
Oh Holy Virgin and Lady of Charity! With happiness and humility I come to your feet. Virgin of miracles you cure the sick, you give hope where there is despair, you give strength to the afflicted, preserve from disgrace our families, protect the youth, guard our children. No one can explain all the miracles and fortitude you give to the souls that come to you. We your children thank you for all your graces. Amen.
Our Lady of Mercy
Blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay you with praise and thanks for having rescued a fallen world by your generous consent! Receive our gratitude, and by your prayers obtain the pardon of our sins. Take our prayers into the sanctuary of heaven and enable them to make our peace with God. Holy Mary, help the miserable, strengthen the discouraged, comfort the sorrowful, pray for your people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God. May all who venerate you feel now your help and protection. Be ready to help us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it your continual concern to pray for the people of God, for you were blessed by God and were made worthy to bear the Redeemer of the world, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.
Our Lady of Sorrows Mary Most Holy, Mother of Sorrows, by that intense martyrdom which thou did suffer at the foot of the Cross, during the three hours of Jesus' agony, deign to aid us all, children of thy sorrows, in our last agony, that by thy prayers, we from our bed of death may pass to Heaven's holy joys, there to adorn thy crown. Queen of Martyrs, pray for us! Queen of all Saints, pray for us!
Dedication of Oneself to Mary
Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, I am not worthy to be thy servant. But moved by thy marvelous compassion and my own desire to serve thee, here and now, in the presence of my guardian angel and the whole court of Heaven, I choose thee as my Lady, Advocate, and Mother. I firmly purpose to love and serve thee always, and to do all I can to inspire others to love and serve thee. O Mother of God and my own most compassionate Mother, I beseech thee, by the Blood which thy Son shed for me, to receive me into the number of thy servants as thy child and servant forever. Assist me in all my thoughts, words, and actions in every moment of my life, so that every step I take, every breath I draw, may be directed to the greater glory of my God. Through your powerful intercession, may I never again offend my beloved Jesus. Help me to love and glorify Him in this life. Help me to love thee also, dear and beloved Mother, and to go on loving thee forever in the happiness of Heaven. My Mother Mary, I commend my soul to thee now, and especially at the moment of death. Amen.
Novena for Our Lady of Guadalupe
Oh Virgin of Guadalupe, you choose to remain with us through your Holy Image, you who are our Mother, our health, and our life. Placing ourselves beneath your maternal care, and having recourse to you in all our necessities, we need nothing more. Oh Holy Mother of God, do not turn away from our petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer us. Amen.
Day 1: Dearest Lady of Guadalupe, fruitful Mother of Holiness, teach me your ways of gentleness and strength. Hear my humble prayer offered with heartfelt confidence to beg this favor (mention your intention here).
Day 2: Oh Mary, conceived without sin, I come to your throne of grace to share the fervent devotion of your faithful Mexican children who call to you under the glorious Aztec title of Guadalupe. Obtain for me a lively faith to do your Son’s holy will always: May His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Day 3: Oh Mary, whose Immaculate Heart was pierced by seven swords of grief, help me to walk valiantly amid the sharp thorns strewn across my pathway. Obtain for me the strength to be a true imitator of you. This I ask you, my dear Mother.
Day 4: Dearest Mother of Guadalupe, I beg you for a fortified will to imitate your divine Son’s charity, to always seek the good of others in need. Grant me this, I humbly ask of you.
Day 5: Oh most Holy Mother, I beg you to obtain for me pardon of all my sins, abundant graces to serve your Son more faithfully from now on, and lastly, the grace to praise Him with you forever in heaven.
Day 6: Mary, Mother of vocations, multiply priestly vocations and fill the earth with religious houses which will be light and warmth for the world, safety in stormy nights. Beg your Son to send us many priests and the religious. This we ask of you, Oh Holy Mother.
Day 7: Oh Lady of Guadalupe, we beg you that parents live a holy life and educate their children in a Christian manner; that children obey and follow the directions of their parents; that all members of the family pray and worship together.This we ask of you, Oh Holy Mother.
Day 8: With my heart full of the most sincere veneration, I prostrate myself before you, Oh most Holy Mother, to ask you to obtain for me the grace to fulfill the duties of my state in life with faithfulness and constancy.
Day 9: Oh God, You have been pleased to bestow upon us unceasing favors by having placed us under the special protection of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Grant us, your humble servants, who rejoice in honoring her today upon earth, the happiness of seeing her face to face in heaven. Conclude with: Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be