I’m completely and utterly allergic to those pretty looking books with flowers or a scenic picture or something trendy on the cover that contain devotional readings. I’ve been allergic to devotionals for quite some years now, and the allergy gets worse with time, and so I must have minimal exposure in order to survive my spiritual life. While I might be being just slightly ridiculous here, what is true is that I can’t stand those little books. The seem like we are trying too hard to say not much, and instead are wanting to be relevant, trendy, cute, or whatever. Not that I have a problem with any of those things in and of themselves. But me and devotional books don’t get along.
Thankfully for me, those books aren’t the only things out there that are “devotions,” and I have found some that work very well for me and are such a great addition to my spirituality. With things the way they are in my life, I have to put in focused and consistend effort into my walk with Jesus. The light of Christ is amazing, but once in a while the darkness calls and the way to shut it up is to be with Jesus when it calls. It’s also imperative to my recovery, as I have learned. I’ve disappointed myself a few times lately with my recovery process and so that requires soul searching as well.
My absolute favorite devotion and prayer is, of course, the rosary, which I talk and write about often, until everyone gets sick of hearing about it and then some. We all have our things we are nerds about, so bear with me, okay? My St. Michael chaplet is a devotion that I’ve started praying every day as it only takes about fifteen minutes to pray it all the way through and pray it well. One of the benefits of praying something the same every day is that those words, even if I don’t have them quite memorized, sink into my mind, and heart, and soul.
The prayers still change me whether I can remember the words or not. I go out into the world calmer for having prayed these things, they transform my little, everyday interactions. Perhaps I smile at the cashier and tell her I’m sorry she’s having a shit day instead of saying something mean because I’m annoyed. The changes are small and subtle, but important. It’s a way to keep my mind focused on Jesus where it needs to be, and specific requests from the prayers on that chaplet are essential for me.
In the chaplet, there are nine different saluations to correspond with the nine kinds of angels in heaven. There are requests to the corresponding angels, for example: at the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the THRONES, may it please God to infuse into our hearts a true and earnest spirit of humility. Amen. I need this spirit of humility terrible, more than I need a lot of other things in life, and so praying this salutation and making this request I think puts that idea in me and keeps it in me until I pray it again the next day. When it comes to recovery work, the fourth salutation is pretty good: at the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of DOMINATIONS, may it please God to grant us the grace to have dominion over our own senses and to correct our depraved passions. Amen.
The fifth salutation asks for help in keeping our souls safe from the wiles and temptations of the devil, and that’s one I need all the time. These are important things that I’m asking for in my prayers daily, just like I say my baptismal vows daily. One day this stuff ends up sinking in. It might be a day a long time from now, but eventually it does. The sixth salutation asks for deliverance from evil, the seventh for a spirit of obedience. I’m requesting the intercession of St. Michael, a saint I’ve needed help from a lot, the intercession of the holy angels, and I’m also asking Jesus for help.
Considering I need all the help that I can get, I think that asking all these saints and angels to pray is definitely useful and at best it can’t hurt. I also feel the prayers penetrating deep inside of me where they need to be, in a way where I can keep those words in me and therefore have a better chance of living into them. As I’ve said here often, prayer changes people, not things.
I have more devotions to write about in the upcoming weeks, so keep coming back!