This morning, I was reminded of one form of prayer which I have long neglected: the litany. Some Protestants have qualms about the litany and repetitive prayer in general, dubbing it “babbling like pagans” (Mt. 6:7), who thought that their prayer would be answered when they hit upon the right name for their god. But, Protestants ignore Psalm 135 (136 in the King James Bible), which repeats “for His mercy endureth forever” 27 times! Surely, the Bible is not to be judged as having vain repetition! Then, why ought a prayer form imitating Psalm 135 be judged as vain?
Another word for worship is adoration. The virtue of the litany lies in us being able to adore different facets of the same God, whose attributes, though perfectly simple in God, cannot be contained in one human word. And so, I recommend the Litany of the Sacred Heart to all in order to adore and recall the innumerable excellences of Jesus Christ, Noster Dominus et Salvator. One can also remind themselves of the excellences of his two parents, St. Mary and St. Joseph, as one begs their intercession. The Litany of the Saints is also a wonderful prayer, very long and happily so, because it reminds us of the various ways God led a great diversity of persons to heaven and so praises the Most Efficacious Salvation of God.
But, it is of immense importance to remind ourselves of God’s goodness, because suffering in our lives can cause us to forget God’s goodness, and the world, the flesh, and the devil try to blot out the memory of God. Rather than the true image of a Forgiving and Loving Father, they try to impose the image of a stern, demanding, and wrathful judge whose standards may never be met. Then, instead of approaching God with confidence that He will cleanse us from our iniquity, we shall rather run away and seek solace in amusements, which are often occasions of sin. The devil pounces on our own lack of faith to make us think that there is no longer hope of salvation–even though all that’s necessary is to be sorry and make a motion, even if only mental, to do the right! I myself confess that this morning, as I said the Litany of the Sacred Heart, doubts came to mind as I prayed verses about God’s mercy and patience, for which I repent in the bitterness of my heart.
This shows the necessity of constantly learning about God. One must never forget God’s goodness and mercy! Remembering God’s mercy allows us to approach Him without fear even if we have blackened our souls by the most vile and scandalous iniquity. After all, He did die for us, and it was not easy: an ordinary mortal would have died from agony to feel the anguish in Christ’s Heart as He said: “Amen I say to you, one of you is about to betray Me.” I write this because a certain atheist dubbed the Passion “a rough weekend.” If one considers the Most Dolorous Passion of Jesus Christ easy, that–as the atheist claimed–anyone might be willing to undergo it to save mankind, is it any wonder that this man supposes the Christ could take him or leave him? A most vile temptation of the devil! If we truly understood the anguish which racks the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the loss of a single soul, we would be willing to eat only bread and water for our entire lives to offer penance for them and beg their conversion. None of us can do that? Don’t worry: God holds none of our weakness against us even as he tries to make us more virtuous.