What do you do if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road with a flat tyre and your jack isn’t working? What if your child is in hospital or your aunt shows up at your door late at night drunk and about to pass out? What do you do if your mother is suffering from mental illness and she’s having a meltdown in front of your kids? Well, try to get physical help. Call a breakdown vehicle, the police, a doctor, a therapist or a priest. But also, pray.
What follows is a small toolbox of prayers that we can use when we’re in a precarious situation and in need of immediate spiritual assistance. We should always start with the basics such as the Our Father and Hail Mary – always a good idea when we’re under pressure. But we can also appeal to the saints to help us. Think of them as your soul’s personal paramedics, who, since they’ve also lived through difficult times, can help us when we are experiencing an emergency of our own.
We can pray with St Dymphna or St Gemma Galgani when we have a migraine or our friend is feeling depressed. We can call upon St Joseph, Jesus’s adoptive father, to help when our son or daughter has a dangerous fever. We can ask St Peregrine to pray with us if we are suffering from illness or get news that a colleague has cancer.
All prayers should ultimately be directed to God, so even though the saints can serve as advocates and friends, bringing knowledge and assistance to our time of need, keep the Almighty in the forefront of your mind and heart. Our heavenly helpers would want us to do that too.
Here are three prayers that all of us should keep with us and memorise.
St Francis de Sales’s prayer for inner peace is one of my favourites. Whenever fear has a grip on you or you’re experiencing self-doubt, or simply whenever you’re in trouble, this prayer brings great comfort:
How to continue reading…
This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week
The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection