“Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything,
if what you ask for is compatible with My will.”
Prayer is to the soul what food is to the body. It is indispensable. For a healthy spiritual life, prayer is a prerequisite and is something that needs to become and remain a habit in our lives, day in and day out.
Pope Francis frequently reminds us of the necessity of prayer, both in what he says and in what he does – for example, prior to every foreign trip, he pays a visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and prays at length before the Icon of Our Lady as ‘Salus Populi Romani’, asking Her motherly intercession and assistance. He does the same every time he returns to Rome.
The Psalms use the beautiful analogy of prayer being like incense – indeed, this is precisely what incense is intended to symbolise, the rising of our prayers to Heaven;
“Let my prayer come before You, O Lord. Let it rise in Your presence like incense.”
(Short Responsory, Evening Prayer)
I remember as child being told that if you wanted a prayer answered, the surest way was to ask a nun to pray for your intention. And I think there was a lot of truth in this. Locally, there is a monastery of Poor Clare nuns and on those occasions when there is a critical need for spiritual assistance or support, I write to them and ask their prayers, which they always very generously give.
Convents and monasteries are generally powerhouses of prayer; the inhabitants are, after all, very skilled in this area, and their time is specially given to offering prayer of praise and of petition. It is no coincidence that so many Saints of the Church were Religious.
In the Diary of Saint Faustina, she clearly knows full well the importance of prayer – indeed, the entire devotion to the Lord as Divine Mercy is founded on prayer, particularly the prayer of the Chaplet itself, as well as the prayer – silent, or in words – that issues from the human heart and is directed to the Lord. The Image of Divine Mercy contains a short and very direct prayer – ‘Jesus, I trust in You’.
The Lord recommends the praying of the Chaplet over and over again – and He notes that it can be offered for any intention, so long as the intention is compatible with His will –
“Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying this Chaplet” (Diary, entry #1541)
The reminder about compatibility with the Divine Will is important to bear in mind – so often, we ask for something that is not compatible, and become angry or disappointed when the Lord does not give what we ask for. The Lord always knows what He is about; He will grant what accords with His will and He will always grant the graces necessary to conform ourselves to His will. Other times, our waiting is an opportunity to practice both patience and trust in the Divine Will. What we need to remember is that the Lord hears every prayer; how He chooses to answer is for Him to decide.
“Lord God, whose Name is holy and whose mercy is proclaimed in every generation; receive Your people’s prayer, and let them sing Your greatness with never-ending praise. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(Concluding Prayer from the Psalter, for Evening Prayer)