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#112 :: Prayer Card

June 1, 2004

Faith is an odd, powerful force – a combination of yearning and belief in the unbelievable. Prayer cards are little faith amplifiers, allowing you (if you believe) to draw on the faith of dead saints whose faith was more powerful, and to ask for them to help. They’re tools for bootstrapping yourself to grace with more effective prayer. Here’s what you’re supposed to say to St. Francis Xavier (namesake of my Catholic high school) when you want something in the world:

Prayer of Saint Francis Xavier (attributed to Fr. Marcello Mastrilli, S.J (17th cc.)

Most amiable and most loving Saint Francis Xavier, in union with thee I reverently adore the Divine Majesty. I rejoice exceedingly on account of the marvelous gifts which God bestowed upon thee. I thank God for the special graces He gave thee during thy life on earth and for the great glory that came to thee after thy death. I implore thee to obtain for me, through thy powerful intercession, the greatest of all blessings – that of living and dying in the state of grace. I also beg of thee to secure for me the special favor I ask. In asking this favor I am fully resigned to the Divine Will. I pray and desire only to obtain that which is most conducive to the greater glory of God and the greater good of my soul.

Feast Day: December 3.

And maybe that’s one of the problems I’ve had with organized religion – people believe that God can change their lives on earth. I’m cynical enough to believe in an observant God rather than an interventionist deity. (S)He went to all the trouble to set this huge, complex organism in motion, and sat back to watch. You’re on your own in the world, blessed with the family and friends you deserve, and you have to make the best of them and everything else. A little four-color, gilt-edged card of a long-dead saint waving a cross around may be an anchor of faith for some folks, but it’s just an artifact to me.

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