Prayers of Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
A Prayer Offered at the Beginning of His Pontificate
The new successor of Peter in the see of Rome, today makes a fervent, humble, and trusting prayer: Christ, make me become and remain the servant of Your unique power, the servant of Your sweet power, the servant of Your power that knows no eventide. Make me be a servant. Indeed, the servant of Your servants.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 11-2-78]
“Do Whatever He Tells You”
Then His mother and His brothers came to Him but were unable to join Him because of the crowd. He was told, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see You.” He said to them in reply, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” Luke 8:19-21
Mother… at this solemn moment we listen with particular attention to your words: “Do whatever my Son tells you.”5 And we wish to respond to your words with all our heart. We wish to do what your Son tells us, for He has the words of eternal life. We wish to carry out and fulfill all that comes from Him, all that is contained in the Good News, as our forefathers did for many centuries.
Their fidelity to Christ and His Church, and their heroic attachment to the Apostolic See, have in a way stamped on all of us an indelible mark that we all share. Their fidelity has, over the centuries, borne fruit in Christian heroism and in a virtuous tradition of living in accordance with God’s law, especially in accordance with the holiest commandment of the Gospel – the commandment of love. We have received this splendid heritage from their hands at the beginning of a new age, as we approach the close of the second millennium since the Son of God was born of you, our alma mater; and we intend to carry this heritage into the future with the same fidelity with which our forefathers bore witness to it…
May our ears constantly hear with the proper clarity your motherly voice: “Do whatever my Son tells you.” Enable us to persevere with Christ. Enable us, Mother of the Church, to build up His Mystical Body by living with the life that He alone can grant us from His fullness, which is both divine and human.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 10-8-79, 14]
For Hope That Peace is Possible
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Jesus I trust in You!…Spes contra spem! [Hope against hope!] With God nothing is impossible!
What is especially possible is conversion, which can change hatred into love and war into peace.
And so our prayer becomes all the more insistent and trusting: Jesus, I trust in You!
[The Pope Speaks 39/3, 1994, 183]
For All the Suffering
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
The sick, the elderly, the handicapped, and the dying teach us that weakness is a creative part of human living, and that suffering can be embraced with no loss of dignity. Without the presence of these people in your midst you might be tempted to think of health, strength, and power as the only important values to be pursued in life.But the wisdom of Christ and the power of Christ are to be seen in the weakness of those who share His sufferings.
Let us keep the sick and handicapped at the center of our lives. Let us treasure them and recognize with gratitude the debt we owe them. We begin by imagining that we are giving to them; we end by realizing that they have enriched us.
May God bless and comfort all who suffer. And may Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and healer of the sick, make His light shine through human weakness as a beacon for us and for all mankind. Amen. [L’Osservatore Romano, 5-31-82, 3].
For Life, Liberty, and Justice
For lack of guidance, a people falls.
If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life!…May God guide this nation, and keep alive in it – for endless generations to come – the flame of liberty and justice for all.
May God bless you all! God Bless America!
[The Pope Speaks 39/2, 1994,86-87]
Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
May the Blessed Virgin, who had the joy of bringing and holding in her arms the Son of God made a Child, of seeing Him grow in wisdom, age, and grace before God and man, 2 help each one [of us] to endow his personal efforts on behalf of little children with active goodness, an attractive example, and self-giving love.
[The Pope Speaks 39/3, 1994,169]
For Reverence for Life
How precious is Your love, O God!…
For with You is the fountain of life,
and in Your light we see light.
Psalm 36:8, 10
Jesus proclaims that life finds it center, its meaning and its fulfillment when it is given up … We too are called to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters, and thus to realize in the fullness of truth the meaning and destiny of our existence.
We shall be able to do this because You, O Lord, have given us the example and have bestowed on us the power of Your Spirit. We shall be able to do this if every day, with You and like You, we are obedient to the Father and do His will.
Grant, therefore, that we may listen with open and generous hearts to every word which proceeds from the mouth of God. Thus shall we learn not only to obey the commandment not to kill human life, but also to revere life, to love it, and to foster it.
[Evangelium Vitae, n. 51]
For Everlasting Peace
I will appoint peace your governor, and justice your ruler.
No longer shall violence be heard of in your land,
or plunder and ruin within your boundaries.
To the Creator of nature and man, of truth and beauty, I pray:
Hear my voice, for it is the voice of the victims of all wars and violence among individuals and nations.
Hear my voice, for it is the voice of all children who suffer and will suffer when people put their faith in weapons and war.
Hear my voice when I beg You to instill into the hearts of all human beings the wisdom of peace, the strength of justice, and the joy of fellowship.
Hear my voice, for I speak for the multitudes in every country and in every period of history who do not want war and are ready to walk the road of peace.
Hear my voice and grant insight and strength so that we may always respond to hatred with love, to injustice with total dedication to justice, to need with the sharing of self, to war with peace.
O God, hear my voice and grant unto the world Your everlasting peace.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 3-9-81,14]
For the American President, Congress, and Supreme Court
Give the king Thy justice, O God,
and Thy righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge Thy people with righteousness, and Thy poor with justice!…
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor!
For all of you I pray to Almighty God that He may grant you the gift of wisdom in your decisions, prudence in your words and actions, and compassion in the exercise of the authority that is yours, so that in your noble office you will always render true service to the people.
God Bless America!
[L’Osservatore Romano, 12-29-79m 12]
For Every Family On Earth
Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways!…
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
Your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
Psalm 128:1, 3-4
Lord, from You every family in heaven and on earth takes it name. Father, You are Love and Life.
Through Your Son, Jesus Christ, born of woman, and through the Holy Spirit, the fountain of divine charity, grant that every family on earth may become for each successive generation a true shrine of life and love.
Grant that Your grace may guide the thoughts and actions of husbands and wives for the good of their families and of all the families of the world.
Grant that the young may find in the family solid support for their human dignity and for their growth in truth and love.
Grant that love, strengthened by the grace of the sacrament of Marriage, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass.
Through the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that the Church may fruitfully carry out her worldwide mission in the family and through the family.
We ask this of You, who are Life, Truth, and Love with the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 5-25-80, 19]
To God for Guidance
With all my heart I seek You;
let me not stray from Your commands…
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of Your law.
I am a wayfarer of earth;
hide not Your commands from me…
Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
and I will meditate on Your wondrous deeds…
Your compassion is great, O Lord…
Psalm 119:10, 18-19, 27, 156
O God, You are our Creator.
You are good and Your mercy knows no bounds.
To You arises the praise of every creature.
O God, You have given us an inner law by which we must live.
To do Your will is our task.
To follow Your ways is to know peace of heart.
To You we offer our homage.
Guide us on all the paths we travel upon this earth.
Free us from all the evil tendencies which lead our hearts away from Your will.
Never allow us to stray from You.
O God, judge of all humankind, help us to be included among Your chosen ones on the last day.
O God, Author of peace and justice, give us true joy and authentic love, and a lasting solidarity among peoples.
Give us Your everlasting gifts. Amen!
May the God of mercy, the God of love, the God of peace bless each of you and all the members of your families!
[The Pope Speaks 37/4, 1992, 213]
For The Faith Of God’s People
Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13
May your faith be strong; may it not hesitate, not waver, before the doubts, the uncertainties which philosophical systems or fashionable movements would like to suggest to you. May it not descend to compromise with certain concepts, which would like to present Christianity as a mere ideology of historical character, and therefore be placed at the same level as so many others, now outdated.
May your faith be joyful, because it is based on awareness of possessing a divine gift. When you pray and dialogue with God and when you converse with me, [may you] manifest the you of this enviable possession.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 11-3-80, 3]
For Responses to God’s Call
Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord?
1 Chronicles 29:5
Let us pray that the most holy mysteries of the risen Christ and of the Spirit, the Paraclete, may enlighten many generous people, ready to serve the Church with greater readiness. Let us pray for the pastors and their collaborators, that they may find the right words in putting before the faithful the message of the priestly and consecrated life. Let us pray that in all parts of the Church the faithful may believe with renewed fervor in the Gospel ideal of the priest completely dedicated to the building up of theKingdom of God: and let us pray that they support such vocations with generosity.
Let us pray for the young people, to whom the Lord extends His invitation to follow Him more closely, that they may not be drawn away by the things of this world, but may open their hearts to the loving voice that is calling them. Let us pray that they may feel capable of dedicating themselves for their whole lives, “with undivided heart,” to Christ, the Church, and souls. Let us pray that they may believe that grace gives them the strength to make this gift, and that they may see the beauty and greatness of priestly, religious, and missionary life.
Let us pray for families, that they may succeed in creating a Christian environment favorable to the important religious choices of their children. And at the same time with all our hearts let us thank the Lord that in these recent years, in many parts of the world, many young and not so young people are responding in growing numbers to the divine call.
Let us pray that all priests and religious may be an example and an encouragement to those who have been called, by their availability and humble readiness,…to accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to transmit to others the fruits of love and peace, to give them that certainty of faith from which derive the profound understanding of meaning of human existence and the capacity to introduce moral order into the life of individuals and of the human setting.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 1-14-80]
To Avoid Grieving The Spirit
May [the] Counselor – the “Spirit of truth” – be with us through His holy gifts! May there be with us wisdom and understanding, knowledge and counsel, fortitude, piety, and the holy fear of God, so that we may always know how to discern what comes from You and to distinguish what comes from the “spirit of the world,” or even from the “ruler of this world.”
Save us from “grieving Your Spirit”:
–by our lack of faith and lack of readiness to witness to Your Gospel “in deed and in truth”, –by secularism and by wishing at all costs to conform to the mentality of this world; –by a lack of that love which is “patient and kind,” which “is not boastful” and which “does not insist on its own way,” which “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” – that love which “rejoices in the right” and only in the right. Save us from grieving Your Spirit: –by everything that brings inward sadness and is an obstacle for the soul; –by whatever causes…divisions; –by whatever makes us a fertile soil for all temptations.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 4-5,12-82,3]
Thanksgiving for the Eucharist
For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast!
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
O Christ the Savior, we give You thanks for Your redeeming sacrifice, the only hope of men!
O Christ the Savior, we give You thanks for the Eucharistic breaking of bread, which You instituted in order to really meet Your brothers, in the course of the centuries!
Christ the Savior, put into the hearts of the baptized the desire to offer themselves with You and to commit themselves for the salvation of their brothers!
You who are really present in the Blessed Sacrament, spread Your blessings abundantly on Your people…Amen.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 7-27-81, 2]
To Christ In The Blessed Sacrament
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst…Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you…For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
John 6:35, 53, 55-56
“Lord, stay with us.”
These words were spoken for the first time by the disciples of Emmaus. Subsequently in the course of the centuries they have been spoken, an infinite number of times, by the lips of so many of Your disciples and confessors, O Christ…
I speak the same words today. I speak them to invite You, Christ, in Your Eucharistic presence, to accept the daily adoration continuing through the entire day, in this temple, in this basilica, in this chapel.
Stay with us and stay, from now on, every day, according to the desire of my heart…
Stay! That we may meet You in the prayer of adoration and thanksgiving, in the prayer of expiation and petition, to which all those who visit this basilica are invited.
Stay! You who are at one and the same time veiled in the Eucharistic mystery of faith and are also revealed under the species of bread and wine, which You have assumed in this sacrament.
Stay! That Your presence in this temple may be incessantly reconfirmed, and that all those who enter her may become aware that it is Your house, “the dwelling of God…with men,” and, visiting this basilica, may find in it the very source of life and holiness that gushes from Your Eucharistic heart.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 12-14-81, 10-11]
To The Merciful Love Of The Crucified King
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5
Merciful Love, we pray to You, do not fail!
Merciful Love, be tireless!
Be constantly greater than every evil which is in man and in the world. Be greater that that evil which has increased in our century and in our generation!
Be more powerful with the power of the crucified King!
“Blessed be His Kingdom which is coming.”
[L’Osservatore Romano, 4-30-79,7]
To the Spirit of Light and Love
“No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him, ” God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God…Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit…
1 Corinthians 2:9-10,12-13
May the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Pentecost, help you to clarify what is ambiguous, to give warmth to what is indifferent, to enlighten what is obscure, to be before the world true and generous witnesses of Christ’s love, for no one can live without love.
[L’Osservatore Romano, 6-16-80]
Beneath the Cross of the Crucified King
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God…We preach Christ crucified,…Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-25
And behold: we who… are standing… beneath the cross of the ages, wish, through Your cross and passion, O Christ, to cry out today that mercy [which] has irreversibly entered in to the history of man, into our whole human history—and which in spite of the appearances of weakness is stronger than evil. It is the greatest power and force upon which man can sustain himself, threatened as he is from so many sides…
Holy is God.
Holy and strong.
Holy immortal One, have mercy on us.
Have mercy: eleison: misere.
May the power of Your love once more be shown to be greater than the evil that threatens it. May it be shown to be greater than sin…
May the power of Your cross, O Christ, be shown to be greater than the author of sin, who is called “the prince of this world.”
For by your blood and Your passion You have redeemed the world!
[L’Osservatore Romano, 4-27-81,8]
A Final Prayer
Jesus said…”Abide in Me, and I in you…for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
I leave you now with this prayer: that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to each one of you, that He will give you the strength to go out and profess that you are Christian, that He will show you that He alone can fill your hearts. Accept His freedom and embrace His truth, and be messengers of the certainty that you have been truly liberated through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This will be the new experience, the powerful experience, that will generate, through you, a more just society and a better word.
God bless you and may the joy of Jesus be always with you!
[L’Osservatore Romano, 11-5-79, 2]