Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Healing Prayer for the Divorced and Separated

Many of us may know divorced and separated people who feel the loss of their families most profoundly during the Christmas season.  If you know someone like this, or if you are someone like this, the following prayer is for you (originally posted by Lisa Duffy on catholicmatch.com).  It's a novena, or nine-day prayer, to St. Francis of Assisi, best known as the patron saint of animals.  St. Francis began his life as a wealthy aristocrat, but gave up all of his possessions to serve the Church and the poor.  As a result, he was rejected by his own family, who should have loved him best.  Each of the daily prayers is meant to be followed by the recitation of one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be, and then a special plea to the saint: "St. Francis, patron of peace and families, pray for us."

Day 1:  "Leave all and follow Me."

St. Francis, God called you to a life of poverty and simplicity so that you might know Him intimately and share His peace that surpasses all understanding with others.  You left everything behind and followed Him.  My divorce causes me to feel connected to you as I have been stripped of relationships, belongings, self-worth, and understanding.  I pray to you now to petition God on my behalf, that He will grant me the grace I need to be a faithful follower during this very difficult time.  I believe in His goodness and I need Him now, more than ever.  Help me to stand firmly on my faith and trust in Him.  Most of all, I ask for peace in my heart.

Day 2:  Conversion of Heart

St. Francis, I thank you for the gift of your example to all those who follow Christ.  Your early struggles and later sincere conversion of heart is a great witness for me as I wrestle with my own struggles.  The circumstances surrounding my divorce make me feel imprisoned by anger, resentment, and worry over things I cannot control.  I beg you for the grace to be strong and for the grace to forgive those who have hurt me.  Most of all, I ask for peace in my heart.

Day 3:  Disapproved of and Disinherited by His Family

St. Francis, I come to you with a heavy heart seeking guidance and consolation.  Divorce has torn my family apart and I cannot reverse the incredible pain that has been inflicted on those I love.  I look to you, St. Francis, who suffered the rejection and disapproval of your own family as you followed the way of Christ and I beg you to pray for me to God, that He will take this terrible situation and bring good out of it.  Most of all, I ask for peace in my heart.

Day 4:  Reached Out to Serve Others

St. Francis, I ask for your prayers to God today on my behalf.  I am so focused on all the worries and negativity of my divorce situation and I need to refocus myself on goodness and love.  You selflessly served others by visiting the sick, cleaning churches, and preaching the gospel to anyone who would listen.  Heartened by your example, please ask God to give me the grace to look beyond my sadness to others who might also be hurting or in need, that I may imitate your example of love and service.  Most of all, I ask for peace in my heart.

Day 5:  Composed Songs and Hymns to God and Nature

St. Francis, lover of all God's creatures, thank you for living a life of charity and service.  There was no creature too small for you to tend to, and the love you brought to those who were suffering was constant until the day you died.  You lived with the animals and were inspired by the grandeur of nature.  Please pray to God for me as I persevere through these difficult times that I may find peace and consolation through reflecting on nature and all God's beautiful creations.  Most of all, I ask for peace in my heart.

Day 6:  Cared for Lepers

St. Francis, you cared for lepers, the people no one wanted to be around or have contact with.  Being divorced can make me feel like a leper at times because of the loss of relationships and the avoidance of people who do not understand what I am going through.  Ask God to grant me the grace to persevere in this struggle and to be more sensitive and kind to others who are going through a divorce.  Most of all, I ask for peace in my heart.

Day 7:  Sent Food to Thieves

St. Francis, you served everyone without hesitation or discrimination.  You even took care of thieves by sending them food with the hopes of bringing them closer to God through your kindness.  I am dealing with my own "thieves" and look to your example for encouragement so I can forgive and find a way to be charitable.  Please ask God to grant me these graces I need so badly.  Most of all, I ask for peace in my heart.

Day 8:  Bearer of the Stigmata

St. Francis, you loved God so much that you were blessed with the Stigmata.  Although you suffered greatly because of this, you never stopped serving others or preaching the gospel.  Please pray to God for me that I can do the same despite my great suffering.  Most of all, I ask for peace in my heart.

Day 9:  Imitator of Jesus

St. Francis, you have walked with me these past days and have been a great source of inspiration for me as I struggle with my difficulties.  From today forward, I will continue to look to your life's example, especially in your imitation of Jesus.  Ask God to grant me the graces I need to follow in your footsteps as I continue down this difficult road.  Most of all, I ask for peace in my heart.

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