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Prayers for Lent

Lent is a 40-day period of reflection and repentance leading up to the celebration of Easter. During this time, we examine our hearts and strive to imitate the way of Christ through acts of sacrifice and repentance, meditating on the mercy and grace that He offers us. As you observe Lent, let these prayers guide your times of contemplation.

5th sorrowful mystery - the crucifixion
The Crucifixion depicted in the Rosary Walk and Garden

From the Litany of the Most Precious Blood

Through Christ’s saving blood, we have assurance of our eternal salvation.

“O God, who by the Precious Blood of your Only Begotten Son
[You] have redeemed the whole world,
preserve in us the work of your mercy,
so that, ever honoring the mystery of our salvation,
we may merit to obtain its fruits.
Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.”

Praying the Psalms

The Psalms offer many opportunities for prayer — most of the Psalms, in fact, were originally prayers and praises from David and others to God. During Lent, the seven penitential Psalms — Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143 — are prayed to repent and ask for God’s mercy.

“Do not reprove me in your anger, Lord,
nor punish me in your wrath.

Have pity on me, Lord, for I am weak;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are shuddering.

My soul too is shuddering greatly—
and you, Lord, how long…?

Turn back, Lord, rescue my soul;
save me because of your mercy.” — Psalm 6:2-5

“Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.

Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.

crucifix ave maria chapel
Crucifixion as portrayed in the Ave Maria Chapel

For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.

Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes…

Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

You will let me hear gladness and joy;
the bones you have crushed will rejoice.

Turn away your face from my sins;
blot out all my iniquities.

A clean heart create for me, God;
renew within me a steadfast spirit.

Do not drive me from before your face,
nor take from me your holy spirit.

Restore to me the gladness of your salvation;
uphold me with a willing spirit.” — Psalm 51:3-14

Act of Contrition

Used to express penitence, the Act of Contrition is not confined to express repentance during Lent — it can be prayed at any time to renounce one’s sins.

“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.”

2nd Sorrowful-Scourging at Pillar
The 2nd Sorrowful Mystery mosaic from the Rosary Walk and Garden

Anima Christi

The Anima Christi — Latin for “Soul of Christ” — dates to the 14th century and is often associated with Saint Ignatius of Loyola, though it was likely penned before his time.

“Soul of Christ, be my sanctification.
Body of Christ, be my salvation.
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins.

Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains.
Passion of Christ, my comfort be.
O good Jesu, listen to me.
In Thy wounds I fain would hide,
Ne’er to be parted from Thy side,
Guard me, should the foe assail me.
Call me when my life shall fail me.
Bid me come to Thee above,
With Thy saints to sing Thy love,
World without end.
Amen.”

From Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

As we think on our sins, may we not forget the immense love of God, which far surpasses the severity of our sins.

“Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son
and recall the wonders of his love for us,
may be made worthy to receive
an overflowing measure of grace
from that fount of heavenly gifts.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.”

Sources:

Litany of the Most Precious Blood, USCCB.

Act of Contrition, USCCB.

Anima Christi, USCCB.

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, USCCB.

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