I borrowed this beautiful picture from the St. Gerard Society's facebook page today...because, they posted my all-time favorite prayer: The Memorare.
I learned this most powerful prayer in the 5th grade. And, I CHEATED on the test! I still can't believe it to this day. I had simply forgotten that we were to memorize The Memorare and write it word-for-word for a grade. I remember being horrified and panic-stricken when Mrs. Sullivan handed out the blank white-lined paper (I was a good student and these things simply didn't happen to me!)...until I looked over and saw one of the "bad" kids (still remember his name!) hiding his religion book in his lap and copying the prayer (it was on the inside cover of our religion book).
Did I dare!? Although it was totally out of character for me to cheat, I think I was more scared of failure...so I did the same thing. And, I did not get caught (Thank goodness...I probably never would've felt the same about myself again I had let my parents and teacher down that much!).
But, I DID repent (I had a nicely developed guilty conscience even at age 10!). I promised Mary that I would not only learn the prayer for real, but that I would faithfully say it. Hmm...I didn't tell my teacher what I had done (so why am I surprised when my children do not confess!?).
And, for most of my life, I have kept my promise. And, this is a most powerful prayer. The words that stick out for me are these: ..Never was it known that anyone...was left unaided. Meaning, Mary will ALWAYS hear and answer my prayer. She will never leave me unaided. How's that for a promise?!
These days, I most often say this prayer in the middle of the night. And, though I most certainly do pray it for important intentions, I most often pray it to go back to sleep! As I'm sure most of us know, it can be a terrible feeling to be lying there wide awake and knowing that in a few short hours, a new day will begin...whether you are rested and ready or not! Not to mention, my fears and anxieties are very heightened at night. So, I pray the Memorare...
And...I always fall back to sleep. Coincidence? Perhaps (chances are good that I would eventually drift back to sleep, I guess). But, I always wake up feeling refreshed and renewed. Unless I'm pregnant (when not even heavenly intervention can help me shake the drowsiness!), I can function well the next day even on just a few hours of sleep. If Mary cares about something as trivial as my rest, imagine her power for more important matters!!!!!!
I don't think kids in Catholic school have to write prayers from rote memory anymore. At least, I hope not...my years as an education major taught me that there are much better methods! But, I will be making sure that my children all know this prayer by heart. And, I guess I should forgive myself (27 years later) for cheating...the outcomes have been heavenly :).