Monday, May 18, 2009

Rogation Days

"Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you". (John 16:23)

We are just about to enter Rogation Days that are traditionally committed to the prayers of petition to Jesus in hope He may take and present them in Heaven to the Father on our behalf. We can also have a good chance now to reflect on our own prayer life. Do we like to pray? Do we always remember to say our morning and evening prayers, graces before and after meal? Are we praying with humility and zeal? We can join the prayers of the Church during Rogation Days for our own particular needs or the needs of those we love: "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent? "(Matthew 7:7-10). In this time of the year all nature around us come to life, the fields and gardens become beautifully green and colourful. But at any time, the young crops may be destroyed by thunderstorms and hurricanes. Traditionally, the petition prayer of Rogation days was the Litany of the Saints to be prayed once a day up to the Feast of Ascension: "From lightning and tempest, Lord save your people, From the scourge of earthquake, Lord, save your people, From plague, famine, and war, Lord, save your people, and Give and preserve the fruits of the earth, Lord, hear our prayer!" (Litany of Saints). It was Bishop Mamertus of Vienna who initiated the solemn procession with prayers during terrible famine that affected the town of Vienna. Needless to say, the petition was granted and Vienna was saved.
Since then, on three days before Our Lord's Ascension the faithful pray to the Lord not only for the protection of crops but for any temporal or spiritual needs. Our forefathers always took refuge in prayers and with so very good results! Sometimes we give up hope to quickly, thinking: "let then happen what is inevitable!". But God has given us promise of help in every need if we pray for His assistance. Sadly, nowadays, many Catholics depend more on themselves than on Divine help and they seem to have not sufficient trust in God. In fact, they are over-confident in times of prosperity and peace but turn into wrecks overwhelmed with self-pity in times of danger and misfortune. We think too little about God, we just have no time for prayers, we are too absorbed and busy with everyday life. However, how many calamities, misfortunes and natural disasters could be prevented by prayers, as the prophet said: "Behold the hand of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear" (Isaias 59:1).