One of the great successes of 2017 was learning so many new prayers. Some of them were “old” prayers in a “new” language. Others were truly new to me — and I still don’t know their official English translations! Today, looking ahead to the rest of 2018, I anticipate adding many more Catholic prayers to my personal treasury.
But before I move forward, I want to look back one last time. These “Prayer by Prayer” posts usually begin with a report on the previous month’s challenge (Link). But I want to stretch my gaze just a little bit further today.
As I’ve said, the year was generally a success. Not only I have memorized new prayers in four different languages, but I also say them with good comprehension. Even better, I say them quite often! These are:
In Latin: The St. Michael Prayer and the Memorare;
In Portuguese: The Avé Maria, the Ó meu Jesus, and the Ó Jesus, é por Vosso amor;
In German: The Tischgebete (before and after meals) and St. Gertrude’s prayer for the Holy Souls;
In French: the Notre Père.
On the other hand, I had real trouble with the First Prayer of the Angel (Portuguese) and the Veni Sancte Spiritu (Latin). Maybe later this year I will try them again.
In general, I’ve also had a hard time with songs. Last month’s goal to learn another stanza of Veni, veni Emmanuel is just the latest example. This is one trend that I hope to reverse in 2018, starting immediately.
January’s Latin: Alma Redemptoris Mater
We can say that there are four “Marian seasons” in the Church’s liturgical year. (Source) Throughout Advent and Christmas, we meditate on Mary as a new mother. During Lent, we remember her role as co-redemptrix during her Son’s Passion and Death. In the Easter season, we hail her as the Queen of Heaven. And the rest of the time, we pray the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen), which brings all these Marian mysteries together.
I learned the Latin Salve Regina very soon after I started hearing the Traditional Latin Mass. But I need to work on the other three Marian antiphons, starting with Alma Redemptoris Mater.
It’s a little late in the liturgical year, but we’re still technically in the Christmas season until Candlemas (February 2). So it’s still appropriate!
You can probably already guess what February’s Latin prayer will be!
January’s Tagalog . . . ?
Another reason I’m still in the Christmas spirit is that I’m anticipating the Feast of the Sto. Niño. The Philippines has a special dispensation to celebrate the Fiesta Señor on the third Sunday of January.
Devotion to the Sto. Niño or Holy Child is widespread in the Philippines. You see this in our churches, our homes, and even our shops. You don’t, however, also hear it in our language. At least not the national language: There is no popular Panalangin sa Sto. Niño (Prayer to the Holy Child) that “everyone knows.” Perhaps there is one in Bisaya, the lingua franca of the South. I had really wanted one of the first new prayers of 2018 to be a “locally grown” one, but I can’t find one!
January’s Spanish: Jesusito de mi vida
While I’m still meditating on Our Lord as a Child, how about a prayer from my own childhood? In my post Spanish with My Grandmother, I wrote that she taught me the Jesusito (Little Jesus) prayer.
Jesusito de mi vida, Tu eres niño como yo
Por eso te quiero tanto y te doy mi corazon
What I didn’t say was that she also changed it a little. Instead of “Tu eres niño como yo” (You are a child like me), I learned to say: “Yo soy niño como tu” (I am a child like you). Only after her death did I learn this. And until my own death, I will never know why she made that change. In the meantime, I can get used to the original prayer — which she would have learned as a child.