Christe, Audi Nos

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Hear, O Lord, my prayer: and let my cry come to Thee. Turn not away Thy face from me: in the day when I am in trouble, incline Thy ear to me. In what day soever I shall call upon Thee, hear me speedily.[1]

Attend to my supplication: for I am brought very low.[2]

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer, and attend to the voice of my petition.[3]

CHRIST, hear us. So we cry constantly, and when He inclines His ear, and bends down to our littleness, what have we to ask? Does He not often find our cry has been mechanical, and that no petition follows? And when we have one in readiness, is it always a wise one? We are told that we often ask and “receive not, because we ask amiss.” What then are those things for which we should ask? David is a great model of prayer, so we shall not do ill if we make some of his petitions our own. On glancing through the Psalms we find he constantly prays to be delivered from his enemies. We have no greater enemy than self; all the rest, whether human or diabolical, can do us no real harm, unless we choose. Their very efforts, if we use them aright, will but promote our eternal interests; so let us pray that we may obtain the victory over self and selfishness in all its subtle forms. He cries again to the Lord, and begs Him to pardon him his sins. So a prayer for merciful forgiveness is always acceptable to God. And on another occasion he says: “Give joy to the soul of Thy servant.” Holy joy is therefore a grace we may lawfully ask. St John Berchmans used to say the “Hail Mary” three times every night to obtain it; nor did he ask in vain, for he was known among his fellow-religious as “the joyful saint.” But of all David’s prayers, there is none more far-reaching in its consequence than his cry: “In quacumque die invocavero te, exaudi me velociter – In whatever day I shall call upon Thee, hear me speedily.” This petition is a very masterpiece of comprehensiveness, for could we but induce the Lord to hearken to us favourably at all times, we should indeed be able to verify in our persons the truth of the words “that a man of prayer is all-powerful.” “In whatever day.” He does not limit the request to “the day of trouble,” but begs to be heard in whatever day he calls on the Lord. In the day of joy and thanksgiving, listen indulgently to the words of praise that rise to my lips. When we use the aspiration taught us from our childhood in the Catechism, and pray for the grace of divine love, saying: “O my God, teach me to love Thee”; or when things are well with me, and I feel it is good for me to adhere to my God, and I cry out with St Augustine and St Ignatius: “Never permit me to be separated from Thee”; at those times hear me speedily, O Lord. And when I pray for those I love, for my brothers and sisters throughout the world – for is not the whole human race akin? – oh, then bend down Thine ear and hearken to my prayer! When I pray for all in trouble, for all who are stricken by sickness, misfortune, remorse – for those in fear of their lives by violence, or in danger of starvation from poverty; for our brothers all over the world; young men struggling against the almost overwhelming tide of temptation to be encountered at the outset of life; careworn fathers of families, threatened with ruin, perhaps in consequence of some false or imprudent step; for our sisters, unhappy wives and mothers, or for young girls on the verge of being entangled in the meshes of some dangerous attachment; for little children in want or misery, or suffering from neglect or misunderstanding; for the troubled and perplexed; for the overworked, the sorrowful, the broken-hearted of all classes of society, of all countries, tribes and nations; whenever we pray, and for whatever we pray, in Thy loving compassion hear us, O Lord; and as David said, “Hear us speedily,” for to us frail, puny mortals, a little delay seems a long period. As St Bernard says so simply: “A little while! O truly a little while! But how long a little while may be!”[4]

But whether we have a longer or shorter time to wait, we know that no prayer is uttered in vain, and every petition will have its answer, if not the one we expect, at any rate one which our all-wise Lord knows to be the best for us. What could be more consoling than the following passage on this very subject?

“The time may be delayed, the manner may be unexpected, but the answer is sure to come. Not a tear of sacred sorrow, not a breath of holy desire poured out in prayer to God will ever be lost, but in God’s own time and way will be wafted back again in clouds of mercy, and fall in showers of blessings on you and on those for whom you pray.”

Christ, hear us!


[1] Ps. 101:2, 3.

[2] Ps. 141:7.

[3] Ps. 85:6.

[4] Serm. 74, on Cant.