PRAYER FOR MISSIONARIES
St. Louis de Montfort
1. Memento, Domine, congregationis tuae, quam possedisti ab initio. Remember, Lord this Congregation which you have possessed from all eternity. You have made it your own from the beginning, ab initio, when your mind dwelt on it before time began. You made it your own from the beginning, ab initio, when you held it in your hand as you created the world out of nothing. You made it your own when you took it to your heart while your dear Son, dying on the cross, bedewed it with his blood, consecrated it by his death and entrusted it to his holy Mother's keeping.
2. Give free rein, then, O Lord, to your merciful intent and raise up men of your right hand whom you revealed through the prophetic insight of some of your greatest servants - Francis of Paola, Vincent Ferrer, Catherine of Sienna and so many others during the last century and even in our day.
3. MEMENTO. Ever keep this Congregation in mind, Almighty God, and, by the power of your right arm which has lost nothing of its strength, make it a living reality and lead it to perfection. Innova signa, immuta mirabilia, sentiamus adjutorium brachii tui: Great God, who can change lifeless stones into sons of Abraham, say but one word and it will be enough to send good workers to gather in your harvest, and missionaries worthy of the name to work in your Church.
4. MEMENTO. God of all goodness, remember your mercy of times past, and, in that same mercy, be ever mindful of this Congregation. Remember the promises you made to us, time and again, through your prophets and through your divine Son, that you would grant our just petitions.
Remember also the prayers of your servants in past ages. May their longings, their tearful pleadings, and the blood which they shed for your sake be ever in your sight and become a powerful claim on your mercy. But above all, bear in mind your dear Son: respice in faciem Christi tui. Look upon the face of your anointed one. The agony he suffered, the shame he endured, the loving complaint he uttered in the Garden of Olives: quae utilitas in sanguine meo, "Of what use is my death to you?", his cruel death and the blood he shed, all these cry out to you for mercy, so that, by this Congregation, his kingdom amy bring down the empire of his enemies and rise upon its ruins.
5. MEMENTO. Be mindful, Lord, of your Congregation, when you come to dispense your justice. Tempus faciendi, Domine, dissipaverunt legem tuam: it is time to act, O Lord, they have rejected your law. It is indeed time to fulfil your promise. Your divine commandments are broken, your Gospel is thrown aside, torrents of iniquity flood the whole earth carrying away even your servants. The whole land is desolate, ungodliness reigns supreme, your sanctuary is desecrated and the abomination of desolation has even contaminated the holy place. God of Justice, God of Vengeance, will you let everything, then, go the same way? Will everything come to the same end as Sodom and Gomorrah? Will you never break your silence? Will you tolerate all this for ever? Is it not true that your will must be done on earth as it is in heaven? Is it not true that your kingdom must come? Did you not give to some souls, dear to you, a vision of the future renewal of the Church? Are not the Jews to be converted to the truth and is this not what the Church is waiting for? All the blessed in heaven cry out for justice to be done: vindica, and the faithful on earth join in with them and cry out: amen, veni, Domine, amen, come, Lord. All creatures, even the most insensitive, lie groaning under the burden of Babylon's countless sins and plead with you to come and renew all things: omnis creatura ingemiscit, etc., the whole creation is groaning....
6. Lord Jesus, memento congregationis tuae: be mindful of your Congregation. Give your mother this new company so that you may renew all things through her and bring the era of grace to a close through Mary just as you began it through her. Da Matri tuae liberos, alioquin moriar: to this end, increase the number of those who call her Mother and serve her. If this is not to be so, let me die.
Da Matri tuae: it is for your Mother's sake that I make this request. It is she who gave you birth and nurtured you. Remembering this, how can you refuse me? Remember whose Son you are, and grant my plea. Remember what she means to you and what you mean to her, and fulfill my holy desires.
It is no personal favour that I ask, but something which concerns your glory alone, something you can and, I make bold to say, you must grant since not only are you true God having all power in heaven and on earth, but you are also the most dutiful of sons with an infinite love for your Mother.
7. What, then, am I asking for? Liberos, men who are free, priests who are free with the freedom that comes from you, detached from everything, without father, mother, brothers, sisters or relatives and friends as the world and the flesh understand them, without worldly possessions to encumber or distract them, and devoid of all self-interest.
8. Liberos: men who are free but still in bondage to your love and your will; men after your own heart who, without taint or impediment of self-love, will carry out your will to the full and, like David of old, lay low all your enemies, with the Cross for their staff and the Rosary for their sling: in baculo Cruce et in virga Virgine.
9. Liberos: men as free as the clouds that sail high above the earth, filled with the dew of heaven, and moving, without let or hindrance, according to the inspiration of the Spirit. They are included among those whom the prophet had in mind when he asked: qui sunt isti qui sicut nubes volant? Ubi erat impetus spiritus illuc gradiebantur, What men are these who move like clouds in the sky, wherever the Spirit leads them?
10. Liberos: free men. Men always available, always ready to obey you when those in authority speak. Always with the words of Samuel on their lips: praesto sum, here I am; always ready to be on the move and to suffer with you and for you, just as the Apostles were: eamus et moriamur cum illo, let us go and die along with him.
11. Liberos: true children of Mary whom she has conceived and begotten by her love, nurtured and reared, upheld by her and enriched with her graces.
12. Liberos: true servants of the Blessed Virgin who, like a Dominic of old, will range far and wide, with the holy Gospel issuing from their mouths like a bright and burning flame, and the Rosary in their hands, and bay like your watchdogs, burn like fire and dispel the darkness of the world like a sun. Their inspiration will be their authentic devotion to Mary which will be interior and devoid of all hypocrisy, exterior but not critical, prudent and well-informed, tender without indifference, constant without fickleness, holy without presumption. In this way, they will crush the head of the serpent wherever they go and ensure that the curse you have laid upon it of old will be fulfilled to the letter: inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem, inter semen tuum et semen ipsius et ipsa conteret caput tuum, I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed and he shall bruise your head.
13. True it is, indeed, great God, as you yourself have foretold, that the devil will lie in wait to attack the heel of this mysterious woman, that is, the little company of her children who will come towards the end of time. There will be great enmity between the blessed posterity of Mary and the accursed issue of Satan, the only enmity which you have instigated. The children of Belial will wage war against the children of your blessed Mother and afflict them with persecutions which will have no other outcome than to make more manifest, in a striking manner, the power of your grace, their courage and virtue, and the reality of your Mother's authority. It cannot be otherwise since, from the beginning of time, you have appointed this humble Virgin to crush this proud spirit under her heel: Ipsa conteret caput tuum.
14. Alioquin moriar: otherwise, I would be better dead. Would it not be better for me to be dead, Lord, than to see you offended daily so deliberately and with such impunity and, daily, to stand, myself, in ever-increasing danger of being swept away by the ever-swelling flood of iniquity? I would rather die a thousand deaths than endure such a fate. Send me your help from heaven or let me die.
Were it not for the hope that I have that, sooner or later, the interests of your glory will prevail and that you will hear this poor sinner's prayer, as you have heard so many others: iste pauper clamavit et Dominus exaudivit eum, I would make mine the ultimate plea of your prophet: tolle animam meam, take away my life. Yet, my trust in you is so great that I am inspired to cry out like another of your prophets: non moriar sed vivam et narrabo opera Domini, I will live and proclaim the Lord's mighty works. This I will do until the time comes when I can say with Simeon: nunc dimittis servum tuum in pace, quia viderunt oculi mei, etc., now, O Lord, you let your servant depart in peace because my eyes have seen your salvation.
15. MEMENTO. Holy Spirit, be ever mindful that it is you who, with Mary as your faithful spouse, are to bring forth and fashion the children of God. In her and with her, you brought forth the Head of the Church and, in the same way, you will bring all his members into being. Within the Trinity, none of the divine persons is begotten by you. Outside the Trinity, you are the begetter of all the children of God. All the saints who have ever existed or will exist until the end of time, will be the outcome of your love working through Mary.
16. The reign especially attributed to God the Father lasted until the Flood and ended in a deluge of water. The reign of Jesus Christ ended in a deluge of blood, but your reign, Spirit of the Father and the Son, is still unended and will come to a close with a deluge of fire, love and justice.
17. When will it happen, this fiery deluge of pure love with which you are to set the whole world ablaze and which is to come, so gently yet so forcefully, that all nations, Moslems, idolaters and even Jews, will be caught up in its flames and be converted? Non est qui se abscondat a calore ejus. Accendatur: none can shield himself from the heat it gives, so let its flames rise. Rather let this divine fire which Jesus Christ came to bring on earth be enkindled before the all-consuming fire of your anger comes down and reduces the whole world to ashes. Emitte Spiritum tuum et creabuntur et renovabis faciem terrae: when you breathe your Spirit into them, they are restored and the face of the earth is renewed. Send this all-consuming Spirit upon the earth to create priests who burn with this same fire and whose ministry will renew the face of the earth and reform your Church.
18. Memento Congregationis tuae: it is to be a congregation, a gathering, a selection, a picked handful of predestined men to be chosen by you from among those who are in the world: Ego elegi vos de mundo, I have chosen you from amidst the world.
You are to select from all these fierce wolves a flock of peaceful sheep; from all these ugly crows, a flight of pure doves and royal eagles; from all these buzzing hornets, a swarm of honey-bees; from all these slow-moving tortoises, a herd of nimble deer; from all these timid hares, a pride of bold lions.
Lord, congrega nos de nationibus, gather us in from everynation. Bring us together and unite us and may all the glory be given to your holy and mighty name!
19. You revealed the coming of this noble company to one of your prophets who concealed the secret of this revelation under the cloak of obscure but divinely inspired words:
1. Pluviam voluntariam segregabis, Deus, haereditati tuae et
infirmata est, tu vero perfecisti eam.
2. Animalia tua habitabunt in ea. Parasti in dulcedine tua paupera
3. Dominus dabit verbum evangelizantibus virtute multa.
4. Rex virtutum dilecti dilecti in speciei domus dividere spolia.
5. Si dormiatis inter medios cleros, pennae columbae deargentatae et
posteriora dorsi ejus in pallore auri.
6. Deus discernit caelestis reges super eam, nive dealbabuntur in
Selmon; mons Dei, mons pinguis.
7. Mons coagulatus, mons pinguis; ut quid suspicamini montes
8. Mons in quo beneplacitum est Deo habitare in eo, etenim Deus
habitabit in finem.
20. What is meant, Lord, by this abundant rain that you have stored up for your languishing heritage, if not these holy missionaries, Mary's children, whom you are to gather together and set apart from the rest of men for the good of your Church, at present so weakened and besmirched by the crimes of her children?
21. And who are these creatures and these poor folk who will dwell in the heritage you have given them and there feed on the divine sweetness you have prepared for them? They are none other than the poor missionaries, entirely dependent on Providence, who will feast to their heart's content on the spiritual delights you provide for them. They are none other than those mysterious animals described by Ezechiel who will have the kindly nature of a man - witness their selfless and beneficent love of their neighbour; the face and boldness of a lion - witness their holy anger, their burning and prudent zeal against the devil and the children of Babylon; the strength of an ox - witness their apostolic labours and their self-mortification; the soaring flight of an eagle - witness the height of their contemplation. Such will be the missionaries you have in mind for your Church. They will look kindly on their fellow-men, fearlessly on your enemies, impartially on themselves and, when they look on you, they will be carried away in contemplation.
22. These followers of the Apostles will preach with great power and effect. So powerful will their impact be that they will stir the minds and hearts of all who hear them. It is to them that you will give your word - dabit verbum; the very words of your own mouth and wisdom: dabo vobis os et sapientiam cui non poterunt resistere omnes adversarii vestri, and none of their enemies will be able to withstand them.
23. It is among these men so dear to you, that you, Holy Spirit, as the greatest gift that Jesus Christ, the beloved Son, has made to men, will be pleased to dwell since, in all the missions they undertake, their sole aim will be to give glory to you for the spoils they have won from your enemies: Rex virtutum dilecti dilecti et speciei domus dividere spolia.
24. The silver wings of the dove will be theirs because of their total dependence on Providence and their devotion to Mary; inter medios cleros pennae columbae deargentatae, they shall be covered with silver like the wings of a dove, by the purity of the doctrine they teach and their irreproachable life; et posteriora dorsi ejus in pallore auri, for them the silvered pinions of the dove will be the perfect love they have for their neighbour which enables them to bear with his shortcomings, and their great love for Jesus Christ which enables them to carry his cross.
25. You alone, King of heaven and King of Kings, will set these men apart like kings and make them purer than the snows on Zalmon, the mountain of God, where all good things grow in abundance, this strong and compact mountain where God delights to dwell, and dwell forever.
Lord, God of truth, who is symbolised by this mysterious mountain of which so many marvels are told, if not Mary, your beloved spouse, whose beginnings are established on the heights: Fundamenta ejus in montibus sanctis. Mons in vertice montium, where all other mountains end.
Blessed, a thousandfold blessed, are those priests whom you have chosen with such care to dwell with you on this divine mountain of all delights. There they will become kings for eternity by their contempt of the world and their nearness to God, and purer than snow by their union with Mary, your beautiful, pure and immaculate spouse. They will be enriched by the dew of heaven above and the fat of the earth beneath, and all the blessings of time and eternity which Mary possesses in such abundance will be theirs.
From the summit of this mountain, they will, like Moses of old, address their ardent prayers to heaven, turning them into the weapons which will overcome or convert their enemies.
This is the mountain on which Jesus Christ, who dwells there forever, will teach them in his own words the meaning of the eight beatitudes.
It is on this mountain that they will be transfigured as he was on Mount Thabor; that they will die with him as he died on Calvary, and from it, they will ascend to heaven as he did from the Mount of Olives.
26. Memento Congregationis tuae. Tuae: Be mindful of this, your Congregation, for it is you alone who must, by your grace, make it a living reality. If man is the first to put his hand to the work, nothing will come of it. If he contributes anything of his own to what you are doing, the entire undertaking will be warped and come down in ruins.
Tuae Congregationis: your own Congregation. Opus tuum fac, it is your work, great God. Make your divine purpose a reality. Muster your chosen men from every corner of your dominions. Call them and gather them together. Mobilise them and make of them an army to fight against your enemies.
27. Look, Lord God of hosts, the captains of war are forming companies, each with its full complement of soldiers; and potentates have recruited vast armies. The ship-owners have whole fleets at their disposal, and the merchants are thronging to the markets and fairs. What a motley assembly of ungodly men! Thieves, drunkards and profligates gather together every day under the flimsiest pretexts in order to oppose you! Blow a whistle, beat a drum, show the blunt point of a sword, promise a withered laurel branch as a reward, offer a piece of gold or silver; in short, a whiff of fame, a worthless reward, a vile beastly pleasure, and, in the twinkling of an eye, along come the thieves, soldiers rally by battalions, and merchants flock together. Gambling dens and market places are crammed full and the whole of land and sea is covered with an innumerable multitude of reprobates. These people, although at variance among themselves for reasons of distance, temperament or personal interest, are nevertheless all unanimously resolved to wage war to the death against you, under the banner and leadership of the devil.
28. How is it, then, great God, that although it is so glorious, so satisfying and so profitable to serve you, hardly anyone will support your cause? Scarcely one soldier lines up under your standard. Scarcely anyone fired with zeal for your glory will stand up and cry out, like St. Michael in the midst of his fellow-angels: Quis ut Deus? Who is like to God? Let me then raise the cry of alarm: "The House of God is on fire! Souls are perishing in the flames! The sanctuary itself is ablaze! Help! Help! Good people! Help our brother who is being murdered. Help our children who are being massacred. Help our kind father who is being done to death!"
29. Qui Domini est jungatur mihi: if anyone has the Lord's cause at heart, let him stand side by side with me. Let all those worthy priests who are to be found throughout the world, those still in the fight and those who have withdrawn to deserts and secluded places, let them, I say, come and join us. In unity there is strength. With the cross as our standard, let us form a strongly disciplined army drawn up in lines of battle. Let us make a concerted attack on the enemies of God who have already sounded the call to arms: sonuerunt, frenduerunt, fremuerunt, multiplicati sunt. Dirumpamus vincula eorum et projiciamus a nobis jugum ipsorum. Qui habitat in caelis irridebit eos. They have sounded the alarm, vented their anger and become a mighty army. Let us break their bonds asunder and throw away their yoke. He who dwells in heaven will laugh them to scorn.
30. Exsurgat Deus et dissipentur inimici ejus!
Exsurge, Domine, quare obdormis? Exsurge.
Let the Lord arise and let his enemies be scattered. Arise, Lord. Why is it you appear to be like one asleep? Arise in your might, your mercy and your justice and create this bodyguard of hand-picked men who will protect your house, defend your glory and save the souls that are yours. Thus, there will be but one sheepfold and one shepherd, and all will make your temple resound with their praise of your glory: et in templo ejus omnes dicent gloriam. Amen.