Our favourite prayers

  • February 19, 2007

Archbishop CollinsEditor’s note: Lent is a time of almsgiving, fasting and abstinence, but most importantly, it is a time of prayer. During the six weeks of Lent, The Catholic Register will present the favourite prayers of well known Canadians. We start the series with Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto.

Archbishop Thomas Collins says one of his favourite prayers — probably the one he resorts to most often during the day — is the Jesus Prayer.

The well known prayer is as follows:

“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

“I often pray it with the Rosary,” says the archbishop. “Instead of saying Hail Mary’s, I say the Jesus Prayer.

“I like it because it is so simple, it is so biblical and it is a part of our tradition of faith.”

The Jesus Prayer has its roots in Christian society of the sixth or seventh centuries and is still widely used by Orthodox Christians and Eastern-rite Catholics today as a form of centring prayer. It is often said over and over to help the person praying to centre all their thoughts on Jesus Christ and ask for pardon.

The Jesus Prayer was popularized in the 19th century anonymously written book, The Way of a Pilgrim, in which a Russian pilgrim seeks to find a way to “pray without ceasing” and is drawn to this short, profound appeal to Jesus.

In North America, the prayer became celebrated as a focus of the novel Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.

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