An Encouraging Word — Learning Christ

The woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

Recently, a good friend of mine died at age 94. Like many Catholic women of her age, she was a pious Catholic, through and through. She kept a bottle of holy water, a rosary and
several prayer books handy in her bedroom.

It was obvious that she had said some of those prayers so often that she could say them from memory. One of those prayers, she would say for me, was a prayer that I was not familiar with, even though it has been around for a long time. The author is unknown, according to the research I did, even though it is often associated with the famous Cardinal Newman, who probably said it often himself.

A few years ago, my friend could recite it from memory, but as she got older and older she would get lost and become very frustrated as she tried to remember it. I decided to find it online and make some copies for her. We read it together after Communion at her funeral.

This coming Sunday is known as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” When I realized that, I remembered her beautiful prayer and thought I would share it with you, especially those of you who may not know it. It is a perfect prayer for this coming Sunday because it is basically a prayer for being merciful toward others — like Christ. It is called “Learning Christ:”

Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life, in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
Let me put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others, to hide my little pains and heartaches, so that I may be the only one to suffer from them. Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may make me patient, not irritable. That it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty and overbearing.
May no one be less good for having come within my influence. No one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow traveler in our journey toward eternal life. As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time, a word of love to thee. May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity.

Amen.

I hope you find this prayer as beautiful as my friend did! By praying it so often, she became the person she prayed to be in that prayer! She, like many of the older Catholics I have known over the years, was truly a model of what true humanity and real holiness are all about. Like the prayer says, “I became a better person for having come within her influence.”

Father J. Ronald Knott

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