Everyone takes a unique path to the Lord, and Catholics have many devotions to help along the way. The following six devotions have helped me walk in faith. I guess you could say they changed my life:
1) Brown Scapular. I started wearing the brown scapular after hearing about the promise Our Lady of Mt. Carmel made: Anyone who dies wearing the scapular will not suffer the fires of Hell. I later learned that, like all Catholic devotions, the brown scapular does not save us outside of a life of faith. We cannot persist in mortal sin and expect that we will go to heaven if we simply put on a scapular. I also learned that those who wish to receive the promise must fulfill certain conditions. The brown scapular has helped me persevere the most in my faith and, not surprisingly, it has led me to other devotions such as the rosary. You can learn more about the brown scapular at http://www.sistersofcarmel.com/brown-scapular-information.php.
2) Novenas. The first time I prayed to a saint for nine days, I simply followed the instructions on the back of a prayer card. Years later I learned my devotion was called a novena and, surprisingly, there were other novenas out there. I also learned that, like other Catholic devotions, novenas do not make God obedient to us. Like all prayers, God answers them according to His will, which is why we should maintain the attitude of Christ: “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Novenas foster our relationship with our brothers and sisters in heaven—the saints—and confirm the power of God. You can search for a specific novena online or start by browsing some popular ones at https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/novena.htm.
3) Chaplet of Divine Mercy. St. Faustina recorded in her diary the message of Divine Mercy that Jesus revealed to her. This message helps me to trust that God is good and hope for salvation. It also leads me to the Sacrament of Confession. I pray the chaplet of divine mercy, venerate the image, and pray the novena. Jesus promised mercy at the hour of death to anyone who recites the chaplet of divine mercy. You can learn more in The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion: http://www.shopmercy.org/The-Divine-Mercy-Message-and-Devotion/M17/itm/07110004/TDM.
4) Daily Scripture Reading. I like to read at least one chapter from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Gospels. I can feel God’s presence in the words, and God can use those words to speak to me throughout the day. Reading Scripture helps me ponder our faith, and it causes me to evaluate my life in light of God’s words. If you want to get serious about your faith, read Scripture for thirty minutes every day. If you don’t have a Bible, find one approved by the Catholic Church, such as the Revised Standard Version or the New American Bible, which is available free at http://wwwmigrate.usccb.org/bible/books-of-the-bible/index.cfm.
5) Medals. I wear a blessed medal as a visible and constant reminder of the Catholic faith and my devotion to a particular saint. The Catechism says blessed objects are sacramentals that “prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it” (no. 1670). Wearing a medal every day reminds me that the faith must be lived at all times and the saint whose image the medal bears is always there to help me. You can often find medals at Catholic bookstores. You can also browse them on various websites, such as https://www.catholiccompany.com/medals-c58/.
6) Rosary. Some people love it. Some are reluctant. And still others just don’t understand. I learned how to pray the rosary after reading about a Marian apparition. I wanted to entrust myself to this Mother who was strong, wise, and a clear entrance to God. The rosary gives me, among other things, strength in my faith and confidence in the Blessed Mother’s protection and assistance. You can learn how to pray the rosary at https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/rosary/how_to.htm.
No matter what path you walk with the Lord, there is certainly a devotion that can help. Ask the Lord to help you see which one is right for you.
The opinions expressed by the DPS blog authors and those providing comments are theirs alone; they are not necessarily the expressions or beliefs of either the Dead Philosophers Society or Holy Apostles College & Seminary.