Is it okay to pray litanies alone, like say before going to bed? I love EWTN’s Litany to St. Teresa of Avila (I have decided to choose her as my patron/Confirmation saint) and am planning to start praying to the Litany of Saints and the Litany of Loreto.
Also, is it okay to converse with the Saints outside of formal prayer? I mean like I often will tell St. Teresa my concerns and such and ask her to take them to Our Lord.
I don’t see why not. We do have certain prayers that are said a certain way – the Our Father, Hail Mary, Magnificat, etc, derived from the Bible, for instance, or some prayers penned specifically for or by a particular saint, or particular occasion, like the Act of Contrition or the prayer to the Guardian Angel – and for special occasions, like the Rosary.
On the other hand, we have the instance of the sinful man in the Temple, who merely said, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I doubt he looked that one up in his missal.
Also, with regard to the cults of the saints: where do these prayers come from? When people decided that ol’ Joe Schmoe was a saintly man in life, and started the cause for his canonization because he healed Mother Hubbard’s blindness – well, how did they get ol’ Joe to heal Mrs Hubbard if he wasn’t yet “Saint Joseph of Walla Walla” and didn’t have any proper dedicated prayers yet?
I myself often “pray” outside of “formal prayer time” (getting up, going to bed, before meals, confession, etc). Not only is it not a formalized prayer, there are often no words involved: just thinking “at” God, if you will. Just thinking about how I love Him, and am so sorrowful that I have sinned and displeased Him; and how little I deserve His Love, and yet am so amazed that It is given, that I can dare hope for His forgiveness. I sometimes think about the state of the world, and the misery therein, and how people can be so cruel and heartless to each other, and the old question about how God can let such evil and misery exist…and the answer always comes back (not in so many words, but…): “I’m not letting it exist, you people are letting it exist. Two simple commandments: 1. Love me. 2. Love each other. How hard is that? Didn’t I say, My yoke is easy, My burden light? You do your job, son: I’m doing Mine.” Basically: Love each other (charity). Trust Me (faith). And all will be all right (hope).
No matter which road I go down, I always end up there: Trust Me, I know what I’m doing. Now go do the little I ask of you. And again, no formal prayer, just thinking and considering and ruminating in my head, with God asked to come see. And I more or less get my answers the same way.
I think God, Mother Mary, and the saints like it when you go “off the cuff”, in addition to formal prayer. Formal prayer is like birthday cards and love notes and letters to Grandma. The other is like phoning up and saying, “Just wanted to say, I love you, Mom.”
If your focus is always on God (all Three of Him), and your love of Him, and His Love of you, I think you can easily “talk” with the Saints, because they love Him too; and being human (and mortal once) they know where you’re coming from, and share God’s love of you (or else they wouldn’t intercede for you).
I also believe that you can pray outside a particular saint’s “portfolio” if you have a special affinity for that saint: like if you are praying for a friend who has throat cancer, I don’t think St Blaise would be offended if you offered prayers also to your baptismal or confirmation namesake, or any other saint who held a special place in your heart. Heaven is not a bureaucracy.
Basically, put all your trust in God when you pray, to whomever, and however, and you’ll be okay. The Lord knows what’s in your heart.
A Jewish friend of mine once told me there was a legend about a poor old illiterate man. He couldn’t read any prayers at Temple, and he could never remember them to recite them. So when he prayed, he said, “Lord, I’m sorry that I can’t pray the proper prayers. But they are all written with letters, and while I don’t know the words, I do know my letters. Maybe you could sort them out.” And with all the earnest reverence he could muster, he began to recite, “Aleph, beth, gimel, daleth…”
The legend goes on to say that at that moment, the Lord stopped the angels from singing in heaven so that He could listen to that one beautiful prayer.
It is perfectly fine, to talk to a favorite saint(s)… about your daily concerns and ask them to intercede before the Lord.
I have a “committee” of 33 different saints (including Our Lady… Queen of Saints), whom I have felt drawn to over the past couple of years. I ask them to intercede for me… as part of my morning prayers.
The Communion of Saints! Just one of the priceless treasures of our Catholic Church! God bless!