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Prayers, Psalms, and Litanies

Praying the Psalms

    Since the psalms are Old Testament prayers by origin, their teaching is very incomplete about trials, whose full meaning was revealed only through Christ's suffering. The psalms contain only faint hints about the fact that from God's perspective life really begins with death. But the psalms remain unparalleled expressions of souls who struggle to hold on to God no matter what and who experience moments of surpassing joy. The purpose of this fine book is to help Christians grasp the basic meaning of each psalm so that the act of praying them might truly become an elevation of the mind to God. After providing general background on the psalms, including reflections on their use as both Jewish and Christian prayers, Stanley Jaki offers commentary on each individual psalm. He avoids exegetical minutiae, providing instead precisely enough explanation of the original cultural and theological setting of each psalm to let the usefulness of praying any of them fully emerge. A widely respected Christian scholar, Jaki has recited all 150 psalms once every week for the past sixty years. As a result, his book not only offers learned insight into the meaning of the psalms but it is also built on personal experience, making it a powerful devotional tool. Readers will find here helpful pointers for turning the recitation of the psalms into living prayers relevant to today's troubled world.
    Another book of the author related to Psalms is: Themes of Psalms.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 978-0-802847-71-3  •  v + 237 pages  •  softcover  •  $18



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Hail Mary, Full of Grace:
A Commentary

    The Hail Mary is the specifically Catholic prayer because it is the most christological of all prayers. It came into use during the first half of the second millennium, conquered the Christian world with stunning spontaneity, and remained the fulcrum of Catholic resistance to various "reformations." One of these deformed the Gospel message in the name of faith and the other undermined man's rationality in the name of reason. In order to protect the Hail Mary from becoming a monotonous repetition of words, however hallowed, some practical advice is given in the Introduction. But the chief means of keeping the recitation of the Hail Mary an ever fresh experience, one should often reflect on the profound meaning of each and every line in it. May this little book help to achieve this most worthy and rewarding objective.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 978-1-892539-06-9  •  x + 84 pages  •  softcover  •  $6



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Ours A Dearest Father:
Thoughts on the Lord's Prayer

    Countless are the commentaries on the Lord's Prayer. Undoubtedly many more will follow. Only time can unfold the richness of a prayer spelled out by the Son of God. He wanted man to muster courage, and indeed feel it his duty, to talk confidently to God as his dearest Father. Nothing is, of course, sentimental in the Our Father. The sequence of its petitions begins on a note that may seem pleasant compared with the fearsome petition that we may be delivered from the Evil One, that is, from Satan himself. Yet for man, who sinned and keeps sinning, nothing should seem more challenging than to confront a Father who is absolute holiness. The Lord's Prayer should be reflected upon with a firm resolve to avoid being trapped in fashionable moods and notions. Its petitions are not of man make. No man would have, for instance, thought of asking God's forgiveness in the measure in which he himself forgives others.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 978-1-892539-03-8  •  x + 81 pages  •  softcover  •  $6.00



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The Apostles' Creed:
A Commentary

    The Apostles' Creed is the most hallowed summary of what Christians must believe in order to gain eterna! life. Whereas its origins are not apostolic, it reflects the teaching of the very early Church and the very logic of that teaching. In this commentary the emphasis is put on the Creed's lasting relevance for believers of the last times which actual times always are. The more the actual times are steeped in the achievements of reason, especially of its scientific kind, the more important is to see the difference which is to know and to believe. The latter, as argued from the start of this commentary, is best reserved for statements one can hold only on the authority of someone else as its only verification. The Apostles' Creed is a set of authoritative statements that has stood in good stead all Christians who know that the message of salvation is something given from above with the authority of the Son of God who teaches through the Church he founded on the Apostles.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 978-1-892539-08-3  •  viii + 100 pages  •  softcover •  $6



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Zechariah's Canticle and Ours

    The Canticle uttered by Zechariah upon the birth of his son John became hallowed by its having been prompted by the Holy Spirit. It is a song of joy, which the Church espoused by including it in the Lauds, the morning prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. As the word "Lauds" stands for praise, Zechariah's song anticipates the spirit in which the Church praises God for His goodness that reaches its high point in God's supreme act, the Incarnation, whereby He initiated mankind's redemption. Therefore the Canticle's joy in the Lauds is a joy not so much of human make as of a depth matching that of the Incarnation, which culminates in God's only Son's death on the cross. What was guessed of all this by Zechariah, who according to a very ancient tradition became one of Herod's victims? And what should be the joy of Christians as they sing the Lauds? And what should be the joy far more nuanced than the one granted to Zechariah or to his son John, for that matter? Such are the questions confronted in the course of these reflections on the Benedictus.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 978-1-892539-01-4  •  viii + 64 pages  •  softcover  •  $6



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Mary's Magnificat

    >Mary's Magnificat is the most widely and enduringly repeated song in history. The Church recites it each and every day in its Office of Hours. It is the song of those who firmly believe that Mary's son is also the Son of the Eternal Father, who came to save man from eternal death. This is why the Magnificat is a song of supreme rejoicing, though a most serious song at the same time. This twofold nature of the Magnificat sets the tone of these reflections on each of its verses. The reflections are preceded by an Introduction which deals with the Magnificat's background and origin as sung by Mary. It is her Magnificat and not of Elizabeth, let alone the work of a "committee" as some "learned" exegetes would have it. It should therefore be recited with the faith that animated Mary personally.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 978-0-9790577-7-9  •  46 pages  •  softcover  •  $5



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The Eight Beatitudes:
A Commentary

    The Eight Beatitudes represent the gist of Jesus' platform, a platform very different from those of politicians and social reformers. The Beatitudes are preserved in two forms, one in Matthew's Gospel, the other, a shorter form, in the Gospel of Luke. Relatively few commentaries on the Beatitudes were produced in patristic time, and not many more by the Scholastics. The number of formal commentaries has greatly increased during the last hundred years or so. Not surprisingly the more recent commentaries often are marred by pacifist and feminist preferences, and by a predominance of Protestant presuppositions. In this book, written by a Catholic for Catholics, strict attention is paid to what Jesus meant and to the likely reflection by those who listened to him, but especially to the perennial validity of the Beatitudes as distinct from mere happiness.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 978-1-892539-09-0  •  viii + 82 pages  •  softcover   •  $6



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Themes of Psalms

    Twenty of the themes that run across the Book of Psalms are presented in this book, whose author has already published a commentary on all the psalms. Taking the psalms one by one has, of course, been the hallowed way of commenting them. But it may be worth the effort to follow up some themes that reoccur in various psalms, with ever new nuances. The principal theme of the psalms is the praise due to God, the author of a Covenant with man. Another major theme is sorrow felt on one's sins, or his failures to respond to God's plan. Still another, to speak of the principal themes, is hope in the coming of a Messiah or Deliverer. Then there is the love of God, the contempt for idols, trust in God, and last but not least the puzzlement, indeed agony, felt over the apparent tragedies of life, individual and national. Reflection on this and other themes may greatly help in turning the use of psalms into ever new songs, as the psalms time and again want this to be.
    Another book of the author related to Psalms is: Praying the Psalms.

ISBN 1-892548-45-3  •  v + 93 pages  •  softcover  •  $6



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The Litany of Loreto

    The town of Loreto on the Adriatic coast of Italy centers on a Basilica built over the walls of a house within which, according to pious tradition, once lived the Blessed Virgin Mary. Very large is the number of the faithful who have made a pilgrimage to Loreto, but incomparably many more of them derived spiritual benefits from reciting the Litany which originated in that sanctuary. The Litany consists of fifty-one invocations, which present the incomparably special status of Mary in the work of salvation. All fifty-one are commented upon by the author who had already put together a similar work on the invocations of the Litany of Saint Joseph. The Introduction provides appropriate information about the origin of the Litany as well as of the sanctuary of Loreto.

    The commentary to one of the invocations (Seat of Wisdom) can be found online here.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 0-9774826-1-8  •  vii + 224 pages  •  softcover  •  $12



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The Litany of Saint Joseph

    In its form approved by the Holy See for universal use in the Church, the Litany of Saint Joseph is not yet a hundred years old. Nor it is much older the monumental surge of devotion felt by the faithful toward the Spouse of Mary. None other than John Henry Newman registered this, and with great enthusiasm, as a major religious event of his own day. Apart from a brief introduction on the history of the Litany itself, this book is a set of reflections on all the twenty-four invocations that form that Litany. May those reflections help increase the fervor of love for one who next to Mary had the immense privilege to live at the closest range with God's Incarnate Son for whom he showed the love and care of the best father on earth.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 1-892548-25-1  •  x + 117 pages  •  softcover   •  $6



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The Litany of the Sacred Heart

    The Litany of the Sacred Heart is hardly more than a hundred years old in its present form. Earlier forms of it had played an important role in the promotion of devotion to the Sacred Heart, from the early seventeenth century on. The enthusiastic espousal of the Litany among the faithful and the clergy has proved a powerful means of securing adherence to the dogma of the Incarnation, and its chief aspect, atonement for man's sins. The Litany, which is a most tangible aspect of that devotion, was greatly resented by Jansenists, ridiculed by Protestants, and deeply disliked by progressive Catholic theologians in recent decades, The Introduction touches on such facts in addition to confronting the puzzle of why neither the Documents of Vatican II nor the New Catechism touch on the devotion to the Sacred Heart, in spite of its endorsement in a long series of papal documents.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 0-9774826-9-3  •  viii + 152 pages  •  softcover  •  $7



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The Litany of the Holy Name

    The Litany in its present text was widely propagated by Saint Bernardine of Siena and Saint John Capistrano, though they certainly were not the ones to draw up the list of its invocations and implorations. The Litany of the Holy Name forms, together with the Litany of All Saints (used in the Easter Liturgy), the Litany of the Sacred Heart, the Litany of Loreto, and the Litany of Saint Joseph, the list of Litanies approved for public use throughout the Catholic Church. Lately these Litanies have not been as zealously used as only a generation or two ago. Yet the depth contained in their brief invocations should seem most helpful for the faithful who today are increasingly caught in the welter of distractions.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 978-0-9790577-3-1  •  vii + 141 pages  •  softcover  •  $7



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The Litany of the Most Precious Blood

    The Litany of the Most Precious Blood is one of the five Litanies approved by the Holy See for general use in the Church. The earliest forms of the Litany go back to the thirteenth century, and it gained new vigor from the 1820s on, owing to the zeal of Saint Gaspar del Bufalo (1788-1837). Its approval for general use in 1960 was part of an effort on the part of Pope John XXIII to prune liturgical and other prayers from redundant and quaint expressions. The Litany consists of twenty-four invocations, each of which is commented on by the author, who has also published similar commentaries on the four other approved litanies, the Litany of the Holy Name, of the Sacred Heart, of Loreto, and of St. Joseph. Here too the invocations are put in a broad cultural and theological light in order to enhance their spiritual usefulness.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 978-1-892539-15-1  •  viii + 110 pages  •  softcover   •  $7



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Twenty Mysteries

    The Rosary is the faithful's prime devotion. It ties together millions of pilgrims flocking to famous and humble Marian shrines. The Rosary bonds strangers and gives to the lonely the sense of belonging. They all recite the chain of Hail Marys with firm trust in its being a powerful channel of God's grace. Following the Apostolic Letter which Pope John Paul II issued on October 16, 2002, the Rosary now includes five more mysteries, called Luminous Mysteries. Reflections on them are therefore included in this new edition of a book that originally appeared as Fifteen Mysteries, only a few months before that Apostolic Letter was issued. The Rosary is also that devotion which, more than any other, evokes the dullness of monotony. Can the same words repeated at an almost mechanical pace be still the kind of prayer which is the mind's elevation to God? Answer to this question is sought in this book. It offers reflections on each of the twenty mysteries so that their gripping message may come alive. Only then will the saying of the beads raise one's mind and heart in true prayer to God.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 1-892548-33-X  •  viii + 103 pages  •  softcover  •  $6.00



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Fourteen Stations
(Meditations on the Way of the Cross)

    All the three synoptics note that "they led him" from Gethsemane to the High Priest's house. John states that "they sent him bound to Caiaphas." We read in Matthew and Mark that "they bound him and led him to Pilate." Finally, all the four evangelists say that "they led him away to crucify him." Jesus' judges and executioners thought that he would try to escape and therefore they held him by a rope. Never was a prisoner under a death sentence more willing to go along. There is a profound significance in this. Its depth shows through in the measure in which man boasts of his freedom and takes on the shackles of licentiousness and arbitrariness, in thought as well as in deed. Jesus' station in life was a voluntary act of taking on the form of a servant, nay, of a slave, who at that time was never without some form of chain on him. Jesus literally emptied himself of all his prerogatives as if to let others chain him totally. Such was his way of chaining himself totally to us, to our destiny and to our eternal salvation. We fight against admitting the truth that our station in life becomes all the more a trap for us, the more we conform to the spirit of the age. It is the spirit of boasting of four freedoms: freedom from hunger, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, freedom of religion, though at the exclusion of freedom from sin. No wonder that we try to overlook the gist of all revealed truth: liberation comes to us only if we die with Christ. We can rise, but only in him and only if we first died with him. Our burying ourselves into his suffering and death shall forever remain the sole channel to a life free of eternal misery. This is the gist of the message of the real Station Master in life, the One who proved himself the Master of fourteen awesome stations so that our lasting station in life may be heaven itself.

By Fr. Stanley L. Jaki

ISBN 1-892548-15-1  •  33 pages  •  softcover   •  $3



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