Prayers for all Occasions, Needs, and Intentions
Spiritual Treasury of the Church
The spiritual treasury of the Church is made up of Christ's merits, as well as those of Mary and the Saints, and the Church grants the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin already forgiven through indulgences attached to various works and prayers.
Indulgenced works and prayers ultimately have as their purpose to bring the faithful into a closer union with Christ and the Church through charity. This should also be the basic reason for us to do the work or say the prayer graced with indulgences.
Many Catholics had a particular fondness for prayers that were indulgenced by the Church, a practice apparent from the Council of Trent to the beginning of Vatican II. I feel, in reciting such prayers, many felt they were not praying in vain (used as an analogy). The nature of indulgences often escaped the faithful and abuses became more prevalent with the practice, even to the point of expecting something magical to happen.
On January 1, 1967, Pope Paul VI promulgated new guidelines regarding the discipline of indulgences in the Church. This document covered the nature of sin, the punishment due to sin, the solidarity of all human beings in Adam and in Christ, the Communion of Saints, and the treasury of the expiations and merits of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and of the Saints. The faithful have access to this treasury, placed at their disposal, by the Church.
The guidelines also stressed how salutary is the use of indulgences, since they promote through charity the union of all the faithful with Christ and with the pastors of the Church, his representatives. At the same time, revision of the indulgenced prayers and practices were called for. This came to fruition of June 29, 1968 when a revised and revamped Enchiridion of Indulgences was published.
The key idea is the preeminent value of charity. The faithful are urged to examine all of the worthy performance of their duties, with the assurance of obtaining, not only greater merit, but also a proportionate remission of temporal punishment for their sins already forgiven, this accomplished by both their own personal effort and of the gift of the Church.
A) An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as guilt is concerned.
B) An indulgence is partial or plenary, according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due for sin.
C) No one acquiring indulgences, can apply them to other living person.
D) Partial as well as plenary indulgences can always be applied to the departed by way of suffrage.
E) The grant of a partial indulgence is designated only with the words "partial indulgence," without any determination of days or years.
F) The faithful who at least with contrite heart perform an action to which a partial indulgence is attached, obtain, in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remission of punishment through the intervention of the Church.
G) The faithful who devoutly use an article of devotion (crucifix or cross, rosary, scapular or medal) properly blessed by any priest, obtain a partial indulgence. If the article of devotion has been blessed by the Sovereign Pontiff or by any bishop, the faithful, using it devoutly, can also gain a plenary indulgence on the feast of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, provided they also make a profession of faith according to any legitimate formula.
H) To be capable of gaining an indulgence for oneself, it is required that one be baptized, not excommunicated, in the state of grace at least at the completion of the prescribed works, and a subject of the one granting the indulgence.
I) In order that one who is capable may actually gain indulgences, one must have at least a general intention to gain them and must in accordance with the tenor of the grant perform the enjoined works at the time and in the manner prescribed.
J) A plenary indulgence can be acquired once only in the course of the day. But one can obtain the plenary indulgence for the moment of death, even if another plenary indulgence had already been acquired on the same day. A partial indulgence can be acquired more than once a day, unless otherwise expressly indicated.
K) The work prescribed for acquiring a plenary indulgence connected with a church or oratory consists in a devout visit and the recitation during the visit of one Our Father and the Creed.
L) To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sins, be absent.
M) The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff be said on the same day the work is performed.
N) A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining plenary indulgences; but Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
O) The condition of praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, each one is free to recite any other prayer according to his piety and devotion.
P) To gain an indulgence attached to a prayer, it is sufficient to recite the prayer alternately with a companion or to follow it mentally while it is being recited by another.
The complete list of practices as well as a more thorough treatment of indulgences may be found in the Enchiridion of Indulgences.
THE THREE GRANTS OF INDULGENCES
First General Grant
A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life, raise their mind with humble confidence in God, adding, even if only mentally, some pious invocation.
The first grant is intended to serve as an incentive to the faithful to put into practice the commandment of Christ that "they must always pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1) and at the same time as a reminder to perform their respective duties as to preserve and strengthen their union with Christ.
DO ALL IN THE NAME OF JESUS
Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
Second General Grant
A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in a spirit of faith and mercy give of themselves or of their goods to serve their brothers in need.
This second grant is intended to serve as an incentive to the faithful to perform more frequent acts of charity and mercy, thus following the example and obeying the command of Christ Jesus (John 13:15; Acts 10:38).
However, not all works of charity are thus indulgenced, but only those which "serve their brothers in need," in need, for example, of food or clothing for the body or of instruction or comfort for the soul.
LOVE IN ACTION
He who has the goods of this world and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him? My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:17-18).
Third General Grant
A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in a spirit of penance voluntarily deprive themselves of what is licit and pleasing to them.
This third grant is intended to move the faithful to bridle their passions and thus learn to bring their bodies into subjection and to conform themselves to Christ in his poverty and suffering. (Matthew 8:20 and 16:24).
But self-denial will be more precious, if it is united to charity, according to the teaching of St. Leo the Great; "Let us give to virtue what we refuse to self indulgence. Let what we deny ourselves by fast be the refreshment of the poor."
Following Of Christ
If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:23).
OTHER GRANTS OF INDULGENCES
To the three general grants of indulgences shown above, a few others are here added. These it has seemed beneficial to include, either because of traditional esteem in the case of the old or because appropriate to the needs of the present in the case of the new.
All these grants complement one another and, while by the offer of an indulgence they move the faithful to perform works of piety, charity and penance, they at the same time bring them into an ever closer union through charity with Christ the Head and with the Church his body.
The individual works, several of which are contained herein, are enriched with indulgences. The grant of a partial indulgence is sometimes expressly stated; very often, however, it is merely indicated by the words: Partial indulgence.
If a particular work, when performed in special circumstances, is enriched with a plenary indulgence, this fact, as well as the special circumstances in which the work must be performed, is expressly noted each time; but other requirement for the gaining of a plenary indulgence are, for the sake of brevity, left understood.
Whenever a text of a prayer is given, it must be said to gain the indulgence. When a text is not given, any text can be used.
A complete list of grants may be found in the Enchiridion of Indulgences.
The following prayers may gain a Partial indulgence.
Direct, We Beg You, O Lord
Direct, we beg you, O Lord, our actions by your holy inspirations, and carry them on by your gracious assistance, that every prayer and work of ours may begin always with you, and through you be happily ended. Amen
We Give You Thanks
We give you thanks, Almighty God, for all your blessings: who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
Angel Of God
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom his love commits me here, enlighten and guard, rule and guide me. Amen.
Lord God Almighty
Lord, God Almighty, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day. Defend us today by your mighty power, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our words may so proceed and all our thoughts and actions be so directed, as to be always just in your sight. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.