Author: Benedict

Objections Dividing Catholics and Protestants

Objections Dividing Catholics and Protestants

It’s bracing to find people still fighting the old Protestant-Catholic battles. A leading young Evangelical writer, Tim Challies, just published his rejection of crucifixes, which Religion News Service liked so much that they featured it in their daily email. That’s not a fight you see anyone starting anymore.

I’ve been involved in ecumenical works for almost thirty years, and am all for divided Christians growing closer to each other, but my heart leaps a bit when I come across a Protestant writer saying “We’re right and they’re wrong.” It may feel like a bucket of ice water thrown on a group hug, but it wakes everyone up. As I say, bracing.

Because we still disagree and the disagreements matter a lot. At a lecture a few years ago, a theologically-educated Presbyterian lecturing to a mixed group of Catholics and Presbyterians said that church government was just a matter of which arrangement you preferred, the personal or the collegial. Each had its good points and its bad points, which one needed to weigh, but there was no right or wrong answer. It was up to each of us to decide which model we liked. Catholics liked the personal model and had a pope and Presbyterians liked the collegial model and had presbyteries. I thought, “But God prefers the personal model.” The Catholic priest who was also speaking that day gamely tried to correct him, but couldn’t.

A great benefit of the serious Evangelicals who have kept fighting these battles is that they remind us that we really disagree. They work in a somewhat insular culture that gives them the freedom to say the thing other people won’t say. You read them and sometimes feel, “Gosh, he sounds so nineteenth-century.” It’s as if he walked into your house in a swallow-tail coat with those enormous sideburns some men used to sport. But there’s something to be said for the nineteenth century.

We tend to think that we don’t have to fight the old battles, that everyone’s gotten beyond them. Back then, Catholics and Protestants were set against each other socially and politically as well as theologically, therefore they fought about every little thing. We aren’t, so we don’t.

I think that’s quite wrong. The specific reasons the apologists and polemicists of the sixteenth through the early twentieth centuries fought about remain for the most part dividing issues. People say, for example, that Dei Verbum on the one side and the growing Protestant appreciation for tradition on the other have very much narrowed the difference in our understanding of Scripture.

That’s true, but only sort of. There is a very, very big gap between Dei Verbum’s declaration that “both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence” and the Protestant understanding. To take the doctrinal statement of the Evangelical Anglican seminary for which I once worked, the Anglican 39 Articles: “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”

I can see the look on my former colleagues’ faces if I were to say, “Look at this! We agree!” Thoughtful, kind, serious Christians all, they’d say, “Absolutely not” and remove any alcoholic beverages and sharp objects from my reach.

Catholic priests, and not dissenting ones either, have told me that after the Second Vatican Council there’s no fundamental difference on Scripture between Catholics and Protestants, that it’s a matter of emphasis and nuance. It’s not. Think of the recent feast: The Assumption, a holy day of obligation because we know that Mary was assumed bodily into Heaven. We know that. For Protestant friends like my former colleagues, it’s nonsense, or at best a pious invention, which Christians have no reason at all to believe. Between “Mary was assumed into Heaven” and “We have no possible idea what happened to Mary, who’s not all that important anyway” a great gulf is fixed. We have two very different understandings of the place of Scripture in the life of the Church.

Now back to Tim Challies and his objections to crucifixes. At first you think: Crucifixes? Really? These days you’re still worrying about crucifixes? Where’s the swallow-tail coat and sideburns?

Which would be unfair, and foolish. Challies quotes at length the great Anglican Evangelical patriarch J. I. Packer, from a passage I think comes from Packer’s classic Evangelical work Knowing God. In the quoted passage, he condemns all images as gross violations of the Second Commandment. He makes a serious and thoughtful argument for his claim that “there is no room for doubting that the commandment obliges us to disassociate our worship, both in public and in private, from all pictures and statues of Christ.”

I first met Jim thirty-some years ago and count him a friend, and a man I greatly respect. He’s a man of great kindness and astonishing learning, and in this matter he is, there is no other word for it, a heretic. It’s a harsh word, and I’ve groped around for another, but it’s hard to think of another word for someone who effectively declares heretical the seventh ecumenical council, not to mention the unanimous and continuous practice of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. He doesn’t think images are a mistake, like (as I happen to know from conversation with him) over-elaborate liturgies. He thinks they’re idols.

The difference is not a matter of a taste for images or a dislike for images. It’s not a matter of wanting visual aids or not wanting them. It’s a difference that goes very deep into our understanding of the Christian faith and how it is to be lived out. Think what your spiritual life and your time at Mass and adoration would be like without the crucifix and the icons and the statues, and the holy cards as well. A wiser man or a better psychologist than I could explain this better, but we know these things were given to us as an essential part of our life of faith. They’re not optional.

My point here is only to say: Thank God for the Evangelicals. In this case, in particular, the great J. I. Packer and his disciple Tim Challies. The issues they raise so starkly still divide Catholics from Protestants. They’re not dead issues, the kind of quibbles our great-grandfathers might have argued about. If we are to make progress in our growth together as brothers and sisters in Christ, we’ll have to face these differences. Three cheers for the people who care enough about the truth, about the faith, and indeed about their Catholic brethren, to bring them up — at the risk of looking as old-fashioned and cranky as a man with bushy sideburns in a swallow-tail coat.

17 Saints Who Fought the Devil and Lived to Tell the Tale

17 Saints Who Fought the Devil and Lived to Tell the Tale

 

Dr. Paul Thigpen talks about his new book, “Saints Who Battled Satan”

Scripture, Church teaching and the writings of Church fathers and doctors affirm the existence of the Devil and other demons. So do the lives of the saints, and a new book by Dr. Paul Thigpen, called Saints Who Battled Satan, focuses on 17 of them — holy men and women whose battles with the demonic provide lessons and encouragement for Christians today.

Thigpen, editor of TAN Books, has published more than 40 books and hundreds of journal and magazine articles. A graduate of Yale University, he earned his PhD from Emory University and served on the faculty of several universities and colleges. Formerly an ordained Protestant pastor, Thigpen entered the Catholic Church in 1993. He recently spoke to Aleteia about Saints Who Battled Satan, which is a follow up to his recent book, Manual for Spiritual Warfare.

*****

Zoe Romanowsky: Many saints have wrestled with the devil or dealt with the evil one in some way. How did you choose which saints’ stories to highlight?

Paul Thigpen: It wasn’t easy! But several factors entered into the decision. First, to emphasize the universality of spiritual combat, I wanted to include saints from a variety of cultures and historical periods. The saints I chose hailed from two dozen nations in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America. They represent every century since the time of Our Lord, except for the current (and infant) 21st century.

A second factor was my concern to have stories and quotes that illustrate the principles laid out in [my previous book] Manual for Spiritual Warfare. I wanted readers to encounter real men and women who experienced both the ordinary and the extraordinary activity of the Devil, so they could see more clearly how he tempts and taunts and provokes us. I also wanted readers to see how the saints have employed spiritual weapons such as prayer, Scripture, the sacraments and sacramentals; how their virtues have served as their spiritual armor and how they have called on the assistance of their Commander, Jesus Christ, and their comrades in battle: the saints who had gone before them, especially Our Lady; the angels and their fellow Christians on earth.

A final factor in selection was, of course, the availability of biographical information relevant to spiritual warfare. For each of the saints, I needed access to texts that provided enough information for an entire chapter. Even so, because there were some great brief anecdotes and quotes from other saints that were too good to leave out, I added additional sections for these.

What are a couple of the most common ways Satan tempts or accosts us?

We typically can discern that a thought comes to us from outside ourselves when it comes by way of our senses: We see (perhaps read) it or hear it. But demons have no bodies, so they can communicate thoughts directly into our minds, bypassing the senses. This is a kind of stealth strategy, because if we aren’t discerning, we may assume that the thoughts they insinuate into our minds are actually our own thoughts, so we “own” them.

Satan typically tries to influence us through deception; accusation; doubts (especially about God or his love for us); provocation (to pride, anger, lust, despair, and more) and enticement (to desire what is forbidden, or to desire what is in itself good, but would be obtained by illicit means).

Is there a saint that stands out as having an unusual or innovative way of dealing with Satan?

I recall how one day the Devil sought to tempt St. Benedict to lust. The evil spirit brought to his remembrance an attractive woman he once knew, and the memory began to enflame his heart. Benedict was almost overcome by the passion. Just in time, he saw a nearby thicket full of nettles and briars. So he stripped off his habit and threw himself naked into the midst of those sharp, stinging thorns. He rolled around in them until his body was scratched all over — and the temptation was gone.

Are there certain saints we should turn to for certain kinds of temptations or problems, and can give you provide a couple of examples?

Catholic tradition encourages us to appeal for assistance to saints who fought battles similar to ours. So when tempted to lust, I would choose St. Benedict; when provoked to anger, I would call on St. Jerome; when struggling with vainglory, St. Ignatius Loyola; discouragement, St. Teresa of Ávila; despair, St. (Padre) Pio; and so on.

If you could put a “spiritual toolkit” together and send it to people so they can combat and keep Satan away, what would be in it?

Well, I guess that’s precisely what I intended when I wrote a Manual for Spiritual Warfare. It provides an overview of the Church’s teaching about how we engage in spiritual combat, and it offers some “aids in battle” from the Church’s tradition: relevant magisterial teaching, scriptural texts, words and anecdotes from the lives of the saints, prayers, devotions and hymns.

What virtues are the most important in keeping evil at bay, and how do use them, in practical ways, to protect ourselves?

Since ancient times, a number of wise Christian spiritual advisors have counseled that humility is foundational for the virtues; it’s the soil in which all the other virtues grow. So I would emphasize that one above all others.

As a practical example of how humility can protect us from the snares of the Devil, consider the story told among the ancient fathers and mothers of the desert about a humble monk who was once in his cell praying. The Devil appeared to him disguised as an angel of light to tempt him to pride. He announced: “I am the angel Gabriel, and I have been sent to you!” But the humble monk was not deceived. He replied simply: “Better check and see: You must have been sent to someone else. I’m not worthy that an angel should be sent to me.” And so the Devil vanished — vanquished by the monk’s humility.

Why does Satan seem to “bug” some people more than others?

One pattern I noticed in the saints’ lives is this: If the Devil fears that someone will be doing great damage to his infernal kingdom, he goes after that person furiously. When St. Anthony demonstrated his resolve to live as a holy hermit in the desert, when St. Catherine consecrated herself to Christ as a child, when St. (Padre) Pio first entered the Capuchin religious order, that’s when the Enemy of their souls did his worst to stop them. He knew that if he could stymie such men and women, he could compromise the great works God had given them to do.

I think we should take comfort in that knowledge. If the Devil is fiercely opposing us, perhaps it means that God has great plans to use us. On the other hand, we should keep in mind the warning of St. John Vianney: “The greatest of all evils is not to be tempted, because then there are grounds for believing that the Devil looks upon us as his property.”

How can we know what comes from Satan and what doesn’t? How do we prevent ourselves from getting paranoid and overly focused on the evil one?

Scripture speaks of our ongoing battles with the world, the flesh and the Devil (see James 4:1–7). It’s true that at times our struggles with the flesh and the world may not be directly provoked by the Devil’s interference. Still, he takes advantage of those struggles and seeks to establish a stronger presence in our lives through them. So we need to pay close attention to his movements.

I think that if we can establish a habit of recognizing the source of our thoughts, the better part of the battle will be won. That kind of discernment is cultivated through the usual spiritual disciplines recommended to us by the Church: frequent prayer, Mass attendance and Eucharistic Adoration; regular reception of the sacraments (specially the Eucharist and Reconciliation); Scripture study (and even memorization) and wise counsel from trusted advisors.

Another pattern I noticed in the lives of the saints is their notable refusal to become paranoid about the Enemy. They were able to maintain confidence and courage because they were convinced, as St. John tells us, that greater is the God who is within us than the Evil One who is in the world (see 1 John 4:4). Though they took the Devil seriously, they also showed a kind of holy contempt for him, because they knew he is ultimately a defeated foe.

For this reason, despite sometimes intense, physically violent combat, some of the saints had playful nicknames for the evil spirit that tormented them. St. Catherine called him “the pickpocket” (because he tried to steal souls). St. Pio called him the “ogre.” St. Gemma Galgani called him “chiappino” (“burglar”). St. John Vianney called him “grappin” (“wrestler”). “Oh, the grappin and myself?” he once joked. “We are almost buddies!”

What do you think is the best way to convince someone that Satan exists and is operative?

When speaking with secular people, I would have them consider first the accumulated evidence of confirming testimony. Throughout history, people of vastly different cultures around the globe have affirmed the reality of evil spirits — even when they have disagreed about most other spiritual realities. Many of our contemporaries as well, who by any reasonable standard are intelligent and in their right mind, have testified to having encounters with demonic powers. It’s a kind of universal witness.

No doubt, some types of mental and physical illness have been wrongly attributed to demons, today as in the past. Nor can we deny that superstitions and legends about evil spirits abound. But these misguided ideas about the Devil don’t in themselves prove that he doesn’t exist, just as age-old beliefs about a flat earth don’t prove that our planet doesn’t exist.

Skeptics may demand “scientific” evidence. But what kind of relevant evidence would scientists be capable of measuring? The natural sciences measure time, matter, energy, and motion; the social sciences analyze human behavior. Demons have no physical bodies, and they aren’t human. We can’t put them in test tubes or subject them to psychoanalysis.

The most, then, that scientists can do is observe the effects of demons on the physical world or on human behavior. But the prevailing mentality among scientists will press them to seek other explanations for such phenomena, even when these explanations are utterly inadequate.

When speaking with Catholics, I would appeal to the numerous passages in the Bible that testify to the existence of the Devil and his evil allies. The Gospel accounts in particular record that Jesus Christ himself conversed with Satan. Our Lord’s debate with the Devil in the wilderness was not simply some inner dialogue with himself about temptation.

Christ referred to demons on a number of occasions, and casting evil spirits out of those who were possessed was a striking and indispensable aspect of his mission. Of course, some interpreters have claimed that when Christ cast out evil spirits, he was simply healing a physical or mental disorder misunderstood as demonic possession. But we need only reply that on at least one occasion, at Christ’s command, the demons left their human host to take possession of animals instead. You can’t cast a medical disorder out of a man into a pig.

The reality of demonic powers has been a constant doctrine of the Catholic Church ever since it was founded by Christ through his apostles. They and their successors spoke and wrote about Satan repeatedly. Through the centuries, the great teachers of the Church have consistently affirmed that he is real.

Satan’s existence has also been affirmed in authoritative declarations by popes and Church councils. He’s referred to in the liturgy of the Church. And as this book demonstrates, throughout the centuries numerous saints, whose moral integrity and mental health could hardly be debated, have testified to personal battles with demonic assailants.

In light of all this, to deny the existence of evil spirits seems to me to be an act of blind faith or wishful thinking in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

What Are The Five Basic Forms of Prayer?

What Are The Five Basic Forms of Prayer?

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART FOUR
CHRISTIAN PRAYER

SECTION ONE
PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

CHAPTER ONE
THE REVELATION OF PRAYER

ARTICLE 3
IN THE AGE OF THE CHURCH

2623 On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of the Promise was poured out on the disciples, gathered “together in one place.”92 While awaiting the Spirit, “all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer.”93 The Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls for her everything that Jesus said94 was also to form her in the life of prayer.

2624 In the first community of Jerusalem, believers “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and the prayers.”95 This sequence is characteristic of the Church’s prayer: founded on the apostolic faith; authenticated by charity; nourished in the Eucharist.

2625 In the first place these are prayers that the faithful hear and read in the Scriptures, but also that they make their own – especially those of the Psalms, in view of their fulfillment in Christ.96 The Holy Spirit, who thus keeps the memory of Christ alive in his Church at prayer, also leads her toward the fullness of truth and inspires new formulations expressing the unfathomable mystery of Christ at work in his Church’s life, sacraments, and mission. These formulations are developed in the great liturgical and spiritual traditions. The forms of prayer revealed in the apostolic and canonical Scriptures remain normative for Christian prayer.

I. BLESSING AND ADORATION

2626 Blessing expresses the basic movement of Christian prayer: it is an encounter between God and man. In blessing, God’s gift and man’s acceptance of it are united in dialogue with each other. The prayer of blessing is man’s response to God’s gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing.

2627 Two fundamental forms express this movement: our prayer ascends in the Holy Spirit through Christ to the Father – we bless him for having blessed us;97 it implores the grace of the Holy Spirit that descends through Christ from the Father – he blesses us.98

2628 Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us99 and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the “King of Glory,”100 respectful silence in the presence of the “ever greater” God.101 Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.

II. PRAYER OF PETITION

2629 The vocabulary of supplication in the New Testament is rich in shades of meaning: ask, beseech, plead, invoke, entreat, cry out, even “struggle in prayer.”102 Its most usual form, because the most spontaneous, is petition: by prayer of petition we express awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to him.

2630 The New Testament contains scarcely any prayers of lamentation, so frequent in the Old Testament. In the risen Christ the Church’s petition is buoyed by hope, even if we still wait in a state of expectation and must be converted anew every day. Christian petition, what St. Paul calls {“groaning,” arises from another depth, that of creation “in labor pains” and that of ourselves “as we wait for the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.”103 In the end, however, “with sighs too deep for words” the Holy Spirit “helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”104

2631 The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”105 It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that “we receive from him whatever we ask.”106 Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer.

2632 Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ.107 There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community.108 It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer.109 By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom.

2633 When we share in God’s saving love, we understand that every need can become the object of petition. Christ, who assumed all things in order to redeem all things, is glorified by what we ask the Father in his name.110 It is with this confidence that St. James and St. Paul exhort us to pray at all times.111

III. PRAYER OF INTERCESSION

2634 Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners.112 He is “able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”113 The Holy Spirit “himself intercedes for us . . . and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”114

2635 Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ’s, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm.115

2636 The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely.116 Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel117 but also intercedes for them.118 The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: “for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions,” for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel.119

IV. PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

2637 Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for his glory. The thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their Head.

2638 As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”; “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”120

V. PRAYER OF PRAISE

2639 Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God,121 testifying to the only Son in whom we are adopted and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal: the “one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.”122

2640 St. Luke in his gospel often expresses wonder and praise at the marvels of Christ and in his Acts of the Apostles stresses them as actions of the Holy Spirit: the community of Jerusalem, the invalid healed by Peter and John, the crowd that gives glory to God for that, and the pagans of Pisidia who “were glad and glorified the word of God.”123

2641 “[Address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.”124 Like the inspired writers of the New Testament, the first Christian communities read the Book of Psalms in a new way, singing in it the mystery of Christ. In the newness of the Spirit, they also composed hymns and canticles in the light of the unheard-of event that God accomplished in his Son: his Incarnation, his death which conquered death, his Resurrection, and Ascension to the right hand of the Father.125 Doxology, the praise of God, arises from this “marvelous work” of the whole economy of salvation.126

2642 The Revelation of “what must soon take place,” the Apocalypse, is borne along by the songs of the heavenly liturgy127 but also by the intercession of the “witnesses” (martyrs).128 The prophets and the saints, all those who were slain on earth for their witness to Jesus, the vast throng of those who, having come through the great tribulation, have gone before us into the Kingdom, all sing the praise and glory of him who sits on the throne, and of the Lamb.129 In communion with them, the Church on earth also sings these songs with faith in the midst of trial. By means of petition and intercession, faith hopes against all hope and gives thanks to the “Father of lights,” from whom “every perfect gift” comes down.130 Thus faith is pure praise.

2643 The Eucharist contains and expresses all forms of prayer: it is “the pure offering” of the whole Body of Christ to the glory of God’s name131 and, according to the traditions of East and West, it is the “sacrifice of praise.”

IN BRIEF

2644 The Holy Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls to her all that Jesus said also instructs her in the life of prayer, inspiring new expressions of the same basic forms of prayer: blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise.

2645 Because God blesses the human heart, it can in return bless him who is the source of every blessing.

2646 Forgiveness, the quest for the Kingdom, and every true need are objects of the prayer of petition.

2647 Prayer of intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It knows no boundaries and extends to one’s enemies.

2648 Every joy and suffering, every event and need can become the matter for thanksgiving which, sharing in that of Christ, should fill one’s whole life: “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess 5:18).

2649 Prayer of praise is entirely disinterested and rises to God, lauds him, and gives him glory for his own sake, quite beyond what he has done, but simply because HE IS.

A Powerful Psalm To Boost Your Courage – Pray Now

A Powerful Psalm To Boost Your Courage – Pray Now

When you are about to face your fears, pray these words of King David.

There will always be times in our lives when we must face our greatest fears. For some this happens on a daily basis, waking up each morning to combat the many trials and difficulties in their lives.

The good news is that God is with us and is ready to pour out his grace upon us. However, we must be open to that grace and allow him to fill us with heroic courage that propels us forward, ready to meet whatever lies ahead.

The Psalms can help us in this regard, which contain the many prayerful cries from the heart of King David who daily struggled to follow God’s will in his life. In particular, Psalm 27 is a perfect prayer for courage that can bolster a person’s faith, giving them the grace that they need to confront their greatest fears.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me,
uttering slanders against me,
my adversaries and foes,
they shall stumble and fall.

Though a host encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies round about me;
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
Thou hast said, “Seek ye my face.”
My heart says to thee,
“Thy face, Lord, do I seek.”
Hide not thy face from me.

Turn not thy servant away in anger,
thou who hast been my help.
Cast me not off, forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me up.

Teach me thy way, O Lord;
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
yea, wait for the Lord!