A Meditation on a Catholic Prayer Card

The image shown on the prayer card of Our Lady of Knock, who is the Queen of Ireland and Mother of the Universal Church.

The image shown on the prayer card of Our Lady of Knock, who is the Queen of Ireland and Mother of the Universal Church.

During a recent trip to Portland to see my friend Johnathan, I challenged him to take me somewhere in the city we’d never been before.  And that was how a Witch and an atheist ended up spending the afternoon at The Grotto, or The National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother.  The place is gorgeous, and Johnathan and I very much enjoyed the natural setting and all the various shrines and things…but we probably had the most fun checking out all the Catholic paraphernalia in the gift store.  In particular, he and I spent a very long time going over all the different prayer cards in the place.  We had a bit of fun reading off some of the prayers to each other, but they were all sort of wishy-washy…that is, until we got to Our Lady of Knock.  “Whoa, Johnathan,” I said as I flipped the card and skimmed the text.  “This one is hardcore.  Listen.”

My Queen!  My Mother!  I give you all myself, and, to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my entire self.  Wherefore, O Loving Mother, as I am your own, keep me, defend me, as your property and possession.

It sent shivers up our spines, and we readily agreed that this was the prayer card for the Catholic BDSM enthusiasts.  Of course, I bought the card (Johnathan left with a holographic one where a beam of light splits a nun’s head when you flip it around).  I did a bit of research and discovered that this particular prayer is supposed to be that for the Mother of the Universal Church and that there’s another one for Our Lady of Knock specifically…but the two got combined recently, so I guess we just go with the more dramatic prayer.

The thing, though, is that I really quite like the prayer.  It reminds me of our five-fold kiss but takes it to a really intense place.  We have all this rhetoric in contemporary society that tells us people are neither property nor possessions.  Even in the kink community where this sort of thing is played with in a more positive sense, a 24/7 service sub is a bit of a rare thing.  And yet, when that relationship is applied to that between the Gods and man, it seems very, very attractive.  If this was a relationship I had with the Gods, I feel like I could just let so much of my day just…go.  As the possession of my God, what I do is entirely his will, and I can give up all my experiences to him and just be receptive.  And that seems to be a really neat place to be.

But I’ve concluded that my relationship to my Gods is not as their plaything.  In the Gnostic Mass, participants state “There is no part of me that is not of the Gods” after receiving a Cake of Light, and I think that is closer to how I view my relationship to the Gods as a Wiccan.  There is a part of me that is divine, that is part of what ‘God’ is.  It doesn’t make me an equal to the archetypal Gods, but it prevents me from being their possession, too.  I get an agency–my experiences become the Gods’ experiences and we all learn something because of them.  And so, alas, as much as I like the Knock prayer…it’s not really one I’m going to adapt to my own practice.

Still…I’d forgotten how much meditation and prayer I could get out of a prayer card.  Maybe I should look into creating a series of Pagan Prayer Cards, eh?

 

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2 thoughts on “A Meditation on a Catholic Prayer Card

  1. I really have to go to the Grotto. I think I’ve been avoiding it, as I’ve been avoiding Mary for about….. 3years now, ever since i quite my dissertation on her!

    • The grotto is lovely in its way…incredibly tacky in others. But it is a rather stunning natural setting, and it’s really pleasant to just sit in front of the grotto itself and reflect. Or in the church adjacent, which is downright gorgeous.

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