Devotions have been defined as “external acts of piety” which over the years have risen up among the people or within different cultures. They are not an official part of the liturgy of the Church but instead are simple personal prayers or actions that somebody along the line just thought up or were inspired to do. People just wanted to have some pious practice or prayer that would help them to keep the fire of God’s love alive in their hearts as they labored through their busy days – and some of them really caught on.
Some of the more common devotions which have been practiced and have spread throughout the years include the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, and Divine Mercy. Beyond these is a dizzying array of Catholic devotions that include but are far from limited to:
The Holy Face of Jesus
The Brown Scapular and The Green Scapular
The Seven Sorrows of Mary
The Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin
The Holy Cloak of Joseph
The Miraculous Medal
First Friday and First Saturday devotions
The St. Michael Chaplet
The Franciscan Crown
St. Bridget’s 15 Prayers
It is easy to become confounded and mystified by the great number and oddity of Catholic devotions – but devotions are a fun part of what makes us unique as Catholics. If you don’t have a favorite, do a little study and investigating and pray that God would show you a new favorite devotion. It might fan into flame His love in your heart as you labor through these otherwise cold and dark winter days.
I have to admit there are some devotions that include images and prayers that seem way too overly sentimental for my taste. But then I probably could stand to develop more the sentimental and emotional side to my spirit. I can tend to be a little too sober and cerebral.
Try something new. Keep it simple, try to be faithful to it for a while, and pray it like you really mean it. You might be surprised what a difference it makes. Blessed piety to you all.