The first thought we have upon waking should be of God. The last thought we have before falling asleep should be of God, our loving Father and Creator.
Even before our eyes are opened, our hearts and minds should be thanking God for another day and for watching over us while we slept. There is so much to thank God for even that early in the morning! Think about it...a warm bed, a safe home, family...things we should not take for granted considering others are not so fortunate.
Now when I awake, I immediately try to greet Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph as well as my guardian angel. It is really a good way to start the day. It makes me feel joy in my heart! Then as soon as I get out of bed, I kneel for the morning offering.
The Morning Offering is not only a great way to start our day but it is also, according to Father Paul O'Sullivan in the his little book An Easy Way to Become a Saint, our first and most important prayer. The following is what he wrote regarding our morning and evening prayers:
...Morning and evening prayers are most important factors in human life. Far from being a matter of minor importance, they are the most urgent of our daily obligations. If well said, they obtain for us all needful graces and protect us from many evils that may be waiting us in the course of the day.
If badly said or omitted, we expose ourselves to grievous calamities. Many fall victims to disease or are killed by accidents or meet with premature deaths because they have not prayed...
Some unbelievers may scoff and think this borders on superstition. However, what Father O'Sullivan says has to be true. I have heard and read many stories on those who failed to ask for God's protection. If we place ourselves under God's protection, raising our hearts and minds to Him during the day, asking Him to protect us...either directly or through His blessed Mother, angels and saints...do you really think He won't make sure we are safe and sound? One priest told me how so many car accidents could be avoided if people would only pray before they drive off.
Our morning offering will also keep the devil at bay. He wouldn't dare attack someone whose heart, mind and soul is so united to God. And even if he tries we will be fortified against any temptations he may try to lure us with.
The following is Father Sullivan's words on this demonic attacks:
...There is certainly one peril that we have to face very day of our lives, which comes, as St. Peter and St. Paul warn us, from the fearful malice of the devil, who is ever using his keen angelic intelligence to work our ruin. We are as defenseless as children in his hands. Woe to us if we have not God's help in this daily conflict with our implacable enemy!...At night we MUST do an examination of conscience. It will help in seeing where we failed to do God's will and how we offended Him. Then we can try to correct these failings the next day. These examinations of conscience will be very helpful not only when we go to Confession but also in growing in sanctity.
Many Catholics seem to have little fear of the devil. They take no precautions against his attacks. He is the greatest evil and the most terrible danger that menaces us during all our life and most especially at the hour of death... "
The night time prayers should ones to thank God again for all the blessings and graces we received that day. I also like to pray for each and every member of my family by name, my friends, priests, special intentions, etc. I also add Archbishop Fulton Sheen's spiritual adoption prayer and end all this with the Memorare.
If you would like to share how you pray in the morning and evening, please feel free.
The following are a few Morning Offering prayers that you can use.
This is the one I pray daily:
THE MORNING OFFERING
O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary
[here kiss your Scapular as sign of your consecration to Mary,
which carries a partial indulgence], I offer Thee the Precious
Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining
with It the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day.
O my Jesus, I desire to day to gain every indulgence and merit
I can and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate,
that she may best apply them in the interests of They Most
Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
The Morning Offering II
O Jesus, through the
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer Thee my prayers, works,
joys and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of Thy
Sacred Heart, in union with
the holy sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world, in
reparation for my sins, for
the intentions of all our
associates, and in particular
for the general intention
recommended this month.
Daily Renewal of Total Consecration (for Militia Immaculata Members)
Immaculata, Queen and Mother of the Church, I renew my consecration to you this day and for always, so that you may use me for the coming of the Kingdom of Jesus in the whole world. To this end I offer you all my prayers, actions, and sacrifices of this day.
NIGHT PRAYER IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FROM OUR LORD
ETERNAL FATHER, I desire to rest in Thy Heart this night. I make the
intention of offering to Thee every beat of my heart, joining to them as many acts
of love and desire. I pray that even while I am asleep, I will bring back to Thee
souls that offend Thee. I ask forgiveness for the whole world, especially for
those who know Thee and yet sin. I offer to Thee my every breath and heartbeat
as a prayer of reparation. Amen.
For a Nightly Examination of Conscience utilizing Saint Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises click here.
An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, OP (EDM), Tan Books