Mental prayer contains three parts: the preparation, the meditation, and the conclusion.
1. In the PREPARATION there are three acts: an act of faith, of the presence of God, and of adoration; 2, an act of humility and of sorrow for our sins, and, 3, a petition for light. They may be made in the following manner: My God, I believe Thee present within me; I adore Thee with my whole soul.
Be careful to make this act with a lively faith, for a lively remembrance of the divine presence contributes greatly to remove distractions. Cardinal Caracciolo, Bishop of Aversa, used to say that when a person is distracted in meditation there is reason to think that he has not made a lively act of faith.
2. Lord, I should now be in hell in punishment of the offences I have offered to Thee. I am sorry for them from the bottom of my heart; have mercy on me.
3. Eternal Father, for the sake of Jesus and Mary, give me light in this meditation, that I may draw fruit from it.
We must, then, recommend ourselves to the Blessed Virgin by saying a Hail Mary, to St. Joseph, to our guardian angel, and to our holy patron. These acts, says St. Francis de Sales, ought to be made with fervor, but should be short, that we may pass immediately to the meditation.
II. On entering on the meditation we must take leave of all extraneous thoughts, saying with St. Bernard, "O my thoughts! wait here;" after prayer we shall speak on other matters. Be careful not to allow the mind to wander where it wishes; but should a distracting thought enter, we must not be disturbed, nor seek to banish it with a violent effort, but let us remove it calmly and return to God. Let us remember that the devil labors hard to disturb us in the time of meditation in order to make us abandon it. Let him, then, who omits mental prayer on account of distractions, be persuaded that he gives delight to the devil. It is impossible, says Cassian, that our minds should be free from all distractions during prayer. Let us, then, never give up meditation, however great our distractions may be. St. Francis de Sales says that if in mental prayer we should do nothing else than continually banish distractions and temptations, the meditation is well made. And before him St. Thomas taught that involuntary distractions do not take away the fruit of mental prayer. When we perceive that we are deliberately distracted, let us desist from the voluntary defect, and banish the distraction, but let us be careful not to discontinue our meditation.
The Fifteen Prayers of Saint Bridget to our Suffering Lord Jesus Christ
For a long time, St. Bridget wanted to know the number of wounds Our Lord received during His Passion. He one day appeared to her and said, “I received 5480 blows on My Body. If you wish to honor them in some way, say 15 Our Fathers and 15 Hail Marys with the following Prayers (which He taught her) for a whole year. When the year is up, you will have honored each one of My Wounds.”
1 Our Father...
(Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.)
1 Hail Mary...
(Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.)
O Jesus Christ! Eternal Sweetness to those who love Thee. Joy surpassing all joy and all desire. Salvation and Hope of all sinners. Who hast proved that Thou hast no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men, recall all the sufferings Thou hast endured from the instant of Thy Conception and especially during Thy Passion, as it was decreed and ordained from all Eternity in the Divine Plan. Remember, O Lord, that during the Last Supper with Thy disciples, having washed their feet, Thou gavest them Thy Most Precious Body and Blood and while at the same time Thou didst sweetly console them, Thou didst foretell them Thy coming Passion.
Remember the sadness and bitterness which Thou didst experience in Thy Soul as Thou Thyself bore witness saying, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death.” Remember the fear, anguish and pain that Thou didst suffer in Thy Delicate Body before the torment of the Crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood. Thou wast betrayed by Judas, Thy disciple. Arrested by the people of a nation Thou hadst chosen and elevated. Accused by false witnesses. Unjustly judged by three judges during the Flower of Thy Youth and during the Solemn Paschal Season. Remember that Thou wast despoiled of Thy Garments and clothed in those of derision. That Thy Face and Eyes were veiled. That Thou wast buffeted, crowned with thorns and a reed placed in Thy Hands. That Thou was crushed with blows and overwhelmed with affronts and outrages. In memory of all these pains and sufferings which Thou didst endure before Thy Passion on the Cross, grant me before my death, true contrition, a sincere and entire confession worthy satisfaction and the remission of all my sins. Amen.
1 Our Father...
1 Hail Mary...
O Jesus! True Liberty of Angels, Paradise of Delights, remember the horror and sadness which Thou didst endure when Thy enemies, like furious lions, surrounded Thee and by thousands of insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard of cruelties, tormented Thee at will. In consideration of these torments and insulting words, I beseech Thee, O My Savior, to deliver me from all my enemies, visible and invisible and to bring me under Thy Protection to the perfection of Eternal Salvation. Amen.