Parents and praying for their children in school


Dr. Edward Mulholland, an assistant professor of classical and modern languages at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, recently discussed a prayer for students composed by St. Thomas Aquinas which the Angelic Doctor prayed before studying:

Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being, graciously let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding.

Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm.

Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion. I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Commenting on this prayer as it concerns college students, Dr. Mulholland describes parents and educators some of whom believe education is only about academics, others of whom believe it’s all about money, and yet others of whom believe it’s about prestige. And, yes, there are those parents and educators—almost certainly a very tiny minority in today’s world—who could care less about all of that, believing as they do that education is all about getting young people to persevere in morality.

As St. Thomas’ prayer reminds all of us, education and the virtue of humility are inextricably related: The proper attitude toward learning—whether in an elementary or secondary school or a college or university—is to allow God to form one’s mind to grasp the light of truth and, then, to will it in one’s life from the beginning through its completion. With that attitude, other utilitarian ends—academic success, money, and prestige—are put into proper perspective with morality becoming an imperative.

In 2008, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life/U.S. Religious Landscape survey reported the prayer habits of Americans. Of particular interest, note the habits of U.S. Catholics:


Among U.S. Catholics who report they do pray and broken down by political ideology, the following pattern emerges:


Of those Catholic parents who report they do pray—irrespective of political ideology—how many pray for their children ?

With the new academic year now underway in many locales, wouldn’t it be wonderful if parents wrote down St. Thomas’ prayer on a notecard and presented it to each of their children, asking them to say the prayer at the start of each day of school? Better yet, to tell their children they will be saying St. Thomas’ prayer for each of them at the start of each school day?




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  1. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm. So sweet.

  2. “Better yet, to tell their children they will be saying St. Thomas’ prayer for each of them at the start of each school day?”
    Parents can bless their children and all people in the world, now and forever, in every prayer. A priest once told me to send my Guardian Angel to protect and stay with my children, then I realized that I could send my Guardian Angel to stay with every person who will accept and allow my angel to accompany him. Now, that is heavy duty prayer not to be denied.
    Thank you for Thomas Aquinas’ prayer. A must save.

  3. The prayer by St. Thomas is new to me and a good one for adults as well in every day life. I still pray to my Guardian Angel each night upon retiring and when I begin a car trip. Yes, Mary De Voe, I too ask for my sons’ angels to watch over them.
    In Catholic school we started the day reciting the Morning Offering, “O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee my prayers, works, joys, sufferings and sacrifices of this day…..”. I said it out loud with my sons on the way to school and have it in calligraphy hanging on our bedroom wall. I still say it each morning although my list of special intentions has certainly increased with age and with the increase of evils in our nation and the world. A holy card of the Morning Offering is a nice hand out for CCD classes. Of course there is always the brief “Holy Spirit, enlighten me!” before tests. Going down memory lane I remember in grade school folding our lined loose leaf in half and at the top center with an ink pen making a cross with JMJ (Jesus Mary and Joseph) beneath it.

  4. The Feast of our Guardian Angels is a month away, October 2nd. It might be of interest on that day for those who have had encounters with their angel to relate them here. ?

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