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May 22 | The Most Difficult Prayer of Your Life

Saint Rita of Cascia

A.D. 1381–1457

What is the most difficult prayer you’ve ever had to make? 

Maybe the most difficult prayer any of us can make is to surrender to God’s will for our lives. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. You pray those words every time you say the Our Father, but have you ever considered the depth of them? It means doing God’s will in our daily lives—in everything we think, do and say.

Surrendering ourselves to the will of God is the Mount Everest of spirituality.

Saint Rita of Cascia climbed that Mount Everest of spirituality, even when the path seemed almost impossible.

Rita’s life was one of tragedy and profound trust in God. She desired to become a nun from an early age, but her parents arranged for her to marry Paolo Mancini, a man who, though initially charming, proved to be violent and angry. Thy will be done. This was Rita’s foundational prayer to God as she also prayed for her husband to improve his character. She prayed for 18 straight years, and then her husband finally softened and became gentle, just before being murdered due to a local feud. 

Thy will be done. No doubt Rita found it more difficult to make this prayer now. Letting God’s will be done through her meant forgiving her husband’s killers. Thy will be done became an even harder prayer when her two sons did not forgive their father’s killers, and instead vowed revenge. 

Rita somehow found the strength to make the most difficult prayer of her life. She prayed that her sons would be spared from committing a mortal sin and enacting their revenge. She prayed that, if it were God’s will, they would even be taken to heaven before that could happen.

Both of Rita’s sons died of natural causes before they could complete their revenge. What must Rita have felt? It is impossible to know, but even after so much, she sought out God’s will and entered an Augustinian convent in Cascia, Italy. She became a nun, and gave her whole life to God.

Saint Rita of Cascia spent the rest of her days within the convent walls. Her spirituality was deeply rooted in the passion of Jesus, and she meditated often on the sorrows and surrender of Jesus. One saying of Jesus to the Father was particularly relevant to her life, and is relevant to all our lives: “Not my will, but thy will be done.” (Luke 22:42)

So, what is the most difficult prayer you’ve ever had to make? It was probably some version of, Thy will be done. St. Rita’s life isn’t meant to scare us, though it is full of tragedy. It’s meant to be a reminder that, as difficult as it may be to trust, and as hard as it may be to see at times, God’s will is always for our ultimate good.

Let St. Rita’s example encourage you to be able to pray, in whatever challenges you face, Thy will be done.


Thy will be done.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Lost And Impossible Causes, Sickness, Wounds, Marital Problems, Abuse, Mothers

Symbols: Forehead Stigmata, Roses, and Bees

Feast Day: May 22

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Julia

Canonized: May 24, 1900

Canonized By: Pope Leo XIII

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