Devotions

Devotions

The terms ‘devotions’ and ‘popular devotions’, refer to various practices of popular piety. They are essentially personal, one-on-one, private activities, even when a group is performing them. That is to say, they are not liturgical or official public, worship of the church; whereas the Mass and the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours are acts of public, worship of the whole Church.

The words ‘devotion’ and ‘devotions’ suggest careful, loving, tender attention and service given by one person to another (e.g. parents to their children). These pious prayers and practices are ‘devotional’ because they spring from and reinforce one’s personal love of God. Working on the imagination, the senses and the emotions, devotions help the worshiper understand that God is love and prompt him to a deeper love with Love who is God. Through the words and actions of devotions, worshippers experience and express a full range of feelings, from awe and reverence, dependence and confidence, gratitude and love, toward and for God.
While the term ‘devotions’ can be taken to mean certain traditional prayers and practices, it can also be used to refer to one’s entire personal prayer life, one’s spirituality, and, thus, to include scripture reading, meditation, and other practices.

It must be emphasized here that devotions do not substitute for Liturgical Prayer, nor are they in any way competitive with Liturgy. Rather they complement and prepare for Liturgical Prayer by intensifying the worshipper’s personal sense of, and love for God, and awareness of the need of loving neighbor as one loves oneself. 

The following are some of the commonly found popular Devotions and devotional practices and spiritual exercises: