Never entertain sin or thoughts of sin! Upon the first whiff of sin immediately draw the sword and pray:
forgive me for being foolish! Help me see how ridiculous _____ (name the temptation) is!
grant me the humility to accept your gift of the grace of _____ , which always defeats the temptation of _____ .
guide me to see and immediately take the one next step to breathe my Breath of God into the world. Specifically, my next step is to _____. Give me the fortitude to go and do it now.
In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen!
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7).
Asking for the weapons of the Salvation Arts always remains in God, making His words remain in us. The prayer to the Father asks for the Salvation Art of Mindfulness to see how ridiculous sin is. The prayer to Jesus asks for one of the virtues, another Salvation Art. And the final prayer to the Holy Spirit asks for the gifts needed to breath our inner breath of God into the world.
Freedom and laughter. If you don’t feel light and free immediately after calling Satan’s temptation ridiculous, you didn’t name the temptation clearly or specifically enough. Satan fights us in this prayer and does all he can to hide behind rocks on the battlefield that he may attack us with renewed vigor when we arrogantly think we’ve won. As long as Satan remains hidden behind a rock, we aren’t able to accept the gift of wild freedom God the Father always offers us. We have to exercise our will against Satan and name with clarity the temptation — not the detailed circumstances, but the flavor of the deadly sin.
Thus, “help me see how ridiculous my sin is!” fails because it isn’t specific in naming the deadly sin, leaving lots of rocks for Satan to hide behind.
Likewise, “help me see how ridiculous it is when Sam is praised at work and all my hard work, which was hours and hours and which Sam needed to do his work, for which he was praised … is!” fails because rather than being prayer that simply names the temptation it repeats and deepens the sin itself.
Instead pray: “Father help me see how ridiculous it is when I am jealous of Sam for succeeding!” This removes all hiding places without entering into the turmoil of the sin, inadvertently repeating the sin anew. Instead, it is short, simple, specific and clear.
If you pray to the Father and do not immediately experience the gift of wild, jubilant freedom, you prayed it wrong. Dig deep, examine how to name the specific deadly sin without repeating the sin, and pray it again. Like using any weapon, the more you wield the Trinity Sword Prayer, the more effective you will become! This is spiritual warfare, you are exercising your will to trust God over Satan, to choose your inner Saint over your inner Sinner. Satan attacks where you are weakest, so naming where his attacking frees you to accept God’s abundance, and graces (weaponry). Fight to get this prayer right, and you will be stunned by God’s loving abundance!
Courage. Being emboldened. Again, if we do not immediately feel emboldened on praying it, we are allowing our Sinner to hide in how we are praying, preventing us from being able to accept the gift Jesus freely offers us. One way this happens is in our asking for something that isn’t a grace. If it isn’t one of the seven heavenly, life giving virtues, it may not be a grace. As long as what you ask Jesus for is a grace, it will be given and you will feel emboldened.
Action. If you don’t immediately find yourself with your first two gifts (wild abandon and and courageous) doing the next step to breathe your Breath of God into the world, free of the burden of temptation, you prayed it wrong. Take some time to get to know your Breath of God. Understand that it is through everyday ordinary tasks that miraculous things happen to transform the world, to help build God’s kingdom here and now. Make your next step simple and specific and something you can do right now. Open the gift of the Holy Spirit by going and doing it, right now!
Saint Paul extolls us to “pray without ceasing.” A powerful way to do this is to realize all activities worth doing ought to be prayer. Promote that way of seeing the world by praying the Trinity Sword Prayer, changing the prayer to the Father to:
“Father, thank you for your wild abundance in the beauty of today. Help me build your kingdom!” Then continue with the prayer to Jesus and the prayer to the Holy Spirit.
Suddenly, your value, meaning, purpose as a gift of wild abundance from God is clear, as is the single thing you need to do next to breathe God’s breath into the world! Go get ‘um!
Is there reference to any of the Trinity Sword Prayer in scripture? Yes! It appears in the Gospels is concept, John 21:15–19. Peter, called Simon again in these versus by Jesus to point out how his sin (how ridiculous he has been), has fallen for the sin of cowardice in the face of his fear during Jesus’ trial — denying Jesus three times. Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him three times — to directly counter and overcome the bigger Sinner Simon Peter has because of his sin. Each time, Jesus then tells him the next concrete action he is to take: “Feed my lambs … Tend my sheep … Feed my sheep” — aka: be Pope and take care of my Body, the Church! What other scriptures reveal this pattern of seeing how ridiculous sin is, asking for grace, and concretely moving forward?
Ask and it shall be given you: multiple places in the Gospels Jesus says if we ask for things in union with God they will be given. As referenced above, John 15:7 is one of these.
Either our faith is "on" or it isn't (just like the zeros and ones in the digital world). One of the amazing gifts of the Trinity Sword Prayer is it helps us discover areas where we aren't trusting God as much as we might think, giving us the opportunity to exercise our will and choose to trust where trust seems impossible. "Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!"
One question I've received about this prayer is what about (soon to be) Saint Mother Teresa's years of despair? Surely there must be more nuance here to the "pray right and these gifts will be given"? If a Saint, like Mother Teresa or Padre Pio experiences despair, surely they know how to pray right?
First, Saint Ignatius in his two "Discernment of Spirits" appendices to his 30 Day Retreat, reveals there are three causes of despair (desolation), all of which have some form of sin at their root. Somehow, some way, if we are in despair, there is someplace in our soul we don't yet trust God with wild abandon. This is true for all of us, Saints included.
What is amazing about Saints who experience desolation in their prayer life is they understand it is part of their purgation, or purgatory, and challenging as it is, they embrace it, trusting God to heal them even as they anguish, and they continue to persist in their ministry despite it all. This is what Jesus calls us to do, because faith bears fruit in all seasons, including desolation. In the Gospel of Mark (11:11-26), Jesus curses the fig tree because it is not bearing fruit out of season. To the eyes of the world, this seem unjust. But this is Jesus, who defines justice. Through faith, we are called to bear fruit in all seasons, even the season of despair.
One of the powerful gifts of the Trinity Sword Prayer is that praying it "wrong" is an invitation to examination of consciences, as well as a guide map to discovering where we are deaf, blind, dumb, and stupid -- where and how our inner Sinner is hiding. The more we discover this, the more we are able to open ourselves up to Christ's light, which always abolishes the Sinner, and receive the abundant gifts God has already given but we have yet to unwrap! Even in our despair, God is a God of wild abundance!