Midterm exams have started at our high school and several of my students are, for lack of a better word, freaking out… Not only are they trying to shove all the information they had learned all semester into their heads and then be able to regurgitate it out for their exams (which are either midterms for full year classes or finals for half year classes) but some of them are also scrambling to complete missed work before the grades close… they are panicking and losing their teenaged minds. As a case coordinator I am a little concerned for some of my students. So one of the things I do is pray for them.
This morning as I dropped my high schooler off near the Freshman building I told him to say a prayer before his exam. His typical, cynical, gloomy, teen, Aspie (Asperger’s syndrome) response, “Prayer doesn’t do anything.”
Whaaaaat… !!! I turned For King and Country off (you know mom is upset if she turns her music off!) and explained that prayer does too do something! (Tried to NOT be that crazy Catholic mom)… I explained that praying was not magic; like God was going to help you get a 100 on the test! No. Praying before a test helps you be ready mentally and spiritually for the test. You pray for courage, peace, understanding, knowledge, wisdom and strength … stuff like that … I explained any time I had to do something hard, like get up in front of a lot of people and speak, I would pray for courage and peace and I would receive it from Him. I was able to DO what I needed to because God gave me the strength. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He nodded and got out of the minivan.
Now I have no idea if he did pray, but I assume (well, hope), after my explanation, he did. Though he can be the grumpy, disparaging Aspergian, who always thinks he is not good enough or smart enough… he is actually the one in our family who remembers to say grace when we are at a restaurant or at someone’s house … and he is the one, who at age five, not only learned the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, but he memorized The St Michael the Archangel prayer and Psalm 23… Most adults don’t know those! I always have to remind him of that… You, my lovely son, are smart!
Though, I must say, sometimes miracles do happen when you pray before an exam… several years ago I was headed to Rivier College to take the (evil) Praxis. I prayed the rosary as I drove; I was very nervous about the math section of the test. Well, I totally thought I bombed the math section (I did fine on the English section)… I seriously thought I would have to take it again… there was no way I passed, I could not do a lot of the problems and I guessed on a lot… well, the prayers must have worked… and I believe my guardian angel had to have answered some of those questions… because I passed (by one point! But I passed!)!!! Now that was a miracle.
During the exams this morning I remembered one of my favorite Franciscan saints, St. Joseph of Cupertino, the patron saint of studying.
He was known for his flying (levitations! Yes he flew! Many people saw him do this!) and he was a simple, humble… and well… not a very intelligent man… BUT he was faithful and holy! And he really wanted to become a priest. During one of the oral exams the examiner asked him the one thing he knew well and he passed! He became a deacon and then a priest! So this is why he is the patron of studying! It would be great if more students knew about him! Here is his prayer:
O St. Joseph of Cupertino who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. Grant that I may like you succeed in the (here mention the name of the test) examination.
In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
O St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for me
O Holy Ghost enlighten me
Our Lady of Good Studies pray for me
Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me.
Remember, when you succeed in the exams then you should thank St. Joseph of Cupertino.
I love this picture, he is like a super hero.
I have prayed and will continue to pray for my students… I just hope they are praying too.