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There is something soothing about those final hours of the day. The world has become hushed, cares have dwindled – at least for a while – and the earth seems still and silent. It is in those last hours of each evening, just before bed, that I offer my final prayers of the day. They aren’t the first of the day, but they are the last – and they are the ones I look foward to the most.

At my little altar, a small blue votive lamp burns for much of the time – and certainly, always during those last prayers. The flickering flame from that tiny candle gently illuminates the room, providing the only light other than that which sneaks in from the window. It is in the glow of that little lamp that I kneel close to the Blessed Virgin and pour out my heart. On some nights, those prayers come very easily; while on others, the very act of prayer is a great struggle and it is all I can do to correctly remember the words and place the prayers in the proper order.

Here, late at night there are always only two prayers. The first is the Rosary – offered, above all else, to remove the thorns from the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and then for all my other intentions. The second is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy – this one is for sinners, the dying and the Holy Souls, for the sanctification of the Church and for the salvation of the world.

Accompanying these two prayers are my specific intentions of the day. I never need to go looking for these – they always find me. They come from conversations, from the news, and from various other sources; and there are always plenty of them. That little blue lamp is for all of those intentions.

For me, this last hour of the waking day is the most important, and the one I cannot do without. I have done this for a long time now and I won’t stop, no matter what.

Pope Francis spoke recently about how prayer changes us and I know that he was right – it does indeed change us. But we need to stick with it, to persevere. And when we do, graces comes in it’s wake.

I know that not everyone prays – or at least, prays regularly. I wish that were different, that all souls could experience the divine light of that last hour of the day.

How changed we would be; how changed our world would be.

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