This book was first published (as The Catholic Scout’s Prayer Book) in 1912 by the Catholic
Truth Society. It is therefore in the public domain in the United States (as are all works published
before 1923). As its author is anonymous, and more than 70 years have elapsed since its
publication, it is also in the public domain in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New
· · · · ·
The Federation of North-American Explorers is a Catholic faith-based youth movement affiliated
with the Union Internationale des Guides et Scouts d’Europe or FSE (Fédération du Scoutisme
Européen). To find out more about our program in general and about the 1st North Star Group in
particular, please visit our web sites:
SAINT THOMAS MORE
An English Martyr who feared God, honoured the King, helped others whenever he could, met
suffering and hardship with a jest, chose to die rather than fail in his duty, and went to his death
with a smile upon his lips.
LORD ROBERT BADEN-POWELL
“No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws.”
VEN. FR. JACQUES SEVIN, S.J.
Founder of Catholic Scouting in France
“ET VOS ESTOTE PARATI”
It may seem a strange thing, but it is quite true that the watchword of the Explorers—“be
prepared”—was uttered once long ago by our Lord Himself. Perhaps it is not so strange after all,
because he was speaking of the thing for which it is most important that everyone should be
always ready. Everyone must die, and no one knows when. Upon the way we die everything
depends; everything—our happiness for ever and ever. And the only way to make sure of dying a
good death is to “be prepared” the whole time by living a good life. This little book is meant to
help you to live a good life, as every Explorer should, and thus die a good death; and so these
few words are put at the beginning, with our Lord’s “be prepared” in Latin at the top. On page
XXX you will find a prayer to obtain great grace from Almighty God, without Whose help all
that we can do must be in vain.
- The Explorer Promise
- The Explorer Law
- Our Teachers and Helpers
- Morning and Night Prayers
- Two “Good Turns”Hearing Mass
- Our Daily Bread
- Prayers for Holy Communion
- Serving Mass
- The Rosary
- Devotion to the Will of God
- Prayers for Confession
- Some Things a Catholic Explorer Should Know
- Prayer for the Pope
- Prayer for the King
- Prayer for Benefactors
- Prayer for those in Trouble
- Prayers to obtain the Grace of Purity
- Prayer for the Faithful Departed
- Prayer for a Happy Death
- Blessing of Troop Colours
THE EXPLORER PROMISE
On my Honour and with God’s grace I promise to do my best:
1. To serve God, my Church, my country.
Why God first? For two reasons: (1) because our chief duty must be to God Who made us and
to Whom we belong; and (2) because this chief duty really contains all the others. The duties we
owe to the Church, to our country, to one another, to ourselves, come, each of them, from some
command of God. And so we must not only try to fulfil them all, but in doing so put them in the
same order that God does. For instance, our religion must come before all else, because of all the
things that God has entrusted to us our souls are the most important.
By “my country” we mean not only the leader of the country (King, President, Prime
Minister), but all those also whom God has set in a place of authority.
Our duty to God and to them means chiefly two things: obedience and loyalty. We must obey
God always; we must obey superiors too because they represent Him, so long as they order
nothing which is plainly contrary to His commands. But besides obedience we must render them
loyalty, i.e. we must be eager to do not merely what is commanded, but whatever we feel that
they would like, as well; and we must be ready to back them up and, if necessary, defend them.
Obedience and loyalty are two marks of a good Explorer. (See Explorer Law, 2, 7.)
2. To help others at all times.
Our Lord has told us that we show whether we love Him much or little by the way we treat
others. One of the examples He has given us for our guidance is the parable of the Good
Samaritan. It is a lesson of His own life, His kindness, gentleness, and patience. Those who
learned that lesson best spent their lives in doing good to others and in relieving sorrow and
distress. Now, as saints of God in heaven, they are always ready to help us in our troubles by praying for us. Especially our Blessed Lady, who loved our Lord the most, loves to give us this
help; and therefore we call her in the litany “Comforter of the Afflicted” and “Help of
So, as obedience to God is the first mark of a good Explorer, he is anxious to do one of the
chief things God asks of him—to be kind to others. You will notice that the promise says “at all
times.” As Explorers we undertake to do at least one good turn every day; but if we are really
keen about it, we have only to keep our eyes open in order to find any number of things to do for
others. (See Explorer Law, 3, 4, 5.)
3. To obey the Explorer Law.
Every work and every game has its appointed rules. Without these, men and boys could
neither work nor play. Every nation has its laws and so has the Church. Every kind of society
must have its rules or it would fall to pieces—the Explorers are no exception. Not being a
“slacker,” you of course want to keep them; but it is just as well to know why they should be
kept. If you just look through the list and remember at the same time what you have read about
the Explorer Promise, you will easily see the reason why.
THE EXPLORER LAW
1. An Explorer’s honour is to be trusted.
“Honour” means a truthful conscience. “God is truth” and to utter or act a lie, or not to be
open and straightforward in our dealings with others, is not only to fail in loyalty to God, but
actually to mock Him. It is also often unjust to our neighbor, towards whom God has bidden us
be not only just but kind. And as it is the part of a good Explorer to be loyal to God and kind and
considerate to others, it follows then we he says a thing he means it, that his word is as good as
his bond, and that in all he does he is absolutely “straight.”
2. An Explorer is loyal to his country, leaders, parents, and subordinates.
This has been explained under the first part of the Explorer Promise. But remember that,
because he is loyal to God, a Catholic Explorer is loyal all round:
To the Catholic Faith which God has revealed.
To the Holy See and those whom God has appointed to rule in spiritual things.
To the King and his Officers whom God has set to rule in temporal things.
To parents in whose care God has placed him.
To teachers and others who for the time take the place of parents.
To employers and others who direct his work.
To his friends who trust him.
To his Chiefs, to his Officers, to his Troop, and his Patrol.
All these have a claim on your loyalty, and the right, each in his own degree, to your service.
You must neither speak ill of them nor allow others to do so if you can hinder it; but on the
contrary back them up in every way you can—except of course in anything which might offend
3. A Explorer’s duty is to serve others.
That is plain Catholic teaching. You cannot be a follower of Christ unless you are willing to
sacrifice yourself for others, and the motive must always be for our Lord’s own sake. He has told
us that the good we do to others He will take as done to Himself. So you must try and see our
Lord in every one, be they good or bad, and help them for His sake. The chance of doing this
may come at any moment, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing; and therefore an
Explorer must “be prepared,” first, by learning everything he can which can make him useful,
and then by being always on the watch for the “good turn” which he can do. If you remember
that it is our Lord Himself Who expects the help whatever it may be, you will run no risks of not
being ready when you are wanted.
There is one “good turn” which you can do for anybody at any time, i.e. say a prayer for them.
In this way you can give great help to many who need it, even if it is out of your power to be of
use to them in any other way. (See pp. 27, 52, 53.)
4. An Explorer is a friend to all and a brother to every other Explorer.
This also is plain Catholic teaching. We must not despise the poor because they are poor, nor
be envious of the rich because they are rich. Neither must we envy anyone more gifted than
ourselves, nor look down on those less gifted than we are. We all go to Holy Communion
together, and if our Lord comes to each one and does not pick out one rather than another, what
right have we to come away from the Altar and make differences where He has made none? We
are all brothers, created, redeemed, and fed by the same God Who is the Father of all—brothers
of Jesus Christ. Even if another should injure us we must not treat him ill, but forgive him,
remembering that God has forgiven us.
5. An Explorer is courteous and chivalrous.
“Courteous” really means to behave as they do who attend the King. Do not forget that you are
always in attendance on the King of Kings, Whom you serve in the person of those who stand in
need of the help that you can give. Treat them all, therefore, not only with politeness, but with
respect. The greater their weakness or their necessity the more courteous you should be. An
Explorer shows courtesy especially to the aged, to the afflicted, to women, girls, and little
children. He respects Jesus Christ in each, and takes liberties with no one. He refuses “tips”
because he knows that it is a privilege to serve the King of Kings; and besides, he looks for a
better reward than that for being courteous and kind. When he does take money it is for real
work and done to earn it. For a like reason he does not talk about the “good turns” he does; so
that God is pleased, he wants praise from no one else.
6. An Explorer sees in nature God's creations; he loves plants and animals.
Animals are put in our power by God, and He will require an account of our use of them.
When necessary they may be killed for food, and it is not wrong to make them the objects of
your sport—if it is a sport, and not mere cruelty. A sportsman gives his quarry a good chance of
escape, and then tries to secure it by special skill. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether a
certain thing is really sport or only cruelty, and then it is best to be on the safe side and leave it
alone. Although animals cannot, strictly speaking, have any rights, God has the right to demand
that we should use and not misuse them. To allow them to suffer without sufficient reason is
wrong; and anyone who did so would show that he was cruel and thought lightly of the gifts of
God. It is also wrong to go to the other extreme, and treat animals with more consideration than
human beings, as some people do. Animals have no immortal souls and are not our brethren. But God has given them life and feeling; they are a trust put into our hands, and as such we must use
7. An Explorer obeys proper orders and leaves nothing half-finished.
Obedience is the hardest to keep of all the laws, and the best. Our Lord sets us the example,
having been obedient unto death. Obedience means discipline, because it means giving up self
and our own will to do the will of God. We should obey, not because the command pleases us or
because the one who gives it is a friend, but because God speaks to us by the voice of everyone
who has the right to command. Whether we like the order and the person who gives it, or not,
does not matter. If our obedience is real and not a sham, it is given for God’s sake, willingly.
Disobedience brought death into the world; obedience brought our salvation. If we mean to gain
the victory over ourselves, as every Christian is bound to do, we must first of all be obedient—to
God before all, and then to those whom He has placed in authority.
8. An Explorer smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
Holy Scripture tells us that we should “serve the Lord with gladness.” This is so important that
St. Francis of Sales did not hesitate to say that sadness often does us more harm than right-down
big sins. In fact, not to be cheerful is to be mean with Almighty God, and to act as if we did not
owe everything to Him and could not trust Him, or as if we grudged the obedience and the little
sacrifices He asks of us. There is nothing more hateful than meanness.
Sometimes, it is true, things seem to us to go wrong very badly. But when this happens we
must recollect three things: first, that we don’t know quite everything, but God does; second, that
though there are lots of things we can’t do, God can do all things; third, that it is quite certain
that He will make everything turn out for our happiness here and hereafter if we don’t stand in
the way. There is no hold that we can get into so deep that prayer, a good try, and the help of
God cannot get us out again. So, whatever the trouble is, pray, do what you can, trust God to do
the rest—and keep smiling all the time. Other people have their troubles too; and if you are
cheerful over yours you will help them to bear theirs, and so do them a very good turn indeed.
There is only one thing that is really a good reason for being sad, and that is sin. But it is no
reason at all for remaining sad or losing courage; God will readily forgive us if we are truly
sorry, and a good Confession will enable us to make a fresh start and do better.
9. An Explorer is thrifty; he takes care of his own possessions and those of others.
Thrift means not wasting things, especially money. You always want to “be prepared”—don’t
depend on luck and don’t depend on others. Learn to find a good use for everything, and try to
put a little money by. Thrift really is a kindness to other people, because it prevents us from
being a burden to others and enables us to help those in need more generously. But of course it
does not mean stinginess; to give freely to another’s need is to make the very best use of what
God has given us.
10. An Explorer is clean in thought, word, and deed.
This, to you, might go without saying—you have learned to hate and fear even the shadow of
impurity, because nothing is more displeasing to God or more ruinous to soul and body. Only, it
is well that it should be mentioned in the Explorer Law, because in this matter above all we have
to “be prepared,” so as not to fall into one of the many traps the devil sets for us. We have to “be
For temptation; God lets it come to every one some time or another, and He does so in order
to give us a chance of doing something really brave for Him by refusing to think, or say, or do,
or even listen to anything wrong.
For our own stupidity, which may draw us into danger before we know where we are.
For our own weakness, which will certainly make us fall unless God supports us.
First, then, keep a bright look-out, as an Explorer should. You can’t avoid temptations
altogether, but there is no need to blunder into them or to let others lead you into them. Don’t
take any risks, but cut the matter short the moment you get a hint of danger. When you stand on
the edge of a precipice it is only one step to the bottom.
Next, don’t think you are strong enough by yourself to resist. Don’t trust yourself, but trust
entirely to Almighty God Who will never desert you if you ask for His help.
Lastly, “be prepared” by using the safeguards God has given you. These are: regular
Confession, frequent, even daily Communion, devotion to our Blessed Lady, and prayer the
moment you are tempted. It is also a help to lead, as Explorers should, a not too easy life. If we
deny ourselves a bit in things like food and drink, and comfort and pleasures generally, it will be
all the easier to keep clear of anything really wrong, because we shall have got a habit of selfcontrol.
You see that the Explorer Law and Promise spell LOYALTY—to God first, and then, for God’s
sake, to all those to whom He has given authority, or who by His will have some claim upon us.
Here are some of the things by which, as a Catholic Explorer, you will show that you are
trying to be loyal to God:
Regularity at Mass, the Sacraments, and in saying your prayers morning and evening.
Courage in acknowledging that you are a Catholic and in defending your Faith; and in
sticking to religious duties no matter what the difficulties may be, or what anyone may say.
Care in avoiding sin or anything that may lead to sin.
Readiness to do anything that you know will please God (especially kindnesses to others) at
whatever cost to yourself.
You will show your loyalty to others who have a right to it by respect for their authority, and
by willingness to put their wishes before your own comfort and convenience, because in serving
them you are serving God.
“Honour all Men. Love the Brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King.”
(1 Peter ii, 17.)
· · · · ·
One thing more. However good a Catholic and Explorer you may be, you may take it for
granted that you ought to be a great deal better. There is no danger of your becoming perfect in
this world; we all have a long way to go before that—most of us a very long way. And
considering all the grace and help God gives, you have not covered too much of the ground—
less perhaps than many whose chances have been fewer. Possibly you may even have gone the
wrong way now and then, in spite of the [×] which God and His Church have put plainly right
before your eyes. But in any case the important thing is to keep on trying, and trying hard. It is to help one another to do this that we are Explorers, because it is much easier to work together than
to work alone. And as we work together, let us pray together that God our Father may help us all.
Almighty and merciful God, in Thy goodness put far from us all that may work us harm; that,
alert alike in mind and body, we may loyally devote ourselves to the doing of Thy holy will.
OUR TEACHERS AND HELPERS
God.—It is quite certain that the more you know about our Blessed Lord the better Explorer
you will be, because every word He spoke and every act He did teaches us something good and
useful, and He is the best teacher that ever has been, or could be. As St. Peter said, while He was
on earth He “went about doing good”; and this describes, in four words, just what every Explorer
is aiming at. We know the story of our Lord’s life, of course, from the Gospels written by the
four Evangelists. But there are several good books in which these four accounts are put together
into one, and the difficult parts explained. Most Troops have, or mean to have, some sort of
library. One of these books should be among the first to be got by every Catholic Troop.
Explorer or not, we must all love God, and you can love anyone every much if you don’t know a
good deal about him. And once you do love anyone you naturally want to know more about him
still. In learning about our Lord, we can’t help learning about His Father and the Holy Spirit who
are One God with Him.
Our Blessed Lady.—We cannot know and love our Lord without knowing and loving His
Mother who, since He has made us His brothers, is our Mother too. And we know very well that
our Lord, Who is so ready to help us when we ask, is pleased when we get our Lady to ask for
us, and gives His favours generously to those who try to honour their Mother as her children
should, following His example. There is no need to say any more about this to Catholic boys. But
to Explorers our Blessed Lady should be specially dear, because an Explorer is courteous and
kind, particularly to women and children, and the thought of our Blessed Lady with the Holy
Child in her arms gives him the best of reasons why.
The Saints.—The Saints are all the men and women, and children too, who were loyal and
obedient to God while they were on earth, and now live with Him in heaven and are happy
eternally as a reward for their faithful service. We know about some of them; and some of the
books written about them are dry. But there are a good many interesting ones, and we ought to
read some of them, because when we see what the Saints did, and how faithful they were, it
encourages us to be faithful too. We cannot imitate all the things they did, and we are not meant
to, because everybody has his own special work which God gives him to do. But we can see how
they did their work, and why; and by this means learn how to do our own as perfectly as may be.
And as they are our friends and pray for us to God, we ought to know something about them, so
that we may the more easily talk to them and ask their help.
The Angels.—There are not so many books about the Angels. But we really don’t want books
much, for we have the Angels themselves for our companions. God has given one to each of us
to remain always at our side with the specialty duty of helping us and shielding us from harm.
They are always doing us “good turns,” though as we cannot see them we don’t notice it. No
doubt this is one reason why when people band themselves together—like the Explorers—to do
something good, they generally carry it through. For every troop of Explorers there is a troop of
Angels, and for every patrol, a patrol of Angels, helping them. They are, so to say, the “scouts” of God; His messengers “who do His will.” Don’t forget this, for you owe them honour for what
they are, and thanks for what they do; moreover, when things are a bit difficult it is an
encouragement to remember that they are there to help, and ever read and prepared to aid and
MORNING AND NIGHT PRAYERS
We belong to Almighty God, and are here in the world just to serve Him and not for anything
else, and He gives us the day to work and the night to rest. So it is only reasonable that we
should go to Him the first thing each morning to take our orders, so to speak, for the day, and
return at evening to report all that we have done. Besides, we can’t do anything without God’s
help, and even so we are sure to blunder and make mistakes; so that we have to ask Him every
morning for grace to carry us through the day, and every evening to thank Him for the help He
has given, and ask pardon for whatever we have done wrong; And we need His care during the
night too; so we must ask Him for it before we go to sleep, and thank Him when we wake in the
morning for having kept us safe.
The morning and night prayers we say are generally some short ones that we know by heart,
having learned them when we were quite little. There is always, of course, the “Our Father”—the
best of all prayers—and the “Hail Mary,” to salute our Blessed Lady, and ask her to pray for us
now and at the hour of death. And then there is the prayer “May the souls,” etc. for the faithful
departed, which Explorers especially will never forget to say, because they like doing kind
actions, and know that they can help the souls in Purgatory very much by praying for them. But
everyone has his own special things to say to Almighty God before the day begins and after it is
done, as was said above, and we should remember to do it. It only takes a few moments.
As we don’t always say Morning and Night Prayers by ourselves—for instance in camp when
the whole troop or patrol says them together—simple prayers are given below for use on those
+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary. I believe. Glory be.
O my God, I believe in Thee, because Thou art truth itself.
O my God, I hope in Thee, because of Thy promises to me.
O my God, I love Thee above all things, because Thou art so good; teach my to love Thee
daily more and more.
O my God, I offer Thee all my thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings; and I beseech Thee
give me Thy grace that I may not offend Thee this day but may faithfully serve Thee and do Thy
holy will in all things.
I desire to gain all the Indulgences that I can.
Holy Mary, be a mother to me.
All ye Angels and Saints of God, pray for me.
May our Lord + bless us and keep us from all evil, and bring us to life everlasting.
+ May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Thy grace and blessing, Lord, I pray
To guide and keep me though the day,
That I may spend it all for Thee
By faith and hope and charity.
Help Thou mine unbelief, O Lord,
I do believe, nor doubt Thy word:
I trust Thee faithfully to give
Thy care and guidance while I live,
And when I die to welcome me
To live for evermore with Thee.
And, dearest Lord, I love Thee more
Than all the world, and set no store
Or price, on anything beside
Thy love, my Jesus crucified.
I wounded Thee in days gone by,
Forgive me, Lord, and I will try
This day to serve Thee as I ought,
Nor sin in deed, or word, or thought—
To make for my self-will amends
By loving Thee in all Thy friends,
And helping others as I may
With kindliness throughout the day.
The day is Thine, and so I take
Each hour to use for Thy dear sake
In work or pleasure, joy or pain,
And give it back to Thee again.
+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary. I believe. Glory be.
O my God, I return Thee thanks for all the benefits which I have ever received from Thee, and
particularly this day. Give me light to see what sins I have committed this day, and grant me
grace to be truly sorry for them.
[Here wait a little, and think over what faults you have committed during the day.]
O my God, I am very sorry that I have offended Thee; I love Thee with all my heart because
Thou art so good, and I will not sin again.
Into Thy hands, O Lord, I comment my spirit; Lord Jesus, receive my soul.
Holy Mary, be a mother to me.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and all the Saints, pray for us to our Lord, that we
may be preserved this night from sin and all evil. Amen.
O my good Angel, whom God has appointed to be my guardian, watch over me during this
All ye Angels and Saints of God, pray for me.
May our Lord + bless us and keep us from all evil, and bring us to life everlasting.
+ May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Dear Jesus, kneeling at Thy feet,
I place there, humbly, as is meet,
The good and ill the day has brought—
What I have done and said and thought.
The good, I know, is Thine alone,
And all the evil is my own;
For when I did my duty well
’Twas by Thy grace; and when I fell
My thoughts away from Thee had strayed,
And cowardice made me afraid
To give up my own will for Thee
Who died upon the Cross for me:
Forgiveness, Jesus, I implore,
And grace that I may sin no more.
If ever I have evil done
To others, and if anyone
Has injured me or been unkind—
May each of us Thy pardon find
By loving and forgiving too
As Thou hast taught us how to do.
My soul and body I resign
To Thee, dear Lord, for they are Thine;
Keep both from harm throughout the night
To serve Thee with the morning light.
TWO “GOOD TURNS” WHICH WE MIGHT DO EVERY DAY
For our brother Explorers everywhere:
O God, Who hast poured the gift of charity, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, into the hearts of
the faithful: grant to Thy servants, the Explorers, for whom we implore Thy mercy, health of
mind and body; that they may love Thee with all their strength, and with all their hearts
accomplish those things which are pleasing to Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For our brethren who have gone before us:
O God, bountiful of forgiveness and lover of the salvation of mankind, we beseech Thy
clemency for our brethren who have departed this life; that by the intercession of Blessed
Mary ever a Virgin and of all Thy saints, Thou wouldst admit them to the brotherhood of
everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Some people, whose duties begin very early in the morning or keep them up very late at night,
have an excellent reason for not hearing Mass every week-day as well as on Sundays—they
can’t. Not only is it an excellent reason, it is the only good one there is. Explorers as well as
other people do sometimes find themselves face to face with it. Nevertheless, when there is some
good thing to be done, “Can’t” is a reason an Explorer does not like. It so often turns out, when
you come to examine it, to be a sham—merely “Won’t” or “Won’t try” in disguise; and
Explorers detest a sham. Moreover, being accustomed to use their heads and think, they are not
easily taken in by a false “Can’t”; and this is why so many Catholic Explorers are to be seen
hearing Mass almost every day, for they know quite well that here is the best thing in the world
to be done, and therefore they are not going to miss taking part in it without the best of reasons
for so doing. The rest have met with a real “Can’t”; and when that happens there is nothing for it
but to just salute and retire gracefully—when you have made quite sure that it is real. Of course
if you simply lie in bed you don’t meet anything—real or sham; but Explorers usually go to bed
early unless duty keeps them up, and so are able to get up early; and not being lazy they do it.
Laziness and Exploring can’t go together (this is a real “Can’t”); you just have to give up one or
OUR DAILY BREAD
As often as you can, when you are hearing Mass, you will of course receive Holy
Communion. You can go to Holy Communion provided that:
1. You cannot remember having committed any mortal sin which has not since been
confessed and forgiven.
2. You have fasted from solid food for at least one hour.
3. Your main reason for wanting to receive our Blessed Lord is just to please Him and to
learn to love Him better.
When we invite the King of Heaven into our hearts we naturally try to prepare them as well as
we can; and after He has come, we are careful to spend some time in thanking him and telling
Him about ourselves and our needs. You will find in this book prayers for preparation and
thanksgiving. But do not forget that these are only to help you to speak to our Lord, and to keep
your thoughts from wandering away to other things. What He likes best is for use to tell Him in
our own words how we believe that He is really present, God and Man, in the Blessed
Sacrament; how we love Him and trust to Him; how sorry we are for having displeased Him; and
how we mean with His help never to offend Him again. And after Communion He likes us, when
we have thanked Him as well as we know how, to tell Him all about ourselves, and our friends;
and to ask Him in our own way for help in our difficulties and temptations, and for all the things
we want for ourselves and for others. If you try, it is quite easy to do this without a book; and
you ought to learn to do it, because when you serve Mass, you cannot use a book and do the
ceremonies really well at the same time. This does not mean that the book is no use. It is very
useful, but it is a help, not a necessity: for one reason of another you may find yourself without
one, and Explorers especially should always be prepared to get along if need by, and do things
properly, without having anything more in the way of tools than is absolutely necessary.
PRAYERS FOR HOLY COMMUNION
1. Say these Prayers slowly, a few words at a time.
2. It is well to stop after every few words that they may sink into the heart.
3. Each Prayer may be said several times.
BEFORE HOLY COMMUNION
Prayer for Help.—O my God, help me to make a good Communion. Mary, my dearest
Mother, pray to Jesus for me. My dear Angel Guardian, lead me to the Altar of God.
Act of Faith.—O God, because Thou hast said it, I believe that I shall receive the Sacred
Body of Jesus Christ to eat, and His precious Blood to drink. My God, I believe this with all my
Act of Humility.—My God, I confess that I am a poor sinner; I am not worthy to receive the
Body and Blood of Jesus on account of my sins. Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter
under my roof; by say the word, and my soul shall be healed.
Act of Sorrow.—My God, I detest all the sins of my life. I am sorry for them, because they
have offended Thee, my God, Who art so good. I resolve never to commit sin any more. My
good God, pity me, have mercy on me, forgive me. Amen.
Act of Adoration.—O Jesus, great God, present on the Altar, I bow down before Thee, I
Act of Love and Desire.—Sweet Jesus, I love Thee. I desire with all my heart to receive
Thee. Most sweet Jesus, come into my poor soul, and give me Thy Flesh to eat and Thy Blood to
drink. Give my Thy whole Self, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, that I may live for ever with
IN RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION
1. In going to the Altar-rails, and returning to your place, keep your hands joined, your eyes
cast down, and your thoughts on Jesus Christ.
2. At the Altar-rails, take the Communion cloth and spread it before you under your chin.
3. Hold your head straight up, keep your eyes closed, your mouth well open, and your
tongue out, resting on the under lip. Then with great outward reverence, receive the
Sacred Host, saying in your heart, with all the faith of St. Thomas—“My Lord and my
AFTER HOLY COMMUNION
Act of Faith.—O Jesus, I believe that I have received Thy Flesh to eat and Thy Blood to
drink, because Thou hast said it, and Thy word is true.
Act of Adoration.—O Jesus, my God, my Creator, I adore Thee, because from Thy hands I
came and with Thee I am to be happy for ever.
Act of Humility.—O Jesus, I am but dust and ashes, and yet Thou hast come to me, and my
poor heart may speak to Thee.
Act of Love.—Sweet Jesus, I love Thee; I love Thee with all my heart. Thou knowest that I
love Thee, and wish to love Thee daily more and more. Act of Thanksgiving.—My good Jesus, I thank Thee with all my heart. How good, how kind
Thou art to me, sweet Jesus! Blessed be Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Act of Offering.—O Jesus, receive my poor offering. Jesus, Thou hast given Thyself to me,
and now let me give myself to Thee:
I give Thee my body, that it may be chaste and pure.
I give Thee my soul, that is may be free from sin.
I give Thee my heart, that it may always love Thee.
I give Thee every breath that I shall breathe, and especially my last; I give Thee myself in life
and in death, that I may be Thine for ever and ever.
Remember the words of Jesus: “Ask, and you shall receive,” and
PRAY FOR YOURSELF
O Jesus, wash away my sins with Thy Precious Blood.
O Jesus, the struggle against temptation is not yet finished. My Jesus, when temptation comes
near me, make me strong against it. In the moment of temptation may I always say, “Jesus, mercy! Mary, help!”
O Jesus, may I lead a good life; may I die a happy death. May I receive Thee before I die. May
I say when I am dying, “Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.”
Listen now for a moment to Jesus Christ; perhaps He has something to say to you. There may be
some promise you have made and broken, which He wishes you to make again and keep.
Answer Jesus in your heart, and tell Him all your troubles. Then
PRAY FOR OTHERS
O Jesus, have mercy on Thy Holy Church; take care of it.
O Jesus, have pity on poor sinners, and save them from hell.
O Jesus, bless my father, my mother, my brothers and sisters, and all I ought to pray for, as
Thy Heart knows how to bless them.
O Jesus, have pity on the poor souls in Purgatory and give them eternal rest.
Sweet Jesus, I am going away for a time, but I trust not without Thee. Thou art with me by
Thy grace. I will never leave Thee by mortal sin. I do not fear to do so, though I am so weak,
because I have such a hope in Thee. Give me grace to persevere. Amen.
Every Catholic Explorer should be ready to serve Mass whenever he can. It is often a “good
turn” to the priest, who may not find it easy to get a server. But it is a great deal more than that. It
is an opportunity of doing a “good turn” to our Lord Himself, Who is really present on the Altar
to offer the same Sacrifice as that offered on Calvary long ago, when He died for us. No real
Explorer would miss a chance like this. But he must not only be glad to do it, he must know
exactly how it ought to be done.
The words and ceremonies of the Mass are to be found in many books, and therefore they are
not put down here. You probably know them more or less already, and if not it is well in any case to get someone to teach you. But it may be useful to mention one or two things, which are
Everything must be done, not only correctly, but with reverence. So be careful not to hurry
over either what you have to say or what you have to do. Speak clearly and distinctly, and move
about quietly. Start in good time for everything, so that you may not be hurried. When your
hands are not otherwise occupied, keep them joined, palm to palm, in front of you. When you
have to ring the bell, do so as gently as possible. Make your genuflections slowly, keeping your
body upright, and touching the ground with your right knee. Remember always that you are very
near to our Blessed Lord, and that you are taking part in the great Sacrifice which He offers for
the living and the dead; join as well as you can in the offering He makes, but do not distract your
attention from what you have to do by trying to say prayers out of a book. At the beginning ask
Him to help you to serve Mass well, and at the end thank Him for letting you do it. There are lots
of people who never get the chance.
The Mass it the best worship that can be given to God, because then our Lord offers Himself
to His Father to give Him the honour and thanks due to Him, to make up for our sins, and to
obtain the grace we need—none of which things could be done by us without our Lord. We are
absolutely bound to go to Mass at the very least on Sundays and Holydays, because we must pay
our debts to God, and we must get His pardon and help; and by being there when our Lord offers
the great Sacrifice of the Cross, we take our share in it. It is not the same with Benediction.
Benediction is a kind of solemn court which our Lord holds from time to time, and to which He
invites His friends; and at the end He gives them His blessing, before they go away. We are not
bound to go, because He leaves us quite free, but of course He likes us to go. And, equally of
course, we very often do go, because by going we show our loyalty to Jesus our King, and
besides receive many favours at His hands when we visit Him. Sometimes He comes down from
his throne and passes among His guests. When there is a procession it is for Explorers to see that
our Lord is properly attended, and has the best escort and guard of honour that can be given Him.
It is put down somewhere else in this book that printed prayers are meant to help us to pray—
we can pray without them and often do, but sometimes a book is a help, because it puts into our
minds the right kind of thoughts, and the right kind of wishes into our hearts; and that is the great
thing in prayer which, as you know, means raising up our minds and hearts to God. A rosary is a
whole prayer-book in itself, and much easier to carry about; and it can be used at times and in
places where a book is out of the question. You know how to use your beads, and if you just
think, you will see how they come to be as good as a prayer-book.
The Rosary is, of course, a prayer to our Lady—it is made up chiefly of “Hail Marys.” But
when we are saying it we are really getting our Blessed Lady herself to teach us about the life
and death and resurrection of her Son, and thus to put into our minds the right kind of thoughts,
and the right kind of wishes into our hearts. You know the fifteen “mysteries” of the Rosary, and
how they bring before us what our Lord did and suffered for our sake. Thinking of them makes
us remember His goodness and love for us, and the example He set for us to follow; and we wish
that we could love Him more, and that we had not offended Him, and we make up our minds to
try and serve Him faithfully. These are the right kind of thoughts and wishes, and all the while our prayer is being offered to our Lord by the hands of His Blessed Mother, who helps and
pleads for her children who love and honour her for Jesus’ sake.
DEVOTION TO THE WILL OF GOD
We sometimes hear people who want an excuse for being lazy and not going to church
exclaim, “We can’t be praying all day long!” This only shows their ignorance. We are told to
pray “without ceasing,” and therefore there must be some easy way of doing. Our life may be
said to be made up of two sets of things: those about which we can choose—such as working or
being idle; and those we can’t help—such as the weather or a toothache. Devotion to the will of
God means that, when we can choose, we take that which we know God wants, just because He
wants it, and when we can’t choose, we take what comes thankfully, just because He gives it. If
it is pleasant, it shows His love for us in one way; and if it is unpleasant, it shows His love for us
in another way—by making us a little bit more like our Lord, Who suffered for our sake, and by
giving us a chance of bearing something for His sake, and doing penance for our faults. And this
is to “pray all day long,” because, although we may not say anything, we are raising our minds
and hearts to go about every single thing that happens.
St. Paul has given us a warning: “He that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he
fall.” As long as we are in this world it is always possible for us to fall into sin; in fact even the
best of us offend Almighty God in many ways. But those who are really trying hard to be good
do not easily fall into grievous sin, though they may commit many smaller faults. Still, such a
thing as a serious fall may happen to anyone, because we all have a leaning towards what is
wrong, and the moment we neglect to be on the watch to resist it we are liable to be carried away
by it and come to grief. For this reason we are told to “take heed”; that is, to be on the look-out to
avoid temptations when we can, and when we can’t to make sure of the one thing that will keep
us straight, viz., God’s help, which can be had for the asking.
But supposing we do, unhappily, fall into mortal sin. The first thing to be done is to humbly
beg God’s pardon, and to be sorry with all our hearts because we have repaid His goodness with
ingratitude, and joined ourselves to His enemies who mocked and crucified His Son. The next is
to go to Confession without delay. Our Lord, Who never ceases to love us however bad we may
be, has given us this Sacrament to make our repentance more easy, to make us feel quite sure that
He has forgiven us, and to give us fresh grace that we may begin again and serve Him better.
It is chiefly because of this grace that we go to Confession regularly—say once a week—
although we have nothing very serious of which to accuse ourselves. We want to get rid of the
stain which every fault leaves on our souls, and to keep them healthy and fit for God’s service.
But should we fall into mortal sin our souls are not merely sick, but dead; and we can’t afford to
wait for our usual Confession day, but should go as soon as ever we can, that by means of this
Sacrament God may raise us again to the life of grace. It is cowardly, and stupid too, when our
Father is ready to forgive us for having grieved and insulted Him, not to own up at once and so
make things right again. The three things we have to do in order to make a good Confession are:
1. To be really sorry, and determined not to sin again.
2. To confess all our sins, keeping nothing back.
3. To be ready to do the penance given us.
The first is by far the most important, because it stands to reason that we can’t be friends with
God if we are not sorry for having displeased and gone against Him—especially as He made us,
gives us everything we have, and loves us to much although we of ourselves are nothing.
Besides, if we are really sorry we shall of course be ready to own up, and therefore the second
thing will be all right, and the third thing too, for you can’t be truly sorry without being anxious
to make amends.
So, when you go to Confession examine your conscience as well as you can, so as not to leave
out anything that you are able to remember, and be careful to do your penance afterwards: but
above all do your best to be sorry for everything wrong you may have done. It is not always easy
to feel as sorry as you would like, but what you feel is not so important as what you honestly
want. You may take it that when you want to be sorry and do what you can, God may be trusted
to do the rest if only you ask Him. Before you go to Confession, therefore, think for a while
about the things which help to awaken sorry—like the four last things, the goodness of God and
His benefits to you, above all the Passion and Death of His Divine Son—and beg Him to give
you true contrition. You may be quite sure that He has done so, and that the forgiveness you
receive from the priest comes straight from our Blessed Lord Himself.
“I will arise and go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and
before thee: I am not now worthy to be called thy son.” (Luke xv. 18, 19.)
Most loving Father, I come to Thee trusting in Thy mercy, and knowing that Thou wilt
welcome me and forgive me, however bad I have been. I want to make a good Confession,
please help me. Make me really sorry for having displeased Thee; make me determined not
to sin again; help me to remember my sins and to confess them, truthfully.
Examine your conscience. The following is just to help you to remember your sins. Of course
you can”t have done all the things mentioned, and some of them are not so very likely; on the
other hand, there may perhaps be something which is not set down here. That is why the note * is
put at the end of the list.
The first thing to be though about is your last Confession and your Communions since then. If
you have tried to do them well it is all right; but if you know that there was anything wrong
about them you must say what it was.
Duties left undone or done badly:
Missing Mass on Sundays and Holydays, or being late through your own fault.
Leaving out daily prayers.
Not trying to pray properly, or thinking of other things on purpose.
Laziness over work or lessons.
Sulkiness or grumbling on obeying parents, teachers, employers, etc.
Things done which it is wrong to do:
Speaking disrespectfully of God or holy things; or of parents or other superiors.
Disobedience or rudeness to them.
Giving way to anger; quarreling; hurting others by words or acts; wishing for revenge; keeping
up a grudge against anyone through jealousy, envy, or spite. Despising others, or judging them
Stealing; being unfair about money or other things. Wasting what belongs to others, or time
for which you are paid.
Telling lies; speaking ill of others—truly or untruly. Boasting.
Leading others into sin; encouraging of helping them to do wrong.
Wilful pleasure in bad thoughts; impure talk; acting immodestly along or with others; reading
or looking at or listening to anything that might put evil into your mind.
Greediness; eating meat on days of abstinence.
Seeking or remaining in bad company. Reading anything against the Catholic Faith.
*Anything else of which you feel ashamed and think may be a sin.
When you have done your best to remember all the sins you have committed since your last
Confession, make an act of sorrow for them:
O my God, I am very sorry for having displeased Thee. I hate these sins and all that I have
ever committed. I am sorry for them, because they have made me unworthy to be Thy child,
and because I have deserved Thy punishments. But most of all I am sorry because I have
grieved Thee Who art so good and hast loved me so much, and because my sins have crucified
my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Forgive my ingratitude, O my God, and especially forgive
me for . . . (put in here the worst thing you have done).
Dear Jesus, I do love Thee now, although I have been ungrateful; I will make amends as
well as I can and, by Thy help, I will offend Thee no more, but try to please Thee always. I
will take great care to keep away from sin, and from anything that might lead me into it, and if
I have been unjust to anyone I will to my best to make up for it to him.
In the confessional, after you have asked the priest’s blessing, say how long it is since your
last Confession, and then tell your sins straight out, saying in a few words just what happened
and how many times as near as you can. It is a very good plan to begin with the biggest one first.
If you find anything hard to explain, say so, and the priest will help you out.
While he is giving you absolution, make another act of contrition—the one you know by heart.
I thank Thee with all my heart, Dear Jesus, for having washed away my sins by Thy
Precious Blood. I will try hard now to do better, and not to displease Thee again. But without
Thy help I cannot keep away from sin or do anything good. Give me Thy grace that I may
always be faithful to Thee.
Renew your good resolutions, especially about any sin you have committed often.
Do your penance. Ask our Blessed Lady to pray for you; and beg her, in case, through distractions, your
confessions was not quite well done, to ask our Lord to accept it all the same, since you tried
your best, and to make up Himself for whatever you could not do perfectly.
SOME THINGS A CATHOLIC EXPLORER SHOULD KNOW
1. The Truths of the Faith, and the Catechism.—Of course every Catholic must know
these well; but Explorers should know them exceptionally well, so as to “be prepared” to tell
anyone who asks them, and not tell them wrong. People who are not Catholics often do not know
just what the Church teaches, and it is a great kindness to tell them if they ask, and thus perhaps
save them from making some mistake which would vex them when they found it out.
One thing particularly you should be ready to explain. You may be asked at some time to go to
a non-Catholic church or join in some non-Catholic religious service. Of course you can’t do so,
and it is a very good thing to be able to explain why, because not everyone understands. There
are several good reasons, but here is one that will be understood by anybody, especially if he is
an Explorer. It would not be “straight.” If Catholics were to go to a non-Catholic service it
might lead someone to believe that we thought that there was more than one Church of God, or
that the Church was somehow split up into parts; whereas we are quite sure of the contrary. Lots
of people believe one of those things, but Catholics don’t, and it would be dishonest to lead
people to suppose that we do. If you explain it this way, everyone will agree with you that it is
your duty to stay away, even if they would not understand other reasons.
2. How to help the sick and dying.—Besides what you may be able to do for their bodies, it
is quite possible that an opportunity may come at some time to do them a “good turn” in a far
more important manner, viz., their souls.
If anyone is taken ill or meets with an accident so as to be in danger of death, one of the very
first things to be done—if you know or suppose the person to be a Catholic—is to let the priest
know, so that he may come at once. You yourself hope to die fortified with the Sacraments of the
Church, and you would not run the risk of letting anyone else pass into eternity without that help,
of which he may stand very much in need. In some cases a few moments’ delay may just make
the difference; and therefore a Catholic Explorer will always know the quickest way to get at the
priest of the mission in which he lives, and also how to find the next nearest priest in case the
first one should be out. And it is a good thing to get the same information when you are staying
away from home, so as to be ready to act without delay in an emergency.
If it seems likely that the person may die before the priest comes, you may still be able to do
something very important for him which people do not always think of. Any Christian who finds
himself near to death wants very much to tell Almighty God that he is sorry for everything he has
done wrong during his life, and that he would try to do better if he could get well. But it is not
always easy to make even a simple prayer like this when you are very ill; and so the dying
person will probably be very grateful if you help him to do it. This you can do by saying first: “O
my God, I believe in Thee and all that Thou hast taught,” and then some short acts of contrition;
say it all slowly out loud so that he can follow. Even if he is not a Catholic you can’t make any
mistake in doing this, if there is no one else there ready and willing to help him. A dying person
often cannot tell us what he wants, but—unless indeed he does not believe in God at all—you
may be sure that to make a good act of contrition is what he wants the most.
3. How to prepare a sick-room when the priest is coming to give Holy Communion or the Last Sacraments.
(a) For Holy Communion.—First make the room as tidy as you can. Put a small table near the
bed and cover it with a white cloth. On the table place a crucifix between two lighted candles,
leaving as much room as possible in front, and on the right hand side put a small glass with a
little clean water in it. If there is any holy water in the house put a small glass of it on the left
side of the table, together with a sprig of some shrub to serve as sprinkler. Have somewhere
handy a communion cloth for the use of the sick person.
(b) For Extreme Unction.—The same as above; but in addition put on the table a plate with
about a dozen small pieces of cotton-wool on it.
This is the proper way to do it; but sometimes you will not be able to get all the things that are
wanted, and then you must do your best with what you have. The priest generally brings
everything that is absolutely necessary, in case he should find things not prepared; but of course
everything should be got ready properly where it is possible, and a Explorer should know how to
do it and see that it is done.
4. How to baptize in case of necessity.—It is not perhaps very likely that you will ever have
to do it yourself, but it may happen that an unbaptized child is in danger of death with no priest
to be had in time, and no one else handy who can baptize it. So it is well to be quite certain how
to do it. Even if you never have to do it yourself, you may be present when someone else does it,
and then you can make sure that it is done properly, and be able to say so afterwards, so that no
doubt can arise about it. The Catechism says how it is to be done—by pouring water on the head
of the child and at the same time saying: “N., I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” This is quite easy; there are only two things to remember: (1) The
words and the pouring must be together, though it does not matter if one begins or finishes a
little before the other; and (2) the water must touch the skin and run. If you pour it on the
forehead where there is no hair in the way this is bound to be all right. Only a little water is
necessary—just enough so that it should run.
PRAYER FOR THE POPE
Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon Thy servant N. [here insert the name of the
reigning Pontiff], our Sovereign Pontiff, and direct him according to Thy clemency into the way
of everlasting salvation; that by Thy grace he may desire those things that are pleasing to Thee,
and perform them will all his strength. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
[Editor’s Note: The following prayer was composed specifically for the King (or Queen) of
the United Kingdom.]
PRAYER FOR THE KING
We beseech Thee, Almighty God, that Thy servant N., our King [Queen], to whom Thy mercy
has given the government of this realm, may receive likewise an increase in all virtues:
wherewith fittingly adorned, he [she] may shun the evils of wickedness and, made pleasing in
Thy sight, may come at length, together with the Queen [Prince] his [her] Consort, and the royal
children, unto Thee, Who art the way, the truth, and the life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER FOR OUR BENEFACTORS
Vouchsafe, O Lord, for Thy name’s sake, to reward with eternal life all those who do us good.
PRAYER FOR THOSE IN TROUBLE
May Thy right hand, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be stretched forth in defence of Thy people
who cry to Thee: by Thee may they be purified, and by Thy goodness taught; by Thee may they
be comforted in this life, and by Thee led into the happiness of that which is to come. Who livest
and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.
PRAYERS TO OBTAIN THE GRACE OF PURITY
O Almighty and merciful God, regard in Thy goodness our prayers and free our hearts from
the disturbance of evil thoughts, that they may be always a fit abode for Thy Holy Spirit.
To Our Lady
Dear lady, Jesus honoured Thee
When He was once a boy like me,
By learning how to work and play
From thee, His Mother, day by day.
Thou art my Mother too, I know,
For on the Cross He willed it so.
Then teach me, Mother, so to live
That I may always honour give
To that which He most loved in thee—
Thy sinlessness and purity.
And lest I should disgrace the name
Of son, and turn to ways of shame,
Remind Him daily of my need,
For He will still His Mother heed
And of my weakness strength will make
And manly courage, for thy sake;
As once, at just a word of thine,
He changed the water into wine.
And, Mother, I will try and do
Whatever Jesus tells me to.
PRAYER FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED
O God, Who alone art ever ready to have mercy and to spare, have pity on the souls of Thy
servants and forgive them all their sins that, being now freed from the fetters of earth, they may
be accounted worthy to enter into that which alone is true life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER FOR A HAPPY DEATH
Grant us, O merciful Jesus, so to live that we may not fear to die; keep us from day to day
steadfast in Thy love and attentive to Thy voice; that whenever it shall please Thee to call us
hence, we may be found, by Thy grace, prepared. Amen.
BLESSING OF TROOP COLOURS
V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Qui fecit cœlum et terram.
V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spitiu tuo.
Domine Jesu Christe, cujus Ecclesia est veluti castrorum acies ordinata; bene+dic hoc
vexillum: ut omnes sub eo tibi Domino Deo exercituum militantes, per intercessionem beatæ
Mariæ semper Virginis inimicos suos visibilies et invisibiles in hoc sæculo superare, et post
victoriam in cœlis triumphare mereantur. Per te, Jesu Christe, qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre
et Spiritu Sancto, in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Priest. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Server. Who hath made heaven and earth.
Priest. The Lord be with you.
Server. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, whose Church is ordered as an army arrayed for battle; bless+these
colours: that all who under them fight for Thee, the Lord God of Hosts, may by the intercession
of Blessed Mary ever a Virgin, deserve to overcome their enemies, visible and invisible, in this
world, and in heaven enjoy the triumph which follows victory. Through Thee, Christ Jesus, Who
with God the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.)
After this prayer the Colours are sprinkled with Holy Water.