Wedding prayer books

There are surprisingly few Catholic prayer books for married couples. Of the ones I have found, none of them are in print. Some of them are digitized online, and some can be found used online. I am not including bridal/wedding missals, which are essentially regular missals with fancier binding.

Coomes, A. Francis. Mothers’ Manual: A Manual of Devotions for Mothers and Expectant Mothers. St. Louis, MO: Queen’s Work, 1957.

Pius, Franziskus, and Bertin Roll. Mother Love: A Manual for Christian Mothers. New York: F. Pustet, 1951.

Scheuber, Joseph K. . Nazareth: A Book of Counsel and Prayer for the Married. Dublin, 1948.

Selected traditional prayer books

Lasance, Francis Xavier. The Young Man’s Guide: Counsels, Reflections, and Prayers for Catholic Young Men. New York: Benziger Brothers, 1910.

Lasance, Francis Xavier. The Catholic Girl’s Guide: Counsels and Devotions for Girls in the Ordinary Walks of Life, and in Particular for the Children of Mary. New York, Cincinnati: Benziger brothers, 1906.

Lasance, Francis Xavier. With God: A Book of Prayers and Reflections. New York: Benziger Bros, 1911.

Lelen, J. M. O Lord, Grant Thy Blessings This Day: A Manual of Catholic Devotion with Mass for Marriage Ceremony and the Nuptial Blessing. (Catholic Book Publishers, New York, 1941).

Catholic Church. Plenary Council of Baltimore. A Manual Of Prayers For The Use Of The Catholic Laity: Prepared And Published By Order Of The Third Plenary Council Of Baltimore. New York: Catholic Publication Society, 1888.

The Manual of Our Lady. Benziger Brothers, 1877.

The Key of Heaven: Or, A Manual of Prayer. New York, P. J. Kenedy, 1870.

Selected prayers

“Prayer for Divine Direction in the Choice of a State of Life”

Almighty God! Whose wise and amiable providence watches over every human event, deign to be my light and my counsel in all my undertakings, particularly in the choice of a state of life. I know that on this important step my sanctification and salvation may in a great measure depend. I know that I am incapable of discerning what may be best for me; therefore I cast myself into Thy arms, beseeching Thee, my God, Who hast sent me into this world only to love and serve Thee, to direct by Thy grace every action of my life to the glorious end of my creation. I renounce most sincerely every other wish than to fulfil Thy designs on my soul, whatever they may be; and I beseech Thee to give me the grace to be imbued with the spirit of Christ and to qualify myself for any state of life to which Thy adorable providence may call me. O my God! whenever it may become my duty to make a choice, do Thou be my light and my counsel, and mercifully deign to make the way known to me wherein I should walk, for I have lifted up my soul to Thee. Preserve me from listening to the suggestions of self-love, or worldly prudence, in prejudice to Thy holy inspirations. Let Thy good Spirit lead me into the right way, and let Thy adorable providence place me, not where I may naturally feel inclined to go, but where all things may be most conducive to Thy glory and to the good of my soul. Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, Seat of Wisdom, Help of Christians, pray for me. Amen.

Lasance, Francis Xavier. With God: A Book of Prayers and Reflections. New York: Benziger Bros, 1911, p. 753.

“A Husband’s Prayer” (1888)

O gracious Father, Maker and Preserver of heaven and earth, who in the beginning didst institute matrimony, thereby foreshadowing the mystical union of the Church with our Saviour Christ, who, in the time of His ministry upon earth, did honor marriage with His first miracle: enable me, I pray Thee, by Thy grace to live in holiness and purity with the wife whom Thou hast given me. Mortify in me all violence of earthly passion, all selfishness and inconsiderateness (here name any besetting sin which may be a hindrance to you), that I may love her as Christ loved His Church, cherish and comfort her as my own body, and have as great care for her happiness as for my own. Grant that we may live in peace, without contention; in unity, without discord. (Give us, O Lord, discreet hearts and understanding minds, to bring up our children in Thy faith and fear, that they may be obedient to Thee and to Thy commandments, and to all that Thou requirest of them in duty towards their parents.) And give us, O Lord, a competency of estate, to maintain ourselves and our family according to that rank and calling wherein Thou hast placed us, without excess or vainglory, in singleness and pureness of heart. Grant this for Jesus Christ’s sakfe, to whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Catholic Church. Plenary Council of Baltimore. A Manual Of Prayers For The Use Of The Catholic Laity: Prepared And Published By Order Of The Third Plenary Council Of Baltimore. New York: Catholic Publication Society, 1888, pp. 450-1.

“A Husband’s Prayer” (1877)

O Lord, from whom properly comes a prudent wife, give me thy grace to love her to whom thou hast united me, as thy divine Son loves the Church, his spotless spouse. Let us be two in one flesh; let her be my dearest hind and most agreeable fawn; let her heart inebriate me, and let me ever delight in the wife of my youth, for so thou hast commanded. Sanctify, O Lord, this love, and let us ever remember that we are the children of the saints, and by a still higher title, thy children. Sanctify the love I bear my wife, that protecting her weakness, laboring for her wants, supporting her in her pains and infirmities, I may before all think of obeying and pleasing thee, that these sentiments may become meritorious for heaven. Do thou, O Lord, protect her whom thou hast given me as a friend and partner in my pilgrimage; render her happy; reward her for her love, her fidelity, for all her sacrifices on my account; alleviate her pains, the burdens inseparable from her state, those penalties of sin which thou hast laid more heavily upon her sex; pour forth abundantly upon her thy graces; let us bring up our children more for thee than for ourselves, and let us both increase in all virtues, so that when one day death shall part us, our works, holy in thy eyes, may obtain for us the happiness of being reunited in thy bosom for all eternity.

The Manual of Our Lady. Benziger Brothers, 1877.

“A Wife’s Prayer” (1888)

O merciful Lord God, who in the beginning didst take Eve out of the side of Adam and didst give her to him as a helpmate: give me grace to live worthy of the honorable estate of matrimony to which Thou hast called me, that I may love my husband with a pure and chaste love, acknowledging him as my head, and truly reverencing and obeying him in all good things; that thereby I may please him, and live with him in all Christian quietness. Keep me from all worldliness and vanity. Help me, O Lord, that I may, under him, prudently and discreetly guide and govern his household. Let no fault of mine aggravate any sins by which he may be especially tempted; enable me to soothe him in perplexity, to cheer him in difficulty, to refresh him in weariness, and, as far as may be, to advise him in doubt. (Give me understanding so to fulfil my part in the education of our children, that they may be our joy in this world and our glory in the next.) Grant that our perfect union here may be the beginning of the still more perfect and blissful union hereafter in Thy kingdom; and this I pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Catholic Church. Plenary Council of Baltimore. A Manual Of Prayers For The Use Of The Catholic Laity: Prepared And Published By Order Of The Third Plenary Council Of Baltimore. New York: Catholic Publication Society, 1888, pp. 451-2

A Wife’s Prayer" (1877)

O my Saviour, Jesus, who hast bound me in an indissoluble manner to him who is to be henceforth the companion of my course on earth, maintain between us the spirit of union and concord, to make us love each other as thou lovest thy Church; the spirit of patience and meekness to bear each other’s faults; the spirit of prudence and sanctity, that we may ever remain within the sphere of our duties, and do nothing to offend thy eyes, nothing at variance with the profound respect we owe thy sacrament; the spirit of wise solicitude and forecast, to meet the wants of our family according to the rules of justice and charity; preserve me from the spirit of vanity, from extravagance in dress, that modesty may ever be my fairest garment, and that I may seek only to please thee, and the husband whom thou hast given me. Let our home be for the children we receive of thy goodness, a school and sanctuary of virtue. O thou, who art a tender Father, hear my prayer for him whom thou hast given me for a friend, protector, and support; let me never give him just ground of complaint; bless my husband, reward him for his care of me and our children; make his days happy, ward off all affliction from him, or if it is thy will so to try him, give him grace to support it as a Christian, and give me the consolation of alleviating his pain by tender care, and fortitude to encourage him by my own resignation; fortify him by the hope of heaven, a reward which thou promisest to him who suffers in love for thee, in perfect conformity to thy adorable will. And when death shall sever the knot which thou hast so closely formed, if it is thy will that I should survive on this earth of trial, let the tears which a tender attachment will excite, be Christian tears, such as will excite thy clemency. Let us live and die so piously, that our union, cemented here below by virtue, be assured forever by thee in heaven. Amen.

The Manual of Our Lady. Benziger Brothers, 1877.

“A Prayer to be said by Husband or Wife”

O merciful God, we humbly beseech Thee to send Thy blessing continually upon us, and to make us thankful for all that Thou hast already vouchsafed unto us; and as Thou hast made us one in the mystical grace of matrimony, grant that we may be also inwardly of one heart and of one mind, paying due honor one to another, united in love to Thee and to each other in Thee; living together in peace and holiness, as faithful members of Thy Church, denying ourselves, and being a mutual help, comfort, and support to each other, all the days of our life. (Give us grace to train our children in Thy faith and fear.) Bless us with health and strength, if it be Thy will, and with whatever else Thy good providence shall see to be best for our souls and bodies. Fit and prepare us day by day for our departure hence, that we may together inherit eternal life in Thy heavenly kingdom. Through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Catholic Church. Plenary Council of Baltimore. A Manual Of Prayers For The Use Of The Catholic Laity: Prepared And Published By Order Of The Third Plenary Council Of Baltimore. New York: Catholic Publication Society, 1888, p. 452.

“For the Master and Mistress of a Family”

Merciful God, I implore thy grace for my direction and help, in the execution of every thing thou hast committed to my charge. Grant me discretion, that I may discover in all things what is best to be done, that I may manage them according to the obligations thou hast laid upon me. Make me faithful in taking care of what, under thee, I have in charge, that nothing may suffer through my neglect, idleness, prodigality, or ill management. Let not passion have any influence on my words or actions, that I may reprove without anger, command without imperiousness, require service without cruelty, have compassion on such failings as proceed rather from weakness than neglect, and show a tenderness towards all under my charge, as knowing that both they and I serve one master in heaven, who, without respect to persons, will call us all to an equal account. Lord, let me never want thy grace to suppress every inclination that leads me from my duty. Let no kind of extravagance, excess, or disorder find encouragement in my house. Make me a zealous observer of good discipline, and watchful against all undue liberties. Suffer me not to be unjust to any one, nor connive at what ought to be reproved. Take from me all immoderate solicitude, and let no excess of worldly care withdraw my heart from the important concern of eternity. May my chief solicitude be, how to regulate all my concerns to thy honor and glory. I crave thy blessing this day and forever, on all I am to do or suffer, and humbly offer myself, and all I possess, to thy glory. Help me, my God, according to my necessities, now and forever. Amen.

The Key of Heaven: Or, A Manual of Prayer. New York, P. J. Kenedy, 1870, pp. 126-7.

“For a Husband or Wife”

God, who hast ordained the holy state of matrimony, wherein I am engaged, grant me grace to comply with all its obligations, and to perform them in such a manner as is becoming a Christian, not an unbeliever. Preserve my love undefiled, according to thy divine command, and let the duty of love help to conduct me with comfort through all the obligations and difficulties of my state. Grant me discretion to manage all circumstances for the best, a true love for peace, and such a discreet compliance as to resign my own thoughts and inclinations for preserving it. Inspire me with true humility and patience, that I may submit to and bear with all crosses in the manner thy apostle requires. Furnish me with all other helps, that whatever difficulties may occur, I may persevere with cheerfulness in discharging the duties of my state, and never yield so far to any weakness, ill-humor, or impatience, as to weaken, much less to break the bond which thou hast sanctified, and which cannot be dissolved but by death. May I always be faithful and indefatigable in the discharge of the duties of my state, doing and suffering whatever falls to my lot, with such absolute submission to thy will, that both in peace and trouble, in prosperity and adversity, I may ever remember to resign myself cheerfully, God, to thy pleasure or permission; and under all difficulties, still labor to work out my salvation.

The Key of Heaven: Or, A Manual of Prayer. New York, P. J. Kenedy, 1870, pp. 136-7.