01 September, 2020

A Daily Prayer of Father Therry : Pioneer Priest

Father John Joseph Therry circa 1854.

The subject of two biographies, in addition to close study in many other historical monographs, articles, etc., it would be impossible to do justice, in a medium such as this, to the life of Father John Joseph Therry (1790-1864), Apostle to the Colony of New South Wales.  It is two hundred years (3rd May 1820) since he arrived by ship in Sydney Australia.

Although we will attempt to trace his life and work in future posts, here we include a prayer which he offered every morning, often before the Blessed Sacrament.  Perhaps the formal language of this prayer is slightly foreign to modern speakers of English, but its expression of a Christian's relationship to God is perennial.

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.  Blessed be the Holy and Undivided Trinity, now and always and for infinite ages of ages. Amen.

Prostrate before the throne of Thy Mercy, O Holy and Undivided Trinity,
I adore with all the powers of my soul Thy Divine Majesty,
and acknowledge that to Thee alone are due all Love, Praise and Thanksgiving,
on account of Thy infinite goodness.
I firmly believe and am ready to profess whatever Thou hast revealed to Thy Holy Church.
I hope in Thy mercies, and love Thy ineffable goodness.
I grieve from my soul for ever having offended Thee, and for love of Thee I detest all my sins,
and am resolved rather to die than again to offend Thee.

I give Thee thanks, O Supreme Deity,
for all and each of Thy benefits, both general and particular,
for those which are known to me as well as those of which I am ignorant;
and more particularly, for my creation, redemption and my vocation to the Holy Catholic Church;
for N and N ... ; and for all the benefits which have been or may hereafter be conferred on me,
and on all Thy creatures for all eternity.

Accept my thanks for having preserved me during the past night
from many dangers of both soul and body,
and for having given me this day to continue my services to Thee.
My God ! in grateful acknowledgement I offer to Thee my body and soul,
my understanding and my will, all my affections,
my every step and motion of body and soul,
of my past, present and future life,
but in a special manner those of the present day,
and beseech Thee that they may be such as to be justly meritorious in Thy sight.
With these, I offer my lukewarm or indifferent actions;
I now offer to Thee the Body and Soul of Jesus Christ my Saviour;
all His merits, His labours, His words and works;
whatever He did and suffered in this life, from His conception to death.  Amen.

1.  This prayer is reproduced by Father Therry's biographer, the Revd Eris M. O'Brien in his study The Life of Archpriest JJ Therry, published in Sydney, 1922.

2.  The image of Father Therry is an engraving made from a daguerreotype photograph taken by the firm of Wheeler & Co., Sydney, in 1853 or 1854.  Because the technology of the daguerreotype did not permit any more than one "print" to be made, the original photographic image of Father Therry was engraved onto a steel plate by an artist so that it might be reproduced on a printing press and distributed widely.

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