A Year with the Saints – 1 September


There is certainly nothing more useful than prayer. Therefore, we ought to entertain great esteem and love for it, and employ every effort to make it well. Saint Vincent de Paul

All the Saints have shown great love for this exercise. Saint Cajetan used to spend in it eight hours in succession; Saint Margaret, Queen of Scotland, and Saint Stephen, King of Hungary, almost all night; Saint Frances of Rome, all the time that was left from her ordinary occupations; Saint Rose of Lima, twelve hours a day. At a very early age, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga adopted the practice, which he never gave up, of occupying in it one, two or three hours a day. When he was at court he hid himself in the woods, that he might not be interrupted, while praying, by his companions. Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi, while still in the world and only nine years old, dedicated to this Divine exercise one hour, then from two to four hours daily, and finally, whole nights; and after she entered religion, she spent in it all the time which the novices had left at their disposal. Saint John Berchmans, from the age of eleven, gave to it all the time that remained from his studies. Any corner of the house served him for an oratory, and he was often found by his family at midnight praying with bare knees upon the ground.

Saint Philip Neri, from his childhood, gave himself to prayer so earnestly, advanced in it so far, and acquired such a habit of it that wherever he might be, his soul was always elevated to Divine things. And so, when his room was full of people, and various affairs were under discussion, he could not sometimes refrain from raising his eyes or hands to Heaven, or uttering some aspiration, though he watched over himself carefully, that he might do nothing of the sort in the presence of others. When he went out of the house he was so abstracted that someone had to warn him when a salutation was to be returned; and sometimes, when his attention had been secured with great difficulty and by pulling his robe, he would make a gesture like a person who has just been roused from a heavy sleep.

MLA Citation