A Year with the Saints – 18 September


In mental prayer, we are not obliged to employ our intellect all the time. We can occupy ourselves in the presence of God by conversing and consoling ourselves with Him, without the weariness of formal considerations and choice words. We can represent to Him simply our necessities, and the cause He has for showing us mercy. For example, when we think of some part of the Passion, it is a good thing to make a consideration first, by meditating on the pains which Our Lord suffered in it. But let not the soul weary itself by seeking too long for this; let it rather sometimes remain still with Christ, and keeping the intellect inactive if possible, let it occupy itself, in thought, in looking upon Him; let it accompany Him, ask favors of Him, humble itself and console itself with Him, and remember that He did not deserve to be there. This method of prayer has many advantages. Saint Teresa of Avila

This Saint testifies of herself that she frequently practiced this kind of prayer, and derived much advantage from it. Gerson relates that a servant of God used to say: “For forty years I have practiced mental prayer with all possible diligence, and I have found no better nor easier method of making it well, than that of presenting myself before God as a child or a beggar, poor, blind, naked and abandoned.”

It was thus that Saint Francis prayed, when he passed whole nights repeating and dwelling upon these few words, “My God, Who art Thou, and who am I?” Now exciting himself to love for so great a God, now to contempt for so vile and ungrateful a creature, he would sink into confusion and shame for his many failures, and ask pardon and help from the Lord.

MLA Citation