A Year with the Saints – 24 September


The great work of our perfection is born, grows, and maintains its life by means of two small but precious exercises – aspirations and spiritual retirement. An aspiration is a certain springing of the soul towards God, and the more simple it is, the more valuable. It consists in simply beholding what He is, and what He has done and is doing for us; and it should excite the heart, as a consequence, to acts of humility, love, resignation or abandonment, according to circumstances. Now, these two exercises have an incredible power to keep us in our duty, to support us in temptation, to lift us up promptly after falls and to unite us closely to God. Besides, they can be made at any time or place, and with all possible ease; therefore, they ought to be as familiar to us as the inspiration and expiration of air from our lungs. Saint Francis de Sales

Every time that the clock struck, Saint Ignatius collected his thoughts and raised his soul to God. Though he might happen to be in the company of men of rank, Saint Vincent de Paul always uncovered his head when the clock struck, and raised some devout aspiration to Heaven. At other times, he often uttered some devout ejaculation or aspiration, most frequently this one: “O my Lord! O Divine Goodness! when wilt Thou give me the grace to be entirely Thine, and to love only Thee?” Saint Bartholomew the Apostle adored God by making a hundred genuflections each day, and as many in the night. Saint Thomas Aquinas used this kind of prayer many times a day – when he was at Mass, when he was studying, when he left his cell or returned to it and at all odd moments.

Cassian says that the monks of Egypt frequently employed this brief ejaculation, which is full of humility and confidence: “O God, incline unto mine aid. O Lord, make haste to help me.”

Monseigneur de Palafox, the Bishop, practiced it on all occasions. When anything seemed doubtful, he turned to God and said, “O Lord, what shall we do in this matter? counsel me, guide me Thyself, in danger. O Lord, rule me; let me not be presumptuous, but humble; do not permit me to stray a hair’s breadth from what pleases Thee.” When through human frailty he fell into some fault, or said or did some thing that was not suitable, he would say, “O Lord, raise me up! What is this, O Lord? Is it possible that I am to be always the same? Hold me, that I may hold to Thee!” Often, too, he would say in his heart: “I desire nothing, I wish for nothing, I cling to nothing, except Thyself, my God and my All! Glory? it is Thine, and I seek it only for Thee! Honor? all my honor, my Jesus, is Thy honor. Satisfaction? my only satisfaction and pleasure is that Thou art satisfied and pleased”; and so on.

MLA Citation