A Year with the Saints – 27 December


When I see some persons very anxious about being attentive in prayer, and keeping their heads bowed while occupied in it, as if they did not dare to stir in the least, or to move even in thought, that the joy and sensible devotion they have may not leave them even in the slightest degree; this shows me how little they understand the road which leads to union, while they imagine that the whole affair consists in keeping their thoughts fixed. No, no, the Lord desires works. Therefore, when things present themselves to be done, to which obedience or charity obliges you, do not at all regard losing that devotion and enjoyment of God, that you may give Him pleasure by doing these things; for they will lead you more quickly than the others to holy union. – Saint Teresa of Avila

The blessed Clara di Montefalco willingly employed herself in the work of the convent, and said that in it the gift of prayer even comes to its perfection.

When Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi was a novice, she sometimes had permission from the Mistress to spend in prayer the time which was allotted to her companions for work. But she did not accept this favor, saying that she was more willing to be occupied in any exercise of obedience, however laborious and humble, than in the very loftiest contemplation. When asked the reason, she replied: “Because in performing the duties of the Order and of obedience, I am sure of doing the will of God, of which I am not sure when I engage in prayer or other exercises, no matter how good and holy, which have been chosen by my own will.” She had the same feeling in regard to charity to her neighbor, and preferred it to contemplation, dear as that was to her. For to aid her neighbor in spiritual or temporal employments, she was ever ready to leave prayer, contemplation and every other spiritual delight.

MLA Citation