As I feel a great attraction toward prayer I asked God, by Our Lady's intercession, to give me the grace to go on increasing in love of this holy exercise until my death.
It is the only means of purifying us, of uniting us to God, and of allowing God to unite himself to us and be glorified in us. We must pray to obtain the apostolic virtues; pray that we may use them to help others, and pray also that we may not lose them while serving others.
The counsel: pray without ceasing, seems sweet to me and in no way impossible. It includes the practice of the presence of God, and with his help I resolve to follow it. We always have need of God, therefore we must always pray. The more we pray, the more we please him and the more we obtain.
I do not ask for consolation in prayer; that God gives where he chooses; I am not worthy of consolation and am too weak to bear it. Extraordinary graces are not good for me; to give them to me would be like building upon sand or pouring a precious liquid into a broken vase. I ask God to give me a solid, simple gift of prayer which will glorify him and not make me vain. It seems to me that dryness and desolation accompanied by grace are very useful to me, for then I delight in making acts of real virtue: I strive against my bad inclinations and try to be faithful to God.
When we are distracted during prayer and find the time long because of our impatience to pass on to something else, it is good to say to yourself: My soul, are you tired of your God? Are you not satisfied with him? You possess him and do you seek for something else? Where can you be better than in his company? Where can you profit more? I have experienced that this calms the mind and unites it with God.
Saint Claude de la Colombiere, S.J. "Prayer." excerpt from The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la Colombiere (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1998).
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Ignatius Press. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat.
Saint Claude de la Colombiere. S.J. (1641-1682) promoted the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was the confessor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Claude de la Colombiere was born of French noble parents in 1641. In 1674, after 15 years of Jesuit life, Colombiere took a personal vow to observe the Rule and Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. He is the author of The Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, The Faithful Servant: Spiritual Retreats And Letters Of Blessed Claude La Colombiere, and Spiritual Direction of St Claude de La ColumbiereCopyright © 1998 Ignatius Press
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