Why do we pray? Why do we worship?
In his letter to a Christian having difficulty in prayer, Saint Francis de Sales (SFDS) asks that the reader, “Remember that the graces and goods of prayer are not waters of earth but of Heaven, and that our own efforts will never be sufficient to obtain them. . . . And we must never forget to carry with us into prayer the knowledge that in it we approach God and place ourselves in His presence for two principal reasons.”
“First, we pray to give God the honor and homage we owe Him; and this can be done without His speaking to us or we to Him, for this duty is paid in remembering that He is our God, and we are His creatures, and by remaining prostrate in spirit before Him, awaiting His commands.
Second, we pray to speak with God, and to hear Him speak to us by inspirations and movement in the interior of our soul. And generally, this is with a very delicious pleasure, for it is a great good for us to speak to so great a Lord: and when He answers, He spreads abroad a thousand precious balms and ointments, which give great sweetness to the soul.
One of these two goods can never fail you in prayer. If we can speak to our Lord, let us speak, let us praise Him, beseech Him, listen to Him.
If we cannot use our voice, still let us stay in the room and do reverence to Him. He will see us there; He will accept our patience; and will favor our silence. Another time we shall be quite amazed to be taken by the hand and He will converse with us and will make a hundred turns with us in the walks of His garden of prayer. And if he should never do this, let us be content with our duty of being in His suite, and with the great grace and too great honor He does us in suffering our presence.
We shall not be over eager to speak to Him, since it is no less useful for us to be in His presence; yea, it is more useful, although not so much to our taste. When then, you come to Him, speak to Him if you can. If you cannot, stay there; be seen; and care for nothing else.”
I’d like to highlight a few key concepts in SFDS’s direction on prayer. You may want to use these for meditation or discuss with a friend.
- Our own efforts are not sufficient to obtain the grace and goods of prayer.
- We need to give the honor and homage we owe God.
- The honor and homage to God can be done without His speaking to us or we to Him.
- We must remember that He is our God, and we are His creatures who must remain prostrate in spirit before Him.
- We pray to speak with God, and to hear Him speak to us by inspirations and movement in the interior of our soul.
- If we cannot use our voice to speak with God, let us stay in our location and do reverence to Him.
- If He shall never take us by the hand and converse with us, let us be content with our duty of being in His suite.
- When then, you come to Him, speak to Him if you can. If you cannot, stay there; be seen; and care for nothing else.
“If you sit, kneel, or prostrate yourself in the presence of Jesus,
you don’t need to speak a word. You just need to remember
Who He is, and who you are.” Sojourner
“The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time you will spend on earth. Each moment that you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with Him and make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in Heaven, and will help bring about everlasting peace on earth”
– Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Blessings and peace to you as we journey together in Encountering Christ in Word, Liturgy, Charity, and Community.
A Saint Monica Sojourner