Good Gifts

St. Francis of Assisi extols the value of prayer: “The gift of prayer should be the object of our most ardent desires. Without it there is no progress in God’s service, and no obtaining anything from Him.”

St. Leonard of Port Maurice demonstrates the usefulness of prayer: “Grace is a gift of God; but, as a general rule, it is given only to him who asks for it by fervent and constant prayer, who makes a good use of it, and who corresponds with it promptly and faithfully.”

St. Francis warns of abusing God’s graces: “Woe to him who does not humbly profit by the graces God bestows upon him for his spiritual good, and who uses these gifts rather to procure his own glory than that of God.” He adds: “We often lose a treasure of inestimable price for a little vainglory or some paltry honour; and thus it happens that the Benefactor ceases to bestow His gifts.”

Blessed Egidius (Giles) of Assisi, a close friend of St. Francis, observes: “Men ask of God gifts without end or limit, and yet they serve Him in a very limited way. He who would be recompensed endlessly and without limit must love without limit and without end.” Thus, he reasons: “I consider it more important to preserve the gifts of God than to acquire them. He who knows how to acquire and not to preserve will never enrich himself; but knowing how to preserve and not to acquire is not a great quality.”

St. Rose of Viterbo mentions some of the benefits of prayer: “Prayer raises our minds and hearts to God, and shows us from this elevated point of view the vanity of the goods and pleasures of this world; it fills us with light, strength, and consolation, and gives us a foretaste of the peace and joy of our heavenly country.”

Quotations from Flowers from the Garden of Saint Francis for Every Day of the Year (London: Burns and Oates, 1882).

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