Praying Always

Father Girardey concludes his discussion of when one ought to pray by addressing the issue of constant prayer.

Christ said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart is also” (Luke 12:34). Father Girardey comments: “Where our heart is, there also are our thoughts. The lover very often, if not constantly, thinks of his beloved. Whatever his occupations, wherever he may be, his thoughts affectionately revert to his beloved. In like manner, he who loves God very much, often thinks of God, often gives expression in his heart to the love he has for God by short, but fervid, prayers, which are the aspirations of his loving heart to his beloved Lord, who is everywhere present. These short prayers are usually called ejaculatory prayers, because they are like fiery darts of love bursting forth from the furnace of divine love pent up in his heart.”

“It is by means of such prayers that we can fulfil the injunction of St. Paul to the early Christians: ‘Pray without ceasing’ (1 Thes 5:17); ‘Praying at all times in the spirit’ (Eph 6:18); ‘I will that men pray in every place’ (1 Tim 2:8). We cannot all the time pray or reflect on divine and holy subjects, because it is not physically in our power; but we can frequently during the day recall God’s presence and raise our heart to Him by a short aspiration or prayer.”

“St. Ignatius, even when overburdened with business, was accustomed to raise his heart to God by a fervent ejaculatory prayer every time he heard the clock strike. St. Alphonsus always found means to recite a short prayer every quarter of an hour. St. Vincent de Paul, even when in company of the great, would do the same.”

The pious and learned Denis the Carthusian advises: “He who desires to make progress in divine love should very frequently raise his heart to the Lord in terms of affection. If he perseveres in this, he will soon have the happiness to cast out of his heart all worldly attachments and worry, and the love of God will flourish therein.”

St. John Chrysostom says: “He who frequently makes ejaculatory prayers closes the door of his mind and heart to the devil, and prevents him from disturbing him by evil thoughts.”

St. Francis de Sales urges: “Often raise your mind and heart to God, and therefrom shoot forth fiery short prayers, adoring Him, doing homage to His infinite Majesty, invoking His omnipotence, offering yourself to Him very often during the day, praising His infinite Goodness, manifesting the affections of your heart for Him in every possible way. By doing this with boundless confidence your soul will experience the impressions of the divine protection.”

Quotations from Ferreol Girardey, Prayer: Its Necessity, Its Power, Its Conditions (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1916).

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