| Why Pray? | How to Pray | Always in His Presence |

Why Pray?

"Ipse autem secedebat in desertum, et orabat." "But He withdrew to the wilderness and prayed." (Lk 5:16)

"He who is not with me, is against me." (Lk 11:23)

"Whoever prays is surely saved, and whoever does not pray is surely condemned." (St Alphonsus)

We are "cotidie petitores, cotidie debitores--daily beggars, daily debtors." (St Augustine, Sermo 256)

"We pray as we live because we live as we pray. ... The 'spiritual battle' of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2725)

"Love to pray. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of Himself. Ask and seek, and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him as your own." (Bl Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

"It is my self-love, dear God, ... upon which your grace must labor hardest. I do so love my ease, and it is not easy to pray, so I shall do anything rather than pray. By a queer contradiction of sloth, I shall even work my head off rather than pray. I shall go to bed at night thoroughly exhausted because I have been running away from you all day long; and I shall fall asleep blindly confident of having spent the day in your service. By a very refinement of sloth, even my choicest of tasks is such as will minister most to self." (Leo Trese, Vessel of Clay, 98)

"The entire world has a right to expect much of the Pope. That's why the Pope cannot pray enough." (Pope John Paul II, to a nurse at the Gemelli Hospital, after the assassination attempt)

"I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy side. The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards. Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil. ... Now it is time to sit quiet, face to face with thee, and to sing dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure." (Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali)

"There is a great danger today of our churches becoming museums and suffering the fate of museums: if they are not locked, they are looted. They are no longer alive. The measure of life in the Church, the measure of her inner openness, will be seen that she will be able to keep her doors open, because she is a praying Church." (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God is Near Us, 90)

How to Pray

"Mary's example enables the Church better to appreciate the value of silence. Mary's silence is not only moderation in speech, but it is especially a wise capacity for remembering and embracing in a single gaze of faith the mystery of the Word made Man and the events of His earthly life. ... In a noisy world filled with messages of all kinds, her witness enables us to appreciate a spiritually rich silence and fosters a contemplative spirit." (Pope John Paul II, quoted in L'Osservatore Romano 29 November 1995)

"Thy Name, Thy Kingdom, Thy Will! It is characteristic of love to think first of the one whom we love. In none of the three petitions do we mention ourselves; the burning desire, even anguish, of the beloved Son for his Father's glory seizes us (cf Lk 22:44; 12:50)." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2804)

"We must make sure to catch God's eye, to look him in the face, as it were, even though it be only for a moment. ... We can 'pray' at great length with a wealth of words and still retain a determination to say 'no' to God on some point, as long as we do not 'catch his eye.' But if we stop talking and fooling ourselves with our own words, and just for one tiny second look our Lord in the face, then--like St Peter--we cannot continue in our cowardice and coldness, we must give Him what He wants." (Eugene Boylan, The Priest's Way to God, 39)

"No man can look God in the face every day and say 'no' to Him, and no man who has no deliberate intention of saying 'no' to God need be afraid to look Him in the face." (Eugene Boylan, Spiritual Life of the Priest, 38)

"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 by remembering that He is our God and we are His vile creatures, and by remaining prostrate in spirit before Him, awaiting his commands.
   "How many courtiers go a hundred times into the presence of the king, not to hear him or to speak to him, but simply to be seen by him, and to testify by this assiduity that they are his servants? And this purpose in prostrating ourselves before God--to testify to and profess our good will and gratitude in his service--is excellent, holy, and pure, and therefore of the greatest perfection."
   "Second, we pray in order to speak with God, and to hear Him speak to us by inspirations and movements in the interior of our soul. ...
   "Thus we shall not be overeager to speak to Him, since it is no less useful for us just 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." (St Francis de Sales, Thy Will Be Done, 26-27)

"Do well what you can, and the rest leave to God, who will do it sooner or later, according to the disposition of His divine Providence." (St Francis de Sales, Thy Will Be Done, 54)

"That man is your best servant who is not so much concerned to hear from you what he wills as to will what he hears from you." (St Augustine, Confessions Bk 10)

"Haste kills all devotion." (St Francis de Sales)

"Think about what you're saying, who is saying it and to whom. Because talking fast, without pausing for reflection, is only noise--the clatter of tin cans. Along with St Teresa I'll tell you that, however much you move your lips, I do not call it prayer." (St Josemaria, The Way, 85)

"Your prayer ought to be liturgical. Would that you were given to reciting the psalms and prayers of the missal instead of private or special prayers!" (St Josemaria, The Way, 86)

Always in His Presence

"Somno si dantur oculi | cor semper ad te vigilet | tuaque dextra protegas | fideles, qui te diligunt." Should sleep come to my eyes | may my heart remain watchful | and may Your powerful arm protect | Your faithful people who love You. (Hymn for Compline)

"Sine intermissione orate, in omnibus gratias agite; haec enim voluntas Dei est in Christo Iesu erga vos." "Pray constanty, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (I Thess 5:17-18)

"Volo ergo viros orare in omni loco levantes puras manus sine ira et disceptatione." "I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling." (I Tim 2:8)

"...orantes omni tempore in Spiritu, et in ipso vigilantes in omni instantia et obsecratione pro omnibus sanctis et pro me." "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me." (Eph 6:18-19)

"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, spirit of prayer and sacrifice, by an intense inner life." (Bl Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

"Late have I loved you, O beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved you! For behold you were within me, and I outside; and I sought you outside and in my ugliness fell upon those lovely things that you have made. You were with me and I was not with you. I was kept from you by those things, yet had they not been in you, they would not have been at all. You called and cried to me and broke open my deafness: and you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness: you breathed fragrance upon me, and I drew in my breath and do now pant for you: I tasted you, and now hunger and thirst for you: you touched me, and I have burned for your peace.
   "When once I shall be united to you with all my being, there shall be no more grief and toil, and my life will be alive, filled wholly with you. You raise up him whom you fill; whereas being not yet filled with you I am a burden to myself. The pleasures of this life for which I should weep are in conflict with the sorrows of this life in which I should rejoice, and I know not on which side stands the victory." (St Augustine, Confessions, Bk 10)