Today we celebrate the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the seventeenth century French nun to whom Jesus appeared asking her to start a devotion to his Sacred Heart. The devotion consists of celebrating Mass and receiving holy communion on the first Friday of the month for 9 consecutive months with the intention of honoring Jesus’ love for us poured out from His Sacred Heart. I think this is one of the simplest devotions to observe and one that has the most beautiful promises attached to it.
St. Margaret Mary’s spiritual director was a priest named Saint Claude de la Colombière. Many years ago I read his writings to St. Margaret Mary in a book entitled The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la Colombière. I highly recommend, this powerful little volume. It is full of great wisdom which we can all incorporate into our daily living.
Last week in the Magnificat, one of the daily meditations was written by St. Claude de la Colombière. He writes on prayer. With this being the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary, one of the greatest gifts of prayer to the Church, I thought to share it with you today. His words challenge me to focus more in prayer and to practice the presence of God more deliberately throughout my day. A couple of his suggestions stung just a bit, but only because I needed to hear them. It is my hope that his words bless you as they do me.
St. Margaret Mary, Saint Claude de la Colombière, pray for us! Anne
Pray along with the saint: Saint Claude De La Colombière: An Act of Hope and Confidence in God
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.
Magnificat, Vol. 14, No. 8, p. 152-153