Praying Reverently

Prayer ought to be humble, fervent, resigned, persevering, and accompanied with great reverence. One should consider that she stands in the presence of a God, and speaks with a Lord before whom the angels tremble from awe and fear. -St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi

St. Francis de Sales, even when he was alone, remained before God, through the whole time of prayer, humble, abased, composed, motionless, and with singular reverence, like a loving son.

St. John Berchmans remained always on his knees, with his eyes closed, his hands clasped on his bosom, without support, motionless as a rock, with a countenance full of joy and such ardor that others placed themselves near him, that they might gain fervor by looking at him.

St. Rose of Lima kept herself recollected, and so great was her attention and devotion, that any object that presented itself before her, distracted her no more than if she were insensible. When she went to church, she placed herself in a corner, with her eyes fixed upon the tabernacle. She would remain thus for many hours immovable, while the sight of persons passing near her, and the general buzz and murmur of the crowd, did not disturb her at all.

When St. Bernard was entering a church to pray, he would say to his thoughts: “Remain here outside, useless thoughts and disorderly affections, and thou, my soul, enter into the presence of thy Lord!”

At the close of their prayers, many Saints showed exterior marks of their fervor. St. Gervasius, the Bishop, was often seen with rays around his head; the face of the venerable Father John Leonardi was so changed and glowing, that he seemed transformed into a Seraph; and the Abbot Silvanus was transported to such a degree that all the things of the earth seemed to him vile and abject, and he covered his eyes with his hands that he might not see them, saying: “Close, my eyes, and seek not to look at the things of the world; for there is nothing in it worthy to be gazed upon.”

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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