The great work of our perfection is born, grows, and maintains its life by means of two small but precious exercises, — aspirations and spiritual retirement. An aspiration is a certain springing of the soul towards God, and the more simple it is, the more valuable. It consists in simply beholding what He is, and what He has done and is doing for us; and it should excite the heart, as a consequence, to acts of humility, love, resignation, or abandonment, according to circumstances. Now, these two exercises have an incredible power to keep us in our duty, to support us in temptation, to lift us up promptly after falls, and to unite us closely to God. Besides, they can be made at any time or place, and with all possible ease; therefore, they ought to be as familiar to us as the inspiration and expiration of air from our lungs. -St. Francis de Sales

Every time that the clock struck, St. Ignatius collected his thoughts, and raised his soul to God.

Though he might happen to be in the company of men of rank, St. Vincent de Paul always uncovered his head when the clock struck, and raised some devout aspiration to heaven.

St. Thomas of Aquin used this kind of prayer many times a day, — when he was at Mass, when he was studying, when he left his cell or returned to it, and at all odd moments.

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

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