The Priority of Prayer

The substance of mental prayer, in my opinion, consists in nothing but conversing with God as with a friend. And so, to speak of this thing or of that to Him, who, we know, loves us, is mental prayer. -St. Teresa

When we have to speak to others on spiritual matters, we ought first to speak of them to God in prayer, and empty ourselves of our own spirit, that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit, which alone illuminates the mind and inflames the will. -St. Vincent de Paul

When this Saint was about to deliberate on some business, or take some resolution, or give some advice, he was accustomed before speaking and even before thinking of the matter, to raise his mind to God to ask light and help. On such occasions, he usually raised his eyes to heaven, then dropped them, and kept them partly closed, as if consulting with God in his own heart before replying. When matters of importance were under consideration, he desired that time should be taken, to recommend them to God. And as he trusted wholly to the Divine wisdom, and not at all to bis own, he received from heaven great lights and graces, by means of which he often discovered things which could not have been penetrated by the human intellect alone.

In grave matters, St. Ignatius never resolved upon anything without first recommending them to God in prayer.

When the Abbot Pambo was asked for advice, he used to reply, “Give me time to think.” Then he made it a subject of prayer; and if he received any light from God, he communicated it; otherwise, he did not answer at all.

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

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