The Rule, Article 4

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Train Your Soul - Saint Bonaventure

 Train your soul with unflagging zeal for prayer.

To make progress in the spiritual life it is especially important for a bride of Christ to train her soul in the flagging zeal for prayer. If a religious lacks devotion and is lukewarm, and prays only infrequently, she is miserable and unprofitable. As a matter of fact, in God’s sight her soul is dead through her body is still alive.

The power of persevering prayer is such that it is efficacious under all circumstances We can derive profit from it at all times: in winter and summer, in fair weather and foul, day and night, on holy days and work days, in sickness and in health, while standing, sitting or walking, when in choir and out of choir. In fact, through an hour’s prayer one can gain more than the world is worth. By single devout prayer, a man can gain the kingdom of heaven.

Now, there are three requisites for perfect prayer. First, when at prayer close your senses and concentrate with all your being, body and soul, and calmly dwell with sorrow and contrition on all your weaknesses past, present and future.

The second requisite in prayer for a bride of God is thanksgiving. Thank the creator in all humility for blessings already conferred and those still to be granted by him. Nothing renders man so worthy of God’s gifts as to thank him always for those that have been received.

The third requisite from perfect prayer is for the mind to think of nothing else except that for which prayer is being offered. In speaking with God it is very improper to speak one thing with the lips and another with the heart so that only half one’s heart is directed to heaven while the other half remains on earth.

Make no mistake, be not mislead, nor lose the rich fruit of prayer. Do not forfeit its sweetness, nor cheat yourself of the delight you should derive from prayer. Prayer is the cup for drinking the grace of the Holy Spirit from the abundant fountain of delight, the Blessed Trinity. Be recollected during prayer, enter the chamber of your heart with your beloved and tarry there alone with him. Forget everything outside and with all your heart, all your mind, all your longing, all your devotion rise above yourself. You must not grow weary of praying but soar aloft in ardent prayer till you enter the wonderful dwelling place, the house of God.

Saint Bonaventure on the Life of Perfection

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