The Wisdom of the Saints about prayer (part 4)

“When I had come by ill luck to Ireland – well, every day I used to look after sheep and I used to pray often during the day, the love of God and the fear of Him increased more and more in me and my faith began to grow and my spirit to be stirred up, so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers because the Spirit was glowing in me.” St. Patrick of Ireland (4th-5th centuries)

“Should I give my time to prayer or should I go about preaching? I am a poor little simple one, with no skill in speaking; I have received the gift of prayer rather than that of preaching. Besides, in prayer we acquire graces while in preaching we deal out the graces we’ve received. In prayer we purify the desires of our hearts and enter into union with the one, true, and supreme Good, and we grow in virtue.” St. Francis of Assisi (12th-13th centuries)

“Great talent is a gift of God, but it is a gift which is by no means necessary in order to pray well. This gift is required in order to converse well with men; but it is not necessary in order to speak well with God. For that, one needs good desires, and nothing more.” St. John of the Cross (16th century, Doctor of the Church)

“Prayer is called mystical, because of the hidden nature of the conversation: God and the individual speak heart to heart, and what passes between them can be shared with no one else. So personal is lovers’ talk, it has no meaning outside the two who engage in it. No need, however, in the realms of love, for the spoken word, for appeal to the senses, when lovers share their thoughts. After all, prayer, or mystical theology, is simply a loving talk between the soul and God, where the topic of conversation is the attraction of God’s goodness, and how to achieve union with Him.” St. Francis de Sales (16th-17th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

“For me, prayer means launching out of the heart towards God; it means lifting up one’s eyes, quite simply, to Heaven, a cry of grateful love from the crest of joy or the trough of despair; it’s a vast, supernatural force which opens out my heart, and binds me close to Jesus.” St. Therese of Lisieux (19th century, Doctor of the Church)

“I must therefore pray – the wholly interior prayer of the soul, proceeding from its innermost depths; without words, offering God my most ardent desires and love, and giving myself to Him. Prayer for myself, for the souls dear to me, for all souls, for the Church. Such prayer is an inward movement of my heart toward Christ, and a consecration of myself to Him, my Master and Friend.” Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur (19th-20th centuries)

“Perfume all your actions with the life-giving breath of prayer.” Pope St. John XXIII (19th-20th centuries)

“The well-regulated life does not defer prayer until work has been accomplished; it turns the work itself into a prayer. We accomplish this when we turn to God at the beginning and completion of each task and mentally offer it up for love of Him. Then, whether we are nursing a child or making carburetors, turning a lathe or running an elevator, the task is sanctified. No amount of piety in leisure hours can compensate for slipshod labor on the job. Any honest task, well done, can be turned into a prayer.” Ven. Fulton Sheen (19th-20th centuries)

“The time we spend in having our daily audience with God is the most precious part of the whole day.” St. Teresa of Calcutta (20th century)

“Prayer should be as fervent as the prayer of the Virgin Mary and the apostles in the Upper Room awaiting the Holy Spirit, as trusting in the Father as that of Jesus in the Garden of Olives, as resolute as that of Moses when he stretched out his arms on the mountain during the battle, and as confident in the mercy of God as that of the good thief at Calvary.” Ven. Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan (20th-21st centuries)