The Morning Exercise

October 9, 2021 • 4 min

#DoctorsOfTheChurch #Doctrine #Prayer

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 60
By St. Francis de Sales


On Morning Exercise.

Besides mental and vocal prayer there are other kinds, which are, as it were, slips and twigs of the principle prayer: the first is morning prayer, intended as a general preparation to all the actions of the day, and it may be made in the following manner:

  1. Adore God most profoundly, and return Him thanks for having preserved you from the dangers of the past night; and if, during the course thereof, you have committed any sin, beseech his pardon.

  2. Consider that the present day is given you in order that you may gain the future day of eternity: make a firm resolution, therefore, to employ it well, and with that intention.

  3. Bring before your mind the occupations with which you are likely to be engaged during the day; what opportunities to serve God, what temptations to offend Him, either through anger, or vanity, or any other irregularity, and prepare yourself with a firm resolution to make the best use of the means which shall be offered to you, to serve God and advance in devotion; so also, on the other hand, dispose yourself carefully to avoid, resist, and overcome whatever may present itself that is prejudicial to your salvation and to the glory of God.

    Now, it is not sufficient to make this resolution unless you also prepare the means to put it effectually into execution. For example: if you foresee that you are to negotiate any business with a person who is passionate and easily provoked to anger, you will not only resolve to refrain from giving him any offence, but you will also prepare words of meekness to prevent his anger, or use the assistance of some person to keep him in temper. If you foresee that you shall have an opportunity of visiting some sick person, you will forecast the time, with the comforts and assistance you may afford him: and so of the rest.

  4. This done, humble yourself in the presence of God. Acknowledge that, of yourself, you can do nothing of all that you have resolved, either as to the avoiding evil or doing good; and, as if you held your heart in your hands, offer it, together with all your good intentions, to the Divine Majesty, beseeching Him to take it under his protection, and to strengthen it, that it may proceed prosperously in his service, using these or similar words interiorly:

    “Behold, O Lord, this poor miserable heart of mine, which, through thy goodness, has conceived many good affections, but which, alas! is of itself too weak and wretched to execute the good which it desires, unless Thou shouldst impart to it thy heavenly blessing, which for this end I humbly beg of Thee, O merciful Father, through the merits of the Passion of thy Son, to whose honour and glory I consecrate this and all the remaining days of my life.”

    Then invoke our Blessed Lady, your good angel, and the saints, in order that they may all assist you by their intercession.

But all these spiritual acts must be made briefly and fervently, and before you depart from your chamber, if it be possible, that by means of this exercise all that you may have to do throughout the day may be watered with the blessing of God: and I beg of you, Philothea, never to fail herein.

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