It is better to say one Our Father fervently and devoutly than a thousand with no devotion and full of distraction.
— St. Edmund
Saint Edmund must have had ADHD, otherwise he would have been able to get through a thousand Our Fathers without being distracted. Take it from someone who can only say a complete rosary if she’s pacing back and forth like some kind of caged tiger. I’ve always admired people who can sit before the Blessed Sacrament for an hour without moving around or get through an entire rosary slowly and thoughtfully as if in a devotional rapture. I wish I could do that, but I can’t – not for very long. But that’s okay. My prayers may not be as elegant, but I usually manage to get in some meaningful conversation with Our Lord as I buzz around from task to task.
I like the way Saint Ignatius put it, “We must speak to God as a friend speaks to his friend, servant to his master; now asking some favor, now acknowledging our faults, and communicating to Him all that concerns us, our thoughts, our fears, our projects, our desires, and in all things seeking His counsel.”
So, praying as Saint Ignatius’ teaches, you can be in constant prayer no matter what you’re doing. And although Ignatius used other metaphors, it seems to me that this also describes the daily ongoing conversation of a devoted husband and wife who have spent many years in love with each other. Sometimes in marriage words become unnecessary. There is a communication that goes on under the radar. Other people can often tell that there’s something going on, but they just can’t quite figure out what it is. There is a movement, a look, a smile or a laugh that tells the story of the heart. There is no need to say “I love you” over and over. The love is expressed in the way they continually share their thoughts and desires and the pleasure they have in simply being together. Everything they do is done for the benefit of the other. Because he knows his wife so well he gives her everything he is. Because she loves her husband so deeply she is totally his. She wakes thinking about him and goes to sleep contented to hear his breathing. He cares for the things that she cares for and puts her above all other things in his life. Their bonds are strong and each lives to make the other happy because each one makes the other complete. They want to be together as one forever.
And this is the love of Christ for his bride, the Church, and the love of Christ for each of us; a love so strong that he gave his life freely so that he could be with the one he loves. So this is how I think of prayer – a continuous conversation with the one who loves me dearly, the one who knows me well and still wants to be with me, the one I’ve chosen to be with through all eternity.
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