Part Two is here.
Part One is Here.
To get a good start in the morning, through the energy of one’s love and the help of the precautions taken the evening before; to renew quietly the bonds of divine union at favorable opportunities, such as on entering a room, hearing a bell ring, taking leave of someone, or beginning or finishing a piece of work; to ask God humbly for the desired help to correspond to grace: these are all positive helps to union with God.
They offer possibilities for achievement that will be more or less easy according to the alertness and aptness of the individual soul. Above all, in one who is inclined to give a little more time to prayer and well-chosen spiritual readings, they ought to have appreciable results.
There are, further, certain negative precautions that are important: the avoidance of useless thoughts and the curbing of natural impetuosity. We all have the habit of conversing with ourselves, and nothing is more fruitful if the ideas exchanged are worthwhile. Unfortunately, if we are not vigilant, we become come for the most part the victim of useless prattling, as harmful as the chatter of two persons who continue to talk when they have nothing to say.
St. Francis de Sales once jokingly spoke in praise of poor memories, quoting in this connection the words of St. Paul to the Philippians: “Forgetting the things which are behind,” and he showed the spiritual advantage in not remembering so many things when we are occupied in prayer or the concerns of our daily life.
“We never live,” a certain philosopher once remarked. “We hope to live.” It might be good to add that not only do we project our thoughts into the future, but we unceasingly scrutinize the past. Truly, a weak memory can sometimes times be very profitable, for have not many of our failings and nearly all of our inattention to God come from the play of our memories, in season and out of season?
Furthermore, certain natures are the prey of impressions: they react to everything, for everything, for nothing. They laboriously concoct dreams throughout the day. They build up imaginary situations, one more fantastic than the other. They probe the thoughts of such and such a person.
Upon the slenderest hint, they invent a whole novel. From a single word they overheard, they deduce a whole argument, arriving at positive conclusions. They are living kaleidoscopes.
Women are said to be particularly adept in this kind of sport. They are affectionate, and that may strangely enough be a help in prayer; they have impressionable souls and an imagination that easily rambles, and that can be very detrimental to recollection.
What can we do? Each of us must discipline himself, using the means at hand. We must go to God by means of the possibilities that are ours. The abilities of one are not the abilities of another. Even when we have a definite set of fixed rules, we must always in practice take account of the personal coefficient.
God knows that well and does not require of all a like achievement. The essential thing is that we go to the limit of our grace, not to the limit of another’s grace.
That is the reason for the wide diversity among the saints, even among souls dwelling together in the same institute or in the same family. Nothing is more delightful than this variety in the different types of religious psychology.
There is no doubt that a married woman, if she is a good manager and is not encumbered by some job outside the home, can find time for normal religious exercises and can even provide for meditation, spiritual reading and a relatively frequent assistance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion; time, after all, is something that varies in its possibility for adaptations and compressibility and woman excels in the heart of putting many things into a small place…. -Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., 1950′
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