The Principal Duties of the Day (Part One)


From An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Father Paul O’Sullivan, 1950’s

Part Two is here.

We shall now consider the principal duties of the day, each in particular, and see how we may avoid the many grave faults commonly committed in their performance, and on the contrary, we shall see how we may derive from these same duties the very greatest graces.

These duties are Prayer, Work, Eating, Sleeping and Suffering.


The most important duty in our everyday life is Prayer. On it depends all our happiness. We must, therefore, form clear ideas of how to pray.

Those who understand what prayer is find in it pleasure and delight. Prayer brings us into close, intimate, personal contact with God.

When we pray, Almighty God gives us all His attention. He is looking at us, hearing our every word, ready to give us everything that is good for us. He hears our every prayer.

If, as sometimes happens, we ask for what is not good for us, God does not give us that. Our prayer, however, is not lost, for in this case He gives us something else, something better. We rather gain than lose.

God is infinitely good. He loves us with a boundless love. He is our dearest Father and we are His children. Consequently He readily gives us all that can make us happy. Moreover, He has promised in the most explicit way to hear our prayers.

“Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.” God never breaks His word. Yet many do not seem to believe Him! When they need something they use every possible means of getting it, except the best means of all, viz., prayer.

Prayer is an intimate and loving talk with God. We are really and truly in His presence. It is enough to bear this clearly in mind, and then our prayer becomes an intense consolation.

As in the case of other Christian duties, the trouble about prayer is our ignorance. We have not been properly instructed. The great reality of prayer has not been explained to and impressed upon us.

Two things we do in prayer: We offer God our love and adoration, as the Angels do in Heaven, and we ask Him for all we need. If God seems deaf to our prayers, it is simply because He wishes to prove our faith and confidence in Him. We must pray and pray on.

St. Peter tells us that we must take Heaven by violence, for the violent bear it away. The more we pray, the more we receive. By delaying to hear our prayer, God is actually giving us more and better graces.

We have a touching example of this in the case of the poor woman of Canaan who, crying out, said: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil. ” Who answered her not a word.

And his disciples came and besought him, saying, “Send her away, for she crieth after us.”And he answering, said, I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel. ”

But she came and adored him, saying, “Lord, help me.”

Who answering, said: “It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs.”

But she said: “Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters.”

Then Jesus [showing all His sweetness and love] answering, said to her, “O woman, great is thy faith, be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.” (Matt. 15:22-28).

In this touching story, we see the admirable confidence and perseverance of this poor woman, a striking example for us to follow. We also see how, not only was her daughter cured, but she herself was filled with joy and consolation.

What graces do not those receive who pray in this way, who blindly trust in the goodness of God and who storm His Sacred Heart!


Martyrdom by the little fires of hidden fidelities constantly adhered to, of tormenting temptations courageously and perseveringly repulsed, of the exact and loving fulfillment of duties toward God and neighbor, of prayer faithfully practiced despite disgust, aridity and the pressure of work–is it not a martyrdom? Who can estimate the value of its countless offerings which are not publicized but which cost . . . and which count! -Christ in the Home, (afflink)

As Sr. Lucia of Fatima said this is a time of diabolical disorientation. We find an amazing type or image of this in the life of St. John of the Cross. To conquer this inversion, as St. John did, we must remain firm and steadfast in our faith and employ the power of the Most Holy Trinity in casting the devil out of our lives. This is always done through the making of the Sign of the Cross. All throughout an exorcism, it is this sign, made in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, that ultimately frees the possessed soul from the grip of Satan and all evil. Let us, then, recognize its goodness, its power and the need to make it well and often… And when the time is right things will change and quickly. The promised victory will be ours….

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