Monday, January 24, 2011

Prayers for the Common Man

In “The Introduction to the Devout Life” by Saint Francis de Sales he talks about a principle that is important for all Oblates and Companions of St. Benedict:

“Tell me, please, my Philothea, whether it is proper for a bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian; or for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin about increasing their income; or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious; or on the other hand for a religious to be constantly exposed like a bishop to all the events and circumstances that bear on the needs of our neighbour. Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganised and intolerable? Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently, but in no way does true devotion, my Philothea, destroy anything at all. On the contrary, it perfects and fulfils all things. In fact if it ever works against, or is inimical to, anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion. . . .”

We live in God’s world in a wide variety of callings and our spiritual disciplines must of necessity reflect the limitations and graces of those callings. The very backbone of our discipline is the Daily Office. “Which one?” You may ask. “Morning Prayer, or Evening Prayer, or both, or seven Offices and one in the middle of the night?” Godly common sense is a grace, but you will find that the discipline of praying even one Office every day will bring balance and depth to your spiritual life. What is important is that you both listen to God in Holy Scripture and talk to Him every day. Christian life is life lived in the Presence of Christ.