Prayer Must Come First
St. Charles Borromeo
This excerpt from a sermon by Saint Charles Borromeo (Acta Ecclesiae Mediolanensis, Mediolani 1599, 1177-1178) is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the feast (liturgical memorial) of St. Charles Borromeo on November 4th. Charles Borromeo, related to the famous Medici family through his mother, was a nephew of Pope Paul IV. He was called by the Pope to serve as Cardinal-deacon and secretary of state and was ultimately consecrated Archbishop of Milan in 1564. He dedicated the remaining 20 years of his life to the reform of the clergy and the pastoral care of his people, zealously implementing the decrees of the Council of Trent. He died on November 3, 1584.
I admit that we are all weak, but if we want help, the Lord God has given us the means to find it easily. One priest may wish to lead a good, holy life, as he knows he should. He may wish to be chaste and to reflect heavenly virtues in the way he lives. Yet he does not resolve to use suitable means, such as penance, prayer, the avoidance of evil discussions and harmful and dangerous friendships. Another priest complains that as soon as he comes into church to pray the office or to celebrate Mass, a thousand thoughts fill his mind and distract him from God. But what was he doing in the sacristy before he came out for the office or for Mass? How did he prepare? What means did he use to collect his thoughts and to remain recollected?
Would you like me to teach you how to grow from virtue to virtue and how, if you are already recollected at prayer, you can be even more attentive next time, and so give God more pleasing worship? Listen, and I will tell you. If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out. Keep the stove tightly shut so that it will not lose its heat and grow cold. In other words, avoid distractions as well as you can. Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter.
If teaching and preaching is your job, then study diligently and apply yourself to whatever is necessary for doing the job well. Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.
Are you in charge of a parish? If so, do not neglect the parish of your own soul, do not give yourself to others so completely that you have nothing left for yourself. You have to be mindful of your people without becoming forgetful of yourself.
My brothers, you must realize that for us churchmen nothing is more necessary than meditation. We must meditate before, during and after everything we do. The prophet says: I will pray, and then I will understand. When you administer the sacraments, meditate on what you are doing. When you celebrate Mass, reflect on the sacrifice you are offering. When you pray the office, think about the words you are saying and the Lord to whom you are speaking. When you take care of your people, meditate on how the Lord’s blood that has washed them clean so that all that you do becomes a work of love.
This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work: in meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in other men.
Be a part of the “new springtime” of evangelization! Your tax-deductible gift helps us use TV, radio, and the web to proclaim the message without compromise but in language even the young can understand. Click here to donate now.
Follow Us -
Join us on Facebook
Join us on Twitter
To download, print and share Prayer Must Come First - Click Here!
For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.
To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!
EWTN - The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers a spirited 8-part mediation in this new EWTN Home Video on the four moral virtues - Fortitude, Prudence, Justice, and Temperance - as well as the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.
Seven Habits of Champions lays out how God's inspiration for Christian living, contained in the Scriptures and made known through the Catechism and Church documents, is accessible to everyone and demonstrated for us through the lives of the saints. We are all called to holiness. And though the practice of these seven "habits," heroic virtue can be attained!
Each DVD tape contains 4 episodes aired on EWTN!
Introduction to the Virtues
The Cardinal Virtue of Prudence
The Cardinal Virtue of Justice
The Cardinal Virtue of Temperance
The Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude
The Theological Virtue of Faith
The Theological Virtue of Hope
The Theological Virtue of Charity
Set of Two DVD with 8 shows - $49.95
Personal Prayer: Pathway to Joy CD
Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
Everyone knows that personal prayer is important. You can't expect to deepen a relationship with God talking with Him only once a week! But how, in the midst of the busy, noisy life we all lead, can we develop a pattern of daily prayer that really works? And if we are successful in carving out some moments for prayer, what do we do? How should we spend that time in way that would be most fruitful?
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio has taught spiritual theology academically, but, more importantly, he's had plenty of practice applying that tradition to everyday life. With a family of seven, a business, and a non-profit corporation to run, he knows the challenges that a busy, active life can pose to the Christian who wants to pray. In this talk, he lays down principles and gives practical suggestions on how busy laypeople can develop a prayer life that leads to joy and personal transformation.
Audio CD $8.95