UNBORN WORD of the day

February 10, 2008, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae, Quotes from Great Christians, Saints


The Seventh Way of Prayer – St. Dominic
While praying, he (St. Dominic) was often seen to reach towards heaven like an arrow which has been shot from a taut bow straight upwards into the sky.*

Towards the end of the Gospel of Life, John Paul II gives us an important reminder about “prayer” and fasting. He does this to help us be properly prepared for the Pro – Life battle:

“Jesus himself has shown us by his own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). As he taught his disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf. Mk 9:29). Let us therefore discover anew the humility and the courage to pray and fast so that power from on high will break down the walls of lies and deceit: the walls which conceal from the sight of so many of our brothers and sisters the evil of practices and laws which are hostile to life.”

Notice in the above quote John Paul II points out the need for “humility and courage to pray and fast”. This reminds me of a sermon given by St. Francis de Sales on March 29, 1615 regarding “The Spirit of Prayer”. Here is an excerpt:

“for do you not see how a marksman with a crossbow, when he wishes to discharge a large arrow, draws the string of his bow lower the higher he wants it to go? Thus must we do when we wish our prayer to reach Heaven; we must lower ourselves by the awareness of our nothingness. David admonishes us to do so by these words: When you wish to pray, plunge yourself profoundly into the abyss of your nothingness that you may be able afterward, without difficulty, to let your prayer fly like an arrow even up to the heavens. [Cf. Ps. 130:1-2; Sir. 35:21].”

De Sales compares prayer to the shooting of an arrow “up to the heavens”. I would like to ask if we shoot our prayer up to God in Heaven, exactly what are we aiming at? His Heart perhaps? Imagine, if you will, a target in Heaven like that used by a common archer here below. We supplicants, weary and wayward as we are, shoot our prayer heavenward but the target seems to elude us – except that God hears our prayer before we say it and he sees that arrow before it is released. God moves that heavenly target so that it meets the arrow – your arrow – your prayer is mercifully heard by God, your prayer is lovingly received by God. God cheats sometimes because of our incapacity. What we lack He makes up for in Mercy.

*Taken from the Nine Ways of Prayer – the Nine Ways of Prayer was written by an anonymous Bolognese author, sometime between A.D. 1260 and A.D. 1288, whose source of information was, among other followers of St. Dominic, Sister Cecilia of Bologna’s Monastery of St. Agnes. Sister Cecilia had been given the habit by St. Dominic himself. “The Nine Ways of Prayer” has been sometimes printed as a supplement to “The Life of St. Dominic” by Theodoric of Apoldia, though they aren’t an actual part of that work.

3 Comments so far
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Good posts, I enjoy reading St. Dominic & St. Francis de Sales.

Comment by quickbeamoffangorn

I am amazed at the consistency of the quality and substance of your postings. Keep up the excellent work and let us pray all the more fervently for the unborn during this election year.

Comment by Father Irving

Thanks Father Peter – we highly recommend your blog too. It has so many great pro-life posts. I still haven’t figured out how to download videos. You have some really interesting videos on your blog.


Comment by unbornwordoftheday

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