Francis de Sales recounts what happened to St. Frances of Rome when she was called away again and again
Setting aside time for prayer is often a difficult task. Especially for those who are married and have children, carving out 15 to 30 minutes for quiet prayer time can be almost impossible.
Even when we do set aside time for prayer, little hands and voices inevitably interrupt it. For example, you may decide that tomorrow you will wake up one hour early to spend the morning reading a good spiritual book or simply rest in quiet meditation.
You wake up early, sit in your comfy chair, and open up your book. After a few minutes of quiet bliss, your youngest child wakes up and runs down the steps and immediately starts asking for breakfast. There goes your only quiet time for the entire day!
Or to give a different example, you may not have children at home and every day you have a chunk of time when you can sit down to pray. For the most part you are never interrupted, but one day you sit down and shortly thereafter your neighbor calls and has a question. You answer the question and then return to prayer. After a few short minutes someone from church calls and has a different question. Then a few minutes later the door-bell rings and at that point you answer the door in a very “uncharitable” manner!
St. Francis de Sales encourages us not to get angry when interrupted in these ways. He relates a miraculous story from the life of St. Frances of Rome.
Upon a day St. Frances was reciting Our Lady’s Office, and, as it commonly happens that ifthere is but one affair in the whole day, it presses most at time of prayer, this holy lady was calledaway by her husband for some household matter, and four sundry times thinking to take up againthe thread of her Office, she was called from it again, and constrained to interrupt the same verse,till this blessed affair, for which they had so importunately interrupted her prayer, being finishedat last, when she returned to her Office she found the verse, so often left by obedience and so oftenrecommenced by devotion, all written in fair golden letters.
He uses this example to explain how, “necessary employments, according to each one’s vocation, do not diminish Divine love, but increase it, and gild, as it were, the work of devotion. The nightingale loves her melody no less when she makes her pauses than when she sings; the devout heart loves love no less when she turns to exterior necessities than when she prays: her silence and her speech, her action and her contemplation, her employment and her rest, equally sing in her the hymn of her love.”
While prayer is a precious time to foster our love of God, we should also view our other obligations as ways to increase our union with God. Our entire lives are meant to be a fragrant offering to God, whether we are alone in prayer, or busy about our activities around the house.
Every moment in our life is a gift. It’s up to us to use those moments to glorify God.
This is the key to achieving peace through contemplation
St. Francis de Sales: The primary difference between contemplation and meditation