Three Methods of Prayer
St. Ignatius of Loyola
Contemplate the meaning of each word of the Prayer.
Before entering on the prayer, let the spirit rest a little, the person being seated or walking about, as may seem best to him, considering where he is going and to what.
A Preparatory Prayer, as, for example, to ask grace of God our Lord that I may be able to know in what I have failed as to the Ten Commandments; and likewise to beg grace and help to amend in future, asking for perfect understanding of them, to keep them better and for the greater glory and praise of His Divine Majesty.
The Second Method of Prayer is that the person, kneeling or seated, according to the greater disposition in which he finds himself and as more devotion accompanies him, keeping the eyes closed or fixed on one place, without going wandering with them, says Father, and is on the consideration of this word as long as he finds meanings, comparisons, relish and consolation in considerations pertaining to such word. And let him do in the same way on each word of the Our Father, or of any other prayer which he wants to say in this way.
1) Spend an hour on the whole Our Father in the manner already mentioned. Which finished, he will say a Hail Mary, Creed, Soul of Christ, and Hail, Holy Queen, vocally or mentally, according to the usual way.
2) Should the person who is contemplating the Our Father find in one word, or in two, matter so good to think over, and relish and consolation, let him not care to pass on, although the hour ends on what he finds. The hour finished, he will say the rest of the Our Father in the usual way.
3) If on one word or two of the Our Father one has lingered for a whole hour, when he will want to come back another day to the prayer, let him say the above-mentioned word, or the two, as he is accustomed; and on the word which immediately follows let him commence to contemplate, according as was said in the second Rule.
First Note. It is to be noted that, the Our Father finished, in one or in many days, the same has to be done with the Hail Mary and then with the other prayers, so that for some time one is always exercising himself in one of them.
Second Note. The second note is that, the prayer finished, turning, in few words, to the person to whom he has prayed, let him ask for the virtues or graces of which he feels he has most need.
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