Slow down your prayer and savor each word.


1. Timed to breathing.

This "Way of praying consists in praying mentally with each breath or respiration, by saying one word of the Our Father or of any other prayer being said, so that only a single word is pronounced between one breath and the next. In the interval between each breath, attention is especially paid to the meaning of that word, or to the person to whom one is praying, or to one's own lowliness, or to the distance between the other's greatness and one's own lowliness; one goes through the other words of the Our Father keeping to the same arrangement and rules; then one says the other prayers, i.e. Hail Mary, Anima Chrisri, Creed and Hail Holy Queen in the usual way.

One should say the Hail Mary rhythmically on another day or at another time when one wants to pray, and then the other prayers in the usual way; and subsequently take the other prayers in turn and follow the same procedure.

RULE 2 Whoever wants to remain longer on the prayer by rhythm can recite all the prayers mentioned above, or fewer of them, but keeping the same system of rhythmic breathing already explained."

2. One word at a time.

"The second way of praying is as follows. One either kneels or sits, according to one's disposition and to the devotion one experiences. Keeping one's eyes closed or fixed on one spot, without allowing the gaze to wander, one says the word 'Father', staying with this word for as long as one finds meanings, comparisons, relish and consolation in considerations related to it. One should do this for each word of the Our Father, or for any other prayer that one may wish to take for praying in this way.

RULE 1 One should spend an hour on the whole of the Our Father, keeping to the procedure just given; then after finishing this, one says the Hail Mary, the Creed, the Anima Christi and the Hail Holy Queen, vocally or mentally in the usual way.

RULE 2 If the person contemplating the Our Father finds in one or two words rich matter for reflection, and much relish and consolation, that person should not be anxious to go further, even though the whole hour is spent on what has been found; when the hour is up, the remainder of the Our Father should be said in the usual way.

RULE 3 If a person has spent a complete hour on one or two words of the Our Father, when wanting to go back to the same prayer on another day, that person should say those one or two words in the usual way and then begin the contemplation on the word immediately following them, in the manner explained in Rule a.

NOTE It should be noted that when the Our Father has been completed &emdash; either in one day or several &emdash; the same procedure should be followed with the Hail Mary, and then with the other prayers, so that over a period of time one will always be exercising oneself in one of them.

NOTE When a prayer is ended, one should turn to the person to whom the prayer has been addressed, and in a few words ask for the virtues or graces for which one feels greater need."

St. Ignatius of Loyola, Personal Writings, Penguin Books (1996) pp. 332-333. This text is quoted here for educational and religious purposes only,

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