The following excerpt is from pages 133-134 of Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, Season 1 reading for the Catholic Classics podcast. Here, St. Francis shares 4 prayer exercises you should complete in the morning before leaving your bedroom.
In addition to this full and complete mental prayer, along with the additional vocal prayers that you ought to say once every day, there are five other shorter kinds of prayers which are, as it were, the little offshoots of your principal prayer. The first is the morning offering, which is general preparation for all the works of the day. It may be offered in the following manner:
Adore God with profound zeal and give him thanks for having graciously preserved you through the past night. And if during the course of the night’s hours you happened to commit any sin, implore his pardon.
Consider that the present day is given you so that during its course you may gain the future day of eternity. Therefore, firmly intend to employ it well, with the very intention of making it the antechamber of eternity.
Consider what business, conversation, and opportunities you are likely to encounter as you strive to serve God in them. Likewise, think of what temptations may befall you leading you to offend him, either through anger, vanity, or any other unmeasured state of soul. Thus, prepare yourself with a firm resolution to make the best use of those means that may present themselves this day as you strive to serve God and advance in devotion.
Indeed, it does not suffice that you make this resolution; you must also prepare the means of putting it into execution. Likewise, on the other hand, dispose yourself carefully to avoid, resist, and overcome whatever might be detrimental to your salvation and to God’s glory.
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Having done all this, then humble yourself in God’s presence. Acknowledge that, on your own, you can fulfill none of these resolutions, either as regards avoiding evil or doing good. And with your heart in hand, offer it, together with all your good plans, to the Divine Majesty, beseeching him to take it under his protection and to strengthen it, so that it may prosper in his service, using the following (or similar) words:
“Behold, O Lord, this poor and miserable heart of mine, which, through your goodness, has given birth to some good affections, though, alas, of itself is too weak and wretched to execute on the good which it desires unless you bestow upon it your heavenly blessing—which to this end I humbly beseech you, O merciful Father, through the merits of the passion of your Son, to whose honor I consecrate this day and all the days of my life.”
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