Mary, help us be recollected

Friends in Christ, in the gospel today, Our Lord urges us to ‘pray always.’ How do we pray always? After all, we have work to do, duties to carry out, and God certainly wants us to focus on doing our work well.
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The way that we ‘pray always,’ is to try to keep the Lord in mind all day, to keep the Presence of God, and our great model in this, is the Blessed Virgin.
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In the hymn Stabat Mater, or ‘At the Cross her station keeping’, there is a line that urges us to be like Mary: ‘Make me feel as thou hast felt, make my soul to glow and melt, with the love of Christ my Lord; this was Mary’s heart, glowing with love for her Lord, we must be the same.
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In his letter on the Rosary, Pope St. John Paul II spoke of Mary’s gaze on her Son. She gazed on him in his infancy, during his life, at the cross; but this gaze on Christ was ever-present, even after his Ascension. This must be us. With a gaze on Christ all through the day.
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As Mary, said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord.’ She will help us also, to magnify the Lord in our life, and this is best done by keeping God’s presence in mind all day. The saints often spoke of this:[i] St. Ignatius says, ‘We should keep the presence of God in all things, in our conversations, our walks, our eyes, listening, or thinking, when we are eating and in all we do.’
In writing advice to a young woman, St. Francis de Sales says: ‘In this point I wish you to be most docile: real devotion is found in recollection and in aspirations. It can supply the lack of other prayers, but nothing can take it’s place.’ And here he means keeping the presence of God – ‘recollection’
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The reason we pray in the morning and at the night; the reason we pray at meals and the angelus at noon; we read from a holy book, and the bible, and say our Rosary – all of this is to help us to keep the Presence of God all day. To walk with Christ.
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St. Teresa says that once the Lord has given us this habit of keeping his presence all day, we would not exchange it for all the treasures of the world.
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Mary, help us to make many aspirations, and cultivate this awareness of God’s mighty Presence in us. And this will get us to heaven, which we want the most of all.

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[i] How to Pray always, p. 108, 112

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