“We ought always to pray.” — St. Luke 18.1.
It is very important that in order to pray we should know ourselves. He who knows himself well sees clearly that he is full of miseries. At this, he humbles himself, and is confounded before the Sovereign Majesty of God. What! Cries he, Our Lord has done so much for me and I have done so little for Him! I have so often offended Him Whom I have so much cause to love! — St. Teresa.
A young anchorite once said to his master: “It seems to me, Father, that I am agreeable in the eyes of God, that I possess many virtues.” “He who sees not his sins,” replied the old man, “always persuades himself that he is good; but he who reflects upon the sins of which he is guilty is very far from thinking in such a manner.”
St. Francis Borgia spent two hours each day in meditating and examining his own disposition of heart. Through the means of this salutary exercise he conceived so low an opinion of himself that he was astonished that he was not despised, insulted, and ill-treated by all.
The servant of God St. Joseph Labre found in prayer such a horror of himself that he was eager for humiliations. Nothing was more delicious to him than to receive insults. A worthy priest, who esteemed him much, wished out of respect for him to kiss his feet. This was, perhaps, of all the mortifications he had to endure, the greatest. “Why do this?” he said; “is it because I am a beggar in mind and lead the life of one?”
O my God, what hast Thou not done for me, and what have I done for Thee? I have too many reasons to love Thee, and I have done scarcely anything but offend Thee. Pardon, Lord, a thousand, thousand pardons.