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Charlene Rack shares something new (at least, new to her!) to boost your prayer life.

Have you ever tried holding your breath for as long as possible? It comes in handy for swimming underwater, or winning childhood endurance games. But when your lungs start burning in their desperate need for air, you have no choice but to give in to them. Breathing gives life to our bodies.

Our spiritual life is very much the same, but the air we breathe is prayer. All the saints knew this well.

St. Teresa of Avila warned us that Satan will do whatever it takes to discourage us from frequent prayer, for a soul devoted to prayer is a soul lost to Satan.

St. Francis de Sales tells us:

Aspire to God, with short but frequent outpourings of the heart.

This is not hot-of the-presses news, but I recently learned something new that has brought my mental prayer to a higher level. I was watching an online Mass recently, broadcast by EWTN (but celebrated and televised from the Fathers of Mercy in Auburn, KY). The priest did a teaching on spiritual communion. I knew nothing of the history of this habit of prayer. I thought it was something new associated with the outbreak of Covid and online Masses. I know what you’re thinking; go ahead and laugh. (I laughed at myself!) I’m often the last to the table, but luckily for me the banquet is always plentiful!

I began researching. The saints of long ago used this method of prayer to draw close to God throughout the day. It has continued to be a cherished habit of uniting one’s heart to the Holy Trinity, and particularly to Christ. St. Maximilian Kolbe, one of the holiest saints of modern times, gave himself a goal of twenty spiritual communions an hour. That practice is backed up by one of our most learned, quoted, and beloved saints, Thomas Aquinas:

Spiritual communion is an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the most holy sacrifice and lovingly embrace him. (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae III)




With regular spiritual communion [we are gifted with] renewed faith, reverence, and complete trust in the goodness of the divine Redeemer, and are united to him in the spirit of the most ardent charity. (Mediator DeiPope Piux XII)

Wow, talk about a rocket booster for your prayer life! I can attest to the difference in my prayer, and the peace in my soul, after embracing this method of prayer and uniting my soul frequently to Christ throughout my day in spiritual communion.

However, this is just one of many powerful practices we can use to develop a habit of “breathing in and breathing out” God’s love and grace throughout our day.

We’ve got the Morning offering (while buttering toast), the Angelus (before lunch), a Hail Mary (while folding the laundry), a “Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in Thee” (for times of stress), and more. The important thing is not giving up on frequent mental prayer. Once you’re in the groove, it will become something you can’t live without, and your spiritual life will flourish in abundance. There are even shorter bursts of prayer called “ejaculatory” prayers (from the Latin word iaculum, meaning “dart”), which also serve to breathe the gifts of God into our souls. There are many websites listing these common prayers, and even indulgences involved with some of them!

Obviously, these short bursts, or “darts,” of prayer should not take the place of longer forms of daily prayer, such as the Mass or time spent with the Blessed Sacrament, whenever possible. A daily Rosary (or decade thereof) is always good, for the Blessed Mother carries our prayers directly to the heart of her Son, as she intercedes mightily for us. Litanies of the saints are quite advantageous and need not be long. Your family can compose your own list of saints to call upon, getting the children involved by allowing them to choose a few of their own favorite saints.


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Develop a habit of “breathing in and breathing out” God’s love and grace throughout our day. #CatholicMom


In addition to prayers for spiritual communion, make a list (with your family) of the short and easy prayers you can turn to throughout the day. Then, whenever your spirit needs a lift, take a deep breath, share your thoughts and needs with God, and allow Him to restore your soul!

And always keep in mind this important reminder from Jesus (and from Fr. Jacques Philippe, in his book Thirsting for Prayer):

Fidelity should be a principal quality of prayer. Jesus does not ask us to pray well; he asks us to pray without ceasing!” (Fr. Jacques Philippe)


Get started today, if you haven’t already, and NEVER stop!



Copyright 2023 Charlene Rack
Images: (top, bottom) Canva; (center) copyright 2019 Charlene Rack, all rights reserved.