For Ordering a Life Wisely

St. Thomas Aquinas was a man who longed for the harmonious and peaceful inner life that can be found only by clinging to God [1]. In pursuit of this life, he knelt every day before the image of Christ to ask for and receive the virtuous character that he knew God is ready and able to give. Countless saints have joined him in this prayer over the last 750 years – perhaps you’d like to join in too.

St. Thomas recited this daily before the image of Christ
O merciful God, grant that I may
                 desire ardently,
                 search prudently,
                 recognize truly,
                 and bring to perfect completion
          whatever is pleasing to You
                 for the praise and glory of Your name.
Put my life in order, O my God.
Grant that I may know
          what You require me to do.
Bestow upon me 
          the power to accomplish Your will,
                as is necessary and fitting
                        for the salvation of my soul.
Grant that I may know
          what You require me to do.
Bestow upon me 
          the power to accomplish Your will,
                as is necessary and fitting
                        for the salvation of my soul.
Grant to me, O Lord my God, 
          that I may not falter in times
                        of prosperity or adversity,
          so that I may not be exalted in the former,
                         nor dejected in the latter.
May I not rejoice in anything
                 unless it leads me to You;
       may I not be saddened by anything
                  unless it turns me from You.
May I desire to please no one,
          nor fear to displease anyone,
                   but You.
May all transitory things, O Lord,
          be worthless to me
      and may all things eternal
          be ever cherished by me.
May any joy without You 
          be burdensome for me
  and may I not desire anything else
          besides You.
May all work, O Lord, 
          delight me when done for Your sake
  and may all repose not centered in You
          be ever wearisome for me.
Grant unto me, my God, 
           that I may direct my heart to You
           and that in my failures
                 I may ever feel remorse for my sins 
                    and never lose the resolve to change.
O Lord my God, make me
          submissive without protest,
          poor without discouragement,
          chaste without regret,
          patient without complaint,
          humble without posturing,
          cheerful without frivolity,
          mature without gloom,
          and quick-witted without flippancy.
O Lord my God, let me
          fear You without losing hope,
          be truthful without guile,
          do good works without presumption,
          rebuke my neighbor without haughtiness,
              and—without hypocrisy—
          strengthen him by word and example.
Give to me, O Lord God,
          a watchful heart, 
              which no capricious thought
                 can lure away from You.
Give to me
          a noble heart,
              which no unworthy desire can debase.
Give to me 
          a resolute heart,
              which no evil intention can divert.
Give to me
          a stalwart heart,
              which no tribulation can overcome.
Give to me 
          a temperate heart,
              which no violent passion can enslave.
Give to me, O Lord my God, 
          understanding of You,
          diligence in seeking You,
          wisdom in finding You,
          discourse ever pleasing to You,
          perseverance in waiting for You,
          and confidence in finally embracing You.
Grant
          that with Your hardships
              I may be burdened in reparation here,
          that Your benefits 
              I may use in gratitude upon the way,
          that in Your joys 
              I may delight by glorifying You 
                  in the Kingdom of Heaven.
You Who live and reign,
          God, world without end. 
                      Amen[2].

1. Martin Grabmann, translated by Nicholas Ashenbrener, The Interior Life of St. Thomas Aquinas: Presented from His Works and the Acts of His Canonization Process (Bruce, Milwaukee, 1951), 63.

2. Aquinas, Thomas, The Aquinas prayer book: The prayers and hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas, edited by Robert Anderson and Johann Moser (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2000).