St. Francis de Sales recommended mental prayer early in the morning, when our mind is less cumbered and more vigorous after the night’s rest. St. Alphonsus Liguori said, “It is morally impossible for him who neglects meditation to live without sin.”
St. Teresa was prepared to pledge salvation to anyone who would spend a quarter of an hour daily in meditation. Our Lady asked the faithful to keep her company for a quarter of an hour on the first Saturday of the month, meditating on the 15 mysteries of the rosary, in reparation for sins.
It is a good practice, therefore, to spend at least 15 minutes each morning in meditation.
Good meditation books are valuable resources for spiritual growth. I warmly recommend the following sets of meditation books: In Conversation with God, by Father Francis Fernandez Carvajal, Divine Intimacy, by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, and Biblical Meditations, by Father Carroll Stuhlmueller.
One can prepare for meditation by reading from a meditation book the evening before, highlighting points for meditation, and using those points during meditation.
Meditation on the passion of Christ is very pleasing to God. Our Lord told St. Faustina: “There is more merit to one hour of meditation on my sorrowful passion than there is to a whole year of flagellation that draws blood; the contemplation of my painful wounds is of great profit to you, and it brings me great joy.”
On another occasion, Our Lord said, “There are few souls who contemplate my passion with true feeling; I give great graces to souls who meditate devoutly on my passion.”
Devotional practices such as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, and the Stations of the Cross help the faithful to form the habit of meditating on the passion of Christ.
St. Francis de Sales taught the faithful to sanctify the day through morning and evening prayer.
During morning prayer, we should offer the whole day to God. We may do so by praying the “Morning Offering.” Here is a “Morning Offering” recited daily by members of the World Apostolate of Fatima:
“O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with it the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day.
“O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that she may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart.
“Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!”
St. Francis de Sales exhorted the faithful to make an examination of conscience in the evening before going to rest. We should thank God for preserving us through the day and examine how we have conducted ourselves through the day.
If we have done anything good, we should thank God for it. If we have sinned in thought, word, deed, or omission, we should ask for forgiveness and resolve to amend our lives.
St. Anthony of Padua was one of the first to recommend the recitation of three Hail Marys in the morning and in the evening, which is a beautiful practice. St. Leonard of Port-Maurice had the three Hail Marys recited morning and evening to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or night.
St. Alphonsus of Liguori exhorted parents and confessors to watch carefully that children be faithful in reciting each day their three Hail Marys, morning and evening.