We all need to focus–and especially in September. This is true for those who begin a new academic year, of course–but as summer winds down, this is a time for most of us to refocus and restart. To this end, I’d like to commend St. Thomas Aquinas’s prayer for ordering a life wisely as a way to bring spiritual focus to all that we do. St. Thomas prayed this daily before the image of Christ, and the majority of his prayer follows below:
O merciful God, grant that I may
and bring to perfect completion
whatever is pleasing to You
for the praise and glory of Your name.
Put my life in good 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 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,
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.
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 virtuous heart,
which no evil intention can divert.
Give to me a constant heart,
which no tribulation can overcome.
Give to me a free 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,
conversation pleasing to You,
perseverance in waiting for You,
and confidence in finally embracing You.