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Salesian Pearl of Wisdom #4 The Direction of Intention.

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1 Salesian Pearl of Wisdom #4 The Direction of Intention

2 Beyond the prayer that we know at Bishop Ireton, what is the Direction of Intention? It refers to the action of pausing before each new action and focusing our attention on lifting this action to God. It is elegantly simple and profoundly powerful at the same time.

3 Everyday Acts Francis saw the Direction of Intention as a means by which the simple, everyday acts could be transformed into something holy, sacred and sublime. The most insignificant actions could become a spiritual experience.

4 History While he was a student at the University of Padua, he composed a rule book for himself. With the help of his spiritual director, Antonio Possevino, a Jesuit, he composed a series of guidelines to keep his heart focused amid the temptations and turmoil of university life. This guidebook contained the Direction of Intention.

5 Spiritual Directory He taught the Direction of Intention to St. Jane de Chantal. When they founded the Visitation Sisters, they gave the nuns a booklet titled Spiritual Directory for Daily Actions. This booklet, which was intended to help the nuns live an authentic spiritual life contained a teaching on the Direction of Intention.

6 Founding of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales Two hundred years later, Father Louis Brisson founded the congregations of the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales and the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. He passed the Spiritual Directory for Daily Actions onto the nuns, priests and brothers of both congregations.

7 Words of Francis de Sales in the Spiritual Directory “Those who wish to thrive and to advance in the way of Our Lord should, at the beginning of each of their actions, both interior and exterior, ask for His grace and offer to His divine goodness all the good they will do. In this way, they will be prepared with peace and serenity all the pain and suffering they will encounter as coming from the fatherly hand of our good God and Savior whose most holy purpose is to have them merit by such means so as to reward them afterwards with the abundance of His love.”

8 “They should not neglect this practice in matters which are small and seemingly insignificant, not even if they are engaged in those things which are agreeable and in complete conformity with their own will and needs such as eating, drinking, resting, recreation and similar actions; by following the advice of the Apostle, everything they do will be done in God’s name, to please him alone.”

9 Simplicity You don’t need to be in a church and you don’t need any rituals You just need to pause for an instant before starting the action, and offer it to God as gift. The Direction of Intention can be something as simple as, “My God, this is for you. I give it with love.”

10 NOTHING IS TOO TRIVIAL Anything can be given as gift to our Lord. – Doing the laundry – Writing a birthday card – Taking a shower – Walking the dog Each becomes a spiritual gift, a prayer, an act of love. This pearl shows how Salesian Spirituality leads to love of God, love of self, love of others and love of creation.

11 Some Reflections Three benefits of the Direction of Intention – If there is some pain or difficulty in the action, somehow it is received with greater peace because we paused before the action to turn it over to God as gift and to ask for His help. – By the same token, if there is special pleasure in the action, that pleasure itself becomes holy because you took time to life the action to God. – Your prayer life is deepened because of these little connections with God woven through your day. A short prayer, a glance, is all that is needed to take the simplest action and bring it to God.

12 GOOD STUFF!!! It is a tiny spiritual action (making a Direction of Intention) that can produce monumental spiritual benefits.

13 WARNING! It takes time to form the habit of remembering to make the Direction of Intention before beginning an action. For some, it takes a very long time. One can easily give up, but please don’t give in to the temptation to give up.

14 Solution As for the help of the Holy Spirit. Start with small, baby steps. Promise to make the Direction of Intention for three or four of those actions you do routinely each day. Practice this for several days or weeks until you find yourself naturally making a Direction of Intention for each of them. Then add a few more until one day you discover that you involve God and a desire to please Him in each of your actions, that you are living each day with love and prayerfulness.

15 Please write this out word for word. My God, Give me Your grace. I offer you all the good that I will do in this action, And all the difficulty found in it. Trusting You and Your abundant love. Amen.


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