While reflecting on this I came across these words from St Gemma:
Monday, August 18, around 9:00am
So what "food" did God receive from Gemma? Why was He so pleased with her so as to shower her with so many gifts and graces? Surely it was her love and her desire to please Him in all things, with humility and good intention.
One day, not long afterwards while the older children were at school, her youngest son told her that he "wanted to spend the whole day with her."
Full of joy with her sons intentions, she suggested that they go for a picnic together.
When they arrived in the picnic area, her son sat with her for a moment, then, seeing a butterfly off at a distance, he suddenly ran off, chasing the butterfly from flower to flower. The mother smiled as she watched him and thought to herself- "so much for spending the whole day with me!"
Immediately she heard interiorly "But do you love him any less?"
"Of course not!" she replied.
"You see, although he is distracted by the butterfly, his desire and intention is to spend the day with you, because he loves you. It is not the distractions, but the love and the intention that matters. And so it is with you and your prayers."
And here we have a great lesson. We will often be distracted in our prayers, but it is the desire, love and intention in our prayer life and devotion that matters to God.
I remember reading that during mealtimes and most other free time, St Padre Pio often kept one hand in his habit, fingering the beads while reciting the rosary, often even amidst his conversations in the refectory and elsewhere. Surely he must have been distracted while saying these prayers, but surely it was the loving intention and desire behind the prayers that pleased God.
At Fatima and in the lives of the Saints we are often urged to "pray the rosary". Yet, never is it said "pray the rosary well"...... it is always simply, "pray the rosary".
Surely we should try to say our prayers with as much contemplation and devotion as we can muster, but it seems that with God what matters most is the desire and intention, that is, the love by which we say them and by which we do all things.
"Lord, if you wish, you can save me; but the number of the sins I carry with me is great; it is infinite. Remember, oh Jesus, your mercy ... I hoped, oh Jesus, as I confessed so many times before you, to be self-sufficient in something; I hoped in my own strength ... But when I began to act on my own, that was when I fell and lost all you had allowed me to gain. But soon after, oh Jesus, you illuminated me, and then I understood that what I thought I could be self sufficient in was exactly what I never could have done on my own. I had the will but I lacked the strength; I had the strength then lacked the will." -St Gemma Galgani June 28, 1902