Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Huronian at Prayer

The Iroquoians had shown a great power of self-control even over their thoughts. This was not spontaneous, it was a matter of training. In their dances they taunted and insulted one another, and though they answered one another with counter insults, were never allowed to lose their tempers. They were schooled from childhood to hide their emotions and, more than that, to be able to swing their thoughts to what they wished to concentrate their attention on. Thus they would chant in their sufferings. Now they [the Huron Christians] began to make Christian ejaculations in the place of their chants and to think on God and on paradise.

Some of the Indians thus kept themselves in a constant state of prayer. René Tsondihouanne was asked by one of the Jesuits how many times a day he thought of God during a journey which he just taken. Only once, he replied very simply, but it was from morning to night. The Father asked him whether that conversation with God took place mentally. Not at all, he said. I find it better to speak to Him, and thus I am less easily distracted.

— Daniel Sargent, Catherine Tekakwitha, NY, 1936, pp. 129–130.