Sunday, January 22: "Lord teach us to pray - the heart to heart."
After seeing the struggle of prayer and commissioning in the presence of God, it is time to enter the second part of the prayer we call heart to heart.
So we are in our heart; We try to stay there to be listening to the Lord. It is true that our first instinct is to talk to Christ, while it is better to listen to it.
The Catechism reminds us that "prayer is silence, this"silent love". The words in prayer are not speeches but twigs that fuel the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the 'outside' man, the father tells us his word incarnate, suffering, dead and resurrected, and the filial spirit makes us participate in the prayer of Jesus." (CEC No. 2717)
The key word is "silence." We have already said, human lives too much on the surface itself. He should reread the great Bernanos:
"I think, I'm sure that a lot of men are never their being, their deep sincerity. They live on the surface of themselves, and the human soil is so rich that this thin layer is enough for a lean harvest, which gives the illusion of a true destiny... and the country priest of complete so his meeting with the notary of Arras: Finally, the eve of his death, I confessed him. What to say? It's not much, it would sometimes take in few words, a life of notary. "(Diary of a country priest).
So, dare to remain in our inner being.
We see the importance of inner silence: "silence makes available in the divine presence," silence must be a mystery of presence. But God does not speak in us with our words of the Earth. You don't hear voices; means it pure faith. More you listen to it and more we want silence to let him speak, said Isaac of Nineveh: "God led his servant in the desert to speak to his heart; but that only one who sticks to listening in silence, perceives the breath of the breeze when the Lord manifests himself. Initially, it takes effort to keep quiet, but if we are faithful to it, little by little, our silence develops something that draws us to more silence. »
This inner silence will allow us to enter into what men call the "spiritual prayer place" or "place of pure prayer, home where Christ lives." (Philadelphia Theolepte - small works).
As Dom Augustin Guillerand said in his spiritual writings: "the place of prayer is the soul and God who inhabits it.» In this Sanctuary reserved, new heaven and Kingdom of God, the solitude and silence should reign. God is alone with himself. The divine persons are not affected at this solitude: they constitute her. »
In the heart to heart, there are two excesses: activity and passivity.
Attention to the quietism, i.e. delete too early to go to God and other excess human resources: do not put silence in our spiritual life and so we continue to meditation, readings and this is how we do not hear Jesus deep in our souls.
The soul must stay in available to listen to God, to act in it, to follow on the railways where he wants to train him. Be in a position to wait for the coming of the Lord, in the silence leaving him talk to us: "we believe that God lives in us and then we give it so little freedom to act; We strive always to much to do, rather than let him do. "Silent hearts will find God in the privacy of contemplation.
St. John of the cross called "walk with darkness by love in faith." A Carthusian says the same thing: "you become still more nothing, so that love becomes always more while you.» Be nothing, especially in prayer, it's be much, is to be everything, because love then is what he wants
be in you. »
Installed in that silence, we are listening to God from a
passage of the Gospel, especially not too long; then you say: "Words sprung from your heart, which God loves highly", said Teresa of Avila (path XXVI, 6). The soul breaks the silence by delivering the depths of his being.
We alternate rests with the Exchange, according to the times or the State of the soul. "The Lord dislikes that we broke we head to much talk" (XXIX, 6) we often have the impression of the silence of God, but St. Therese to clarify: "do you think to shut up when we do not hear? Well it speaks to the heart, when we ask them wholeheartedly. "(XXIV, 5) Teresa is certain that the Lord never ceases to act in the soul who seeks him:"you will see, she said, that whatever it is, it does not manifest to you in many ways, insofar as we wish to see it; and so you can't want it manifest fully (path XXXIV, 12), because when we we have to receive, never failed to find a way to give, even without our knowledge. "(Path XXXV, 1).
"As soon as the Lord understands that a soul is his... never it keeps contact her in all ways and in all ways, as can one that is wisdom itself."
The answer from the Lord in the heart to heart of the prayer is done, not by words, but by his action to the depths of the soul. By the feelings that the Lord gives, as the happiness to be here, to suffer for him, to believe and to hope in him despite the contradiction of the facts; happy sense of limits and of being loved and forgiven. We return to this issue already raised in previous conferences: we thirst for God? We want to see him face to face? Are we researchers of God? What is our spiritual desire?
These moments produce in us a deepening, but also a true abandonment in the hands of God. He should know that the soul advances in his union with God, more spiritual life is simplified, and she tends to not be in a State of grace, of openness to the gift of the spirit in the silence that seems to sometimes so arid.
All the way I just described to you, if you are faithful to this time of prayer, can be simplified. Back to Teresa, you have the key to open the secret room of the soul; simply enter, the Lord is waiting for you. That's right, it takes time; do not get discouraged and there will be a time where you will hear the voice that speaks without words; you will be overwhelmed and filled with a fullness of presence, in "a peaceful tranquility and a sinking domestic", writes St. John of the cross in the living flame of love. (Verse 3)
This silence is an orientation of life; What is silence, you have understood, this isn't the absence of words, but this peace of mind who hears that the word echoing in the eternal silence.
Spiritual life must be unified; It must help to unify our life. It must be that our soul is not invaded by our passions, by pop-up links to studies, work of any kind. Then "the soul joins the beloved in a union of simplicity, purity of love and likeness. (St Jean of the cross, the rise of the Carmel II, 1) Prayer is contemplation, communication of silence and simplicity of God.
The soul moving in the desert, she is able to hear the word and plus she wants to sink into the solitude. When God enters into a soul, he made a desert: "Down here, the Word does resonate never than to call us to join through a new silence, in a deep desert" wrote the great theologian, Louis Bouyer.
Heart to heart is source of unification and peace. It is up to you to choose the duration; you will have to address the last step: the intercession.
Previously, try to remember a Word, an effort that the Lord asks you. As Teresa says: "at the beginning and at the end of the prayer, even if you reach a high contemplation, you always apply to finish, to a better understanding of yourself." (Path XXXIX, 5) This knowledge is a source of joy, because now I look with the eyes of the Lord.
"Intercede, asking for another is with a heart for God's mercy. At the time of the Church, the Christian intercession participates in Christ: it is the expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, one who prays does not seek its own interests, but the dream to others... "(CCC, no. 2635)
This prayer which concludes the prayer avoids inward, a kind of false spiritual comfort. Our prayer always extends to the universal.
Should not forget those who have asked you to pray for them; You undertook.
You finish off with an our father.
This is a beautiful way of Perfection; I borrow that phrase from one of the major texts of Teresa of Avila.
To get to live a such communion, our life has to be ordered: a rule of life with times of prayer, not to mention works of charity, and fixed duty of State, avoid all the sin, acquire virtues, order and its exterior, as his words, his actions make shines there a reflection of domestic provisions.
If you are faithful to this appointment, then you will have gained ease to collect you and you'll go faster in your hearts. Indeed you have to simplify the meeting. Certainly, you can imagine a scene of the Gospel, but the mere presence of God is enough, your intelligence will lose the taste of reasoning, meditations. More words, but the inner movements, the simple look of the soul, the peaceful rest in the Lord.
Silence and rest are attitudes of love; prayer is more than look at a truth and silence it produces. It is this rest to maintain by bringing the faculties to the object to be considered.
Prayer becomes contemplation: "simple gaze on the truth under the influence of love". The gift of self, humility, silence, solitude, contribute to the gifts of the spirit.
It is love that simplifies the look and fixed on the contemplated topic. It's the love that the soul knows the mystery of God; This is why any theologian must be a contemplative. And the fruit of contemplation is a development of love.
Don't worry, it takes time, and if you're there, you have entered into the fourth House! We will have the opportunity again to access past dwellings.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the simplicity of our prayer. I find that there are Christians who complicated methods and lack of freedom, keep always to the 'technical '!
I have proposed a way Carmelite; but there are other paths.
So you can make a very simple prayer. Make all your heart acts of faith, hope and charity.
The Act of faith as you did at the beginning of the prayer, you can develop it.
The Act of hope: my God, I hope in you. Despite my limitations, my wounds, you remain in me.
"If God is with us, who can be against us?... I'm sure that death life... or no creature can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus." (Rm 8, 31 and 38)
I am sure that God will not abandon me. I no longer fear nothing. Finally the Act of charity: Lord you created me to love you.
In these three acts, we can let the humility, confidence, adoration,
abandonment. With these three acts, I talk to God in truth and the result is a progress in the spiritual life.
The fruit of prayer is to look at real life in the face. I insist; This isn't a leak of this world, on the contrary! A deep look where you will find God at the bottom of the hearts. This is the faith. This true and living faith is like a taking possession of God. It becomes, it becomes the host loved by our soul and our soul, cleared things, no longer has to turn to him with a loving thought, to achieve this inwardness, that is in the sense that the faith allows me to take back.
Take time to meditate on the word of God: "God is love." You will find answer to all the doubts, consolation of all sentences. God gives himself completely; It's his being, his life, his joy.
The more we are weak and empty, more God finds us the capacity to receive. Also our love is especially to accommodate his bestowal of life. His love is at the bottom of everything, but it must be discovered. Through faith, the soul sees in man, and in all things, what God sees. She sees him in his spirit of love; She sees only this love that gives itself in all. It is also one of the fruits of prayer.
Believe that God loves us and he's here; He lives in our soul, it gives and life of God in us, it's our life in him.
Still delve us into prayer, in charity toward our brothers, into oblivion full of ourselves and trust in God who is only love unbounded.
How not to end with St. Elizabeth of the Trinity:
"Oh!" I love you, I love you more that any other person who is in this Valley, it's me coming, and I'll get the unknown joy... I'll get inside of you.
O my husband! I rested and put in you; now owns you and rest in me!
Love me! My life pleases me, as long as you love me!... I will make you to great things, I'll be known in you, glorified, clarified in you." (Let yourself be loved, 7)
May we so live our time of prayer. That our souls are the mansions of the Holy Trinity.
Born October 11, 1951, Patrick CHAMBERS is ordained a priest of the diocese of Paris in 1980 by cardinal François MARTY. Professor of french, latin and Greek from 1972 to 1975 and the institution of Holy Cross in Neuilly, or after his ordination, he became chaplain. He was appointed in September 1984 Director of the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice at Issy-les. Professor [...]