I. A Conversation of Love
(Little Catechism of the Life of Prayer, 1.6-14, 2.1-6)

"So he said to Samuel, 'Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'' When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the Lord came and revealed His presence, calling out as before, 'Samuel, Samuel!' Samuel answered, 'Speak, for your servant is listening.' … Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, not permitting any word of His to be without effect." (1 Samuel 3.9,10,19)

Sharing Hearts

A gentle word, a soft caress,
A child rests on Father's knee;
Sharing their hearts, with tenderness,
In complete trust and purity.

This is the ideal mental prayer:
Sharing hearts spontaneously;
Out of a pure love, to declare
One's trust in His will completely.

So many things leave love obscure:
Seeking comfort or one's own gain;
Tainted by self, love is impure -
In hearts detached, pure love will reign.

The mind sets the heart's direction:
A rudder that steers the ship's course;
The subject of meditation
Sets the theme for the heart's discourse.

The path of mental prayer is learned;
The ways of God's love are discerned.

"You must know, daughters, that whether or no you are practicing mental prayer has nothing to do with keeping the lips closed. If, while I am speaking with God, I have a clear realization and full consciousness that I am doing so, and if this is more real to me than the words I am uttering, then I am combining mental and vocal prayer… When you approach God, then, try to think and realize Whom you are about to address and continue to do so while you are addressing Him… But do not, I beg you, address God while you are thinking of other things, for to do that is the result of not understanding what mental prayer is." (St. Teresa of Jesus, Way of Perfection, chapter 22)

Holy Spirit, guide me on the path of mental prayer; that I may approach the Lord with the loving confidence of a child trusting completely in His will. Amen.

(c) Paul Buis, 2007