I. A Conversation of Love
(Little Catechism of the Life of Prayer,
"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)
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,
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