(Little Catechism of the Life of Prayer,
"In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because
of their many words. Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you
ask Himů But when you pray, go to your inner
room, close the door, and pray to your Father
in secret. And your Father who sees in secret
will repay you." (Matthew 6.7,8,6)
The Language of Prayer
From the reflecting heart arise,
Loving responses to the word,
Which spontaneously surmise -
The soul's soliloquy is stirred.
With heartfelt words, simple and pure,
And convictions of faith and love,
From a heart molten and tender,
The soul speaks to the Lord above.
The words assist the soul to pray;
He knows all that the soul speaks of.
Words can ramble in disarray -
The best language is silent love.
Without the noise of human word,
The Spirit speaks with love and grace.
In loving silence, He is heard -
A colloquy held Face to face.
In prayer, colloquy is the core;
In silent love, graces outpour.
"You will find it very helpful if you can
get an image or a picture of this Lord --
one that you like -- not to wear round your
neck and never look at but to use regularly
whenever you talk to Him, and He will tell
you what to say. If words do not fail you
when you talk to people on earth, why should
they do so when you talk to God? Do not imagine
that they will -- I shall certainly not believe
that they have done so if you once form the
habit. For when you never have [conversation]
with a person he soon becomes a stranger
to you, and you forget how to talk to him;
and before long, even if he is a kinsman,
you feel as if you do not know him, for both
kinship and friendship lose their influence
when communication ceases." (St. Teresa of Jesus, Way of Perfection,
Holy Spirit, help me to respond to
with tender convictions, and to listen
You with the language of silent love.
(c) Paul Buis, 2007