As prayer deepens within our being we enter into both an attitude of thanksgiving and adoration. It is in these stages our prayer development begins to seek union with God for these levels focus directly upon our God for His own sake and not for our own satisfaction.
When one seeks union with God we begin the journey by way of meditato (meditation), oratio (liturgical prayer), and contemplatio (active and infused contemplation). Many of the great mystical writers of our Catholic faith tradition speak of our relationship with God with these terms and it is at these stages where our personal communion with God begins for they are directly related to relationship. Union, which is the highest level of prayer can be understood as the “mystical marriage” and is open to all people and not just the Saints or mystics. All are invited to participate in the Divine life in a contemplative manner.
Next, there is the Prayer of Intercession. Jesus is the central intercessor for all of creation to be united with the Father. (Rom 8:34; 1John 2:1; 1 Tim 2:5-8) Intercession is prayer for someone other than ourselves. We look to the interest of others in prayer and we even with the grace of God, begin to pray for those who may have harmed us in anyway. In this type of prayer we seek God’s grace, forgiveness and mercy in someone else’s life beside our own. When we love we seek the good of the other. We want the best for that person. Our hearts go out to our loved ones. Love has a wonderful way of moving us beyond ourselves. We wish only to please the other and seek their happiness even sometimes to the point of sacrificing our own happiness. As God transforms our lives more and more as time goes on our hearts begin to reach out to those whom we don’t like or sometimes despise, seeking only for the good to come out in them. This is truly the working of grace in our lives. We experience this grace on a real and concrete level within the depths of our being. Many times when we look back we cannot comprehend how grace transforms and heals us but it does. (Phil. 2:4) and (Romans 12:14) In the prayer in intercession we realize that we are not alone in this world. That we all share in the love of God as His mystical body. Praying for each other helps us to become more self-less, to imitate Jesus who emptied Himself of His God-head to become a human person for the good of all His Father’s children. Since we are called to imitate Christ Jesus we too are called to empty the selfish part of ourselves for others in the world.
Have a blessed day.
Continuing the journey, we arrive at the types of prayer that are important. The first being, the Prayer of Petition. The prayer comes from a deep yearning for something we believe we need in our life. There are a number of Scriptural passages where the prayer of petition is mentioned. One has been chosen, Matthew chapter 21 verse 22. “You will receive all that you pray for, provided you have faith.” We express prayers vocally to God from the depth of our heart. They surface in our mind and we reflect upon the need as they spring up from within. On this level of prayer we learn that we belong to something higher than what our earth can give. We begin to search for God’s kingdom and at times we are not fully convinced we belong to that kingdom. But as the mercy and grace of God begins to pour into our lives we experience God’s presence and seek more deeply to know His will in our life. Our next session will be on the Prayer of Intercession. Have a blessed day.
In the beginning stages of our prayer relationship we seek to know all about our Divine Lord. We are awakened by the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding us on. There is such enthusiasm and wonder at the movements of God. We experience them concretely in our very being. We experience a certain sweetness, a fire burning in our deepest center. These are the promptings of the Holy Spirit. If some individuals do not experience these sensations that is fine too. What matters is that the relationship is developing and that you are experiencing in your life a movement of turning your life over to God. The main thing is you are here, that you are searching for the deeper meanings regarding your life and your relationships with those around you. That God is calling you by name, personally, to Himself. This is the calling that takes a response from you and look, you are here, with an open heart, embracing the One who guides you mysteriously. It is a beautiful process. Keep going. It’s worth it!
Have a most blessed day!
Preparing Our Hearts:
We try to prepare ourselves by watering the soil within our heart and cultivate the area of our deepest center by way of vocal prayer, by meditation, by lectio divina (which is slowly reading the Scriptures) where the Word of God is nourishing our inmost being. Perhaps some recite the Rosary and meditate upon the Divine Mysteries. In meditation, we use our cognitive processes, that is to say, our intellect, our imagination, where we reflect and process information. In meditation, we focus our entire self on the Word of God which is Jesus Himself coming to us.
Can you remember a time when you were dating someone you really cared about? Someone you might even have married? At the beginning of your relationship recall the passion and desire you had to be with that person. You continually sought opportunities to be with that person to get to know them more deeply. To find out all about them. It was a real delight to be with them as if you could not get enough of them. The sweetness of it was like a wonderful piece of chocolate. Hopefully over the years this seeking to know each other has been full and meaningful and now the relationship has become more of a communion with the other. It is the same with our love relationship with the Divine Bridegroom.
Have a blessed day.
Many of the mystcal writers of our faith tradition say that God has first found us and we are now responding to His invitation. Indeed, the Gospel does say that “You have not chosen Me, it is I who have chosen you.” God is the initiator of this love relationship and He leaves it up to us to then open our heart to Him, to the Holy Spirit. This call to relationship is universal and the seed is scattered, so to speak, on the entire land but not everyone responds with the same enthusiasm and determination. It is truly a mystery because this relationship seems to be somewhat invisible. We sit in silence. We seek to open our heart and our mind to the movements of the Holy Spirit. And we wait.
This is the beginning of a series of blogs written to help open up and deepen our understanding of our relationship with God and how we can grow closer to God.
What Prayer Is:
Thomas Merton, a Cistercian monk, once wrote “that at the deepest center of our prayer we will not find communication but communion.” Prayer is a mysterious communion with a hidden God. Yet, somehow in the very depths of our being we experience God. That God is with us, residing within us, guiding us, transforming us into His own likeness. Prayer is relationship and this relationship is based on love. This relationship of love takes nurturing and by this I mean opening one’s heart and mind in faith to the movements of our hidden God. It requires of us a dialogue between two, the human person and God. It requires free will and humbleness on our part. Each of us has the opportunity to say no to this communion with God. Jesus has a powerful parable about the seed which is His Word planted on different types of soil. The first soil is where the devil comes and quickly takes away the Word. I believe this can happen because one is not serious about seeking a committed life with God. Next there is soil on rocky ground, perhaps this one might be living to superfically. Then there is the seed among thorns, in which worldly concerns dominate one’s life. Finally, there is good soil where the Word takes root and flourishes. The life of prayer begins to grow in the good soil I believe because those who are seeking are seeking with enthusiasm and right intention.
End of the first in this series.
Peace and Goodness to each of you.
The Domestic Church is called the family. The nucleus of the family is the heart of the Church. The Church is made up of families. Each family is profoundly spiritual and at the heart of God. Each person within the family plays a significant role in the heart of the Church. Mom and dad work so hard to keep things together. Each child is such a special gift from God and is a light to the world. So mom’s and dad’s love your precious children. Children love your parents. You are the light of the world, you are the Domestic Church. Pray for each other, support one another. God’s peace is yours when each can strive hard to keep it together. Have a most blessed week.