The vocation of Prayer, a determining resource

Years previously, as a beginner in religious life, I had a very intense experience of the sensible graces of prayer….However, using the words ”sweetness” or “feeling” did not describe or characterize my prayer—only the awareness of His presence.  As mentioned above, my prayer was ever dryer, simpler.  The grace of prayer seems to have been, as it still is, an ever-deepening awareness and conviction of His presence, not merely as an intellectual conviction but an awareness deep within—very dry, very uneventful on the natural level, very captivating on the spiritual level, while not redounding to the feeling level.  It is also a type of prayer very characteristic of monastic life.

Pere Poulain, following Bishop Bossuet, writes of a state of “spiritual binding” which he calls, “ligature”—a condition of the binding or suspension of the faculties concerning one’s interior life, especially during prayer….All too many souls given to prayer are not sufficiently instructed in this manner.  If the soul can kneel or sit in the presence of Jesus enjoying this contemplative prayer of simplicity, the soul should be encouraged to remain in this prayer.  All the great authors on prayer, from Origen to Evagrius Pontus, all the way to Saint Teresa of Avila, tell us that prayer is the lifting of the heart and mind to God.  When the souls sits in silent prayer and great simplicity with mind and heart lifted up to God, it experiences its own form of contemplation, however ordinary it may otherwise appear.

I have always held the conviction that persevering in prayer will be my salvation, my sanctification and my success—whatever that will be.  It will be the source of my apostolate, whatever form that will take.  It will see me through whatever crosses that may come my way.  –Abbot William ‘A Calling: an Autobiography and the Founding of the Maronite Monks of Adoration’.


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