Through God’s Grace, we had 11 previous instructions on the critical need to embrace mental prayer, or daily, intimate prayer for the rest of our life. This last session will help solidify what we must take away and make a habit through Grace. I would be most grateful if you would share candidly what has helped you and what you still struggle with, so we can help each other and build one another up on this Journey of the poor blind ones who must lead each other by sharing Grace and praying for one another. We are siblings in the Family of the intimate friends of God, and we have that Gift only because we admit our complete inability to do anything without Him, and we have a desire to love Him and trust Him as much as we are able in this life, which means with His Own Love and His Own Trust!
This would be a great time to comment if you have never commented before, or if you have commented before, to share deeply your needs and struggles. We are all falling short of what we desire….this is why we are infants of Merciful Love! By sharing, we help each other see how alike we really are and how all is Grace! The following reminders are some of the most important spiritual realities we will ever learn, and which our sweet Lord through His Holy Spirit is pouring out on us through the Gift of knowledge. The Holy Spirit is sharing with us through guides He has raised up in the spiritual life like Father Jacques Philippe and Father Timothy Gallagher. This is knowledge, through the power of the Holy Spirit, which God the Father and God the Son so desire we come to possess right now, and then put into practice every single day:
— the vast majority of people do not engage in daily, intimate prayer, which God so desires and which must be entered into in order to progress in the life of Love for God…the spiritual life. Without it, we stop growing and regress. Many who start daily, intimate prayer stop, and they never return to mental prayer or pray only sporadically. Those who persist, by begging for this Grace, even though they may pray poorly, become the person God has called them to be from all eternity and they love God as He seeks to be loved. They fulfill their only purpose of Love.
–most who have good will and pray vocally, and are active in the Parish life or with the spiritual or corporate works of mercy, do not believe they can give God any more time.
These thoughts are from Satan. We all have more time being wasted on hobbies, TV, Internet, etc, which we could give to God. Everyone can find 15 more minutes a day to be in love with God and still perform their duties and take wholesome recreation when needed. It is a matter of asking God to rearrange our day and our priorities. Is there anyone to busy to eat or drink water? Mental prayer is the daily food and water of the soul!
–daily, intimate prayer is a Gift of God; it is not a set of techniques to be learned and mastered through human effort. However, we must learn the dispositions of humility, Faith, perseverance, purity of intention and self giving in order to fully receive the Gift. Trust in God’s Grace and action within us is the necessary door through which we must enter by admitting our sinfulness and total inability to pray this way.
— St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila are recognized as the two master teachers, selected by God to help us receive this Gift. St. John of the Cross completely unmasks our pride and self love, especially for all those who like me who think we are doing so many great things for God because we labor every day for souls in His Vineyard, but previously without mental prayer. Emblazon this Truth in your mind forever from St. John of the Cross: “Let those who are taken up with activity, who imagine they can move the world by their preaching and their external works, reflect here for a moment; they would easily understand that they would be much more useful to the Church, and more pleasing to the Lord, not to mention the good example they would set around them, if they dedicated half the time to mental prayer, even though they may not be as advanced (in mental prayer)…If they did, they would accomplish a greater good by one such work, and with much less effort, than they now accomplish by the thousand works they (now) spend their lives on. Mental prayer would obtain for them this Grace, and would obtain for them the spiritual strength which they need in order to produce such fruits.”
–mental prayer requires we confront our utter poverty and as St. Theresa of Avila teaches us it is founded completely on humility. Our pride makes this very distasteful to us. We always want to believe we bring something or can be something in prayer without total reliance on God. Mental prayer is nothing more than a daily exercise in loving God as He wills to be loved and as He teaches us.
–most people must start mental prayer with meditation, the process of reading and pondering on what God is saying to us in Scripture, especially the Gospels, since the life of Christ our perfect model has much to teach us. St. Frances de Sales and St. Ignatius of Loyola are the two preeminent teachers of meditation for lay people.
— two of the very best aides in learning the dispositions necessary for the Gift of daily, intimate prayer are “Time for God” by Father Jacques Philippe and “Mediation and Contemplation” by Father Timothy Gallagher. There are many other wonderful books, but these two are easily understandable for all and cover all the necessary, critical ideas.
–in the end, will we make the effort and correspond to the Grace which God is pouring out, or we will let our self love, bad habits and routine win out? There is one fool proof way to succeed: our Mother of Divine Mercy… The Mediatrix of all Grace, especially the uniquely powerful Grace of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Trust in God obtains all things….and trust through God’s own Mother can not fail! “Never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection was left unaided.” This is God’s own Promise…”Son, Daughter, behold your Mother”! She then obtains the Grace so we can do “whatever He tells us to do” including daily, intimate prayer every day for the rest of our life!