How We Learn Mental Prayer by Praying and Listening

As we draw closer to God and if we desire to continue the journey to love Him to the maximum point of union God has ordained for all of us, we must spend time every day in mental prayer in addition to our Rosary and other vocal prayer.  Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene in “Divine Intimacy” has magnificently summarized the great teachings of our Faith on every aspect of the spiritual life, especially how we master prayer and the interior life of union with God. While we now have an extraordinary Grace, the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is given by God through our Mother to propel us to the heights of union, we must still master the knowledge of how God wills us to pray mentally.

Fr. Gabriel has a charmastic gift of explaining these truths of God: “It makes no difference whether we attain union with God by means of meditation, or reading, or even by the slow, pious recitation of vocal prayer.  All these ways are good; the best for each one, however, will be that which will lead one more quickly to that end, that is to intimate converse with God. Once we reach the heart of prayer (intimate conversation with God), we must learn how to persevere in it.”

Fr. Gabriel teaches that virtually all of us will need a good book on the spiritual life or the Gospels in order to place ourselves in God’s presence and to realize how much God loves us, because  the whole purpose of our prayer is to enter into that Love and then return that Love.

The manner by which we enter into the colloquy or the intimate conversation with God will differ depending upon our personality and disposition…our maturation in the spiritual life and our openness to the Grace through the Cross.  He explains: “Sometimes, as soon as we are sufficiently convinced of God’s Love for us, we feel invited to express our gratitude, protesting that we want to be more generous in giving ourselves to Him; we beg His pardon for not having done so in the past…Of course, this means an intimate colloquy, wholly personal and spontaneous, without preoccupation with form or order (should spring)…from the superabundance of the heart. In this way, having interrupted the reading or the meditation which has aroused in us so many good thoughts (of God and His Love), we stop to have solitary converse with God, returning to the book or the reflection when we feel the need of seeking new reasons or of arousing new affections to maintain our colloquy with God.  Here is a a genuine colloquy, because not only does the soul speak,  but God often answers-not audibly of course, but by sending the soul Graces of light and love through which the soul will have a better understanding of the Divine ways, and (will) feel more eager to advance in them with generosity. It is well, therefore, not to make use of many words in the colloquy, but to stop often and listen interiorly in order to perceive the movements of Grace, which are really God’s answer.”

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