Victim of Love

The thoughts and prayers of a soul who deeply desires to Love God as He Himself desires to be Loved.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Method of Prayer

Yesterday at our monthly Carmelite meeting our instructor spoke to us about the seven steps of mental prayer. I will post them here along with a few quotes from Saint Teresa of Avila:

1 - Preparation
The preparation serves to bring us close to Our Lord; to place ourselves in the presence of God with lively faith and humble attitudes of a soul that knows itself to be a child of God
"I say that how they are to begin is very important - in fact, all important. They must have a great and very resolute determination to perservere until reaching the end..." ~ St. Teresa of Avila

2 - Reading or Study a Picture of Christ
Serves to provide a subject for loving conversation with our Lord.
Spiritual books can lead us to a deeper knowledge and love for Christ. At the top of the list is Holy Scripture, especially the Four Gospels. You can also choose from the numerous and enlightening documents of the Church: encyclicals, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, etc...
Anything by the Saints, esp. the Doctors of the Church (with 33 of them you have ample material for a whole lifetime)
Pictures of the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord, Our Lady, the Saints, Icons can help us focus on the mysteries of our faith.
A book is read for a few minutes - perhaps five or ten minutes, or only two or three if that be sufficient. A few paragraphs or even a couple of sentences may serve the purpose. This reading is to be done slowly and attentively - not with the rapidity customary in other forms of reading.

3 - Meditation
Reflect upon the material, ask oneself questions: who, what, why, for what reason? Use the imagination. We do this to better understand God's infinite Love for us and respond to Him with our own Love. If we are distracted we should just say no to the distraction when we realize what has happened, come back to our meditation and use the book at hand if needed by reading a few more lines...

4 - Loving Colloquy
This is intimate conversation with Our Lord. It is the most important part of prayer. During this time the soul talks directly to Christ as a friend would speak to a most beloved friend. Speak slowly and in your own words. You need not say much and if you have nothing at all to say, just look lovingly at Christ. Once there was a poor peasant who was seen entering the church after work every evening. He was known to stay there for quite a long time. His parish priest approached him and asked what he did during this time in the church and he replied, "I look at Jesus and He looks at me." What a sublime prayer! If this is all we do then we are doing very much indeed. Most of the time I sit with Jesus and every few minutes I tell Him how much I love Him and how I long for Him to be loved by everyone...
"Those who by such a method can enclose themselves within this little heaven of our soul, where the Maker of heaven and earth is present, and grow accustomed to refusing to be where the exterior senses have gone... they are following an excellent path and will not fail to drink water from the fount..." ~ St. Teresa of Avila

5 - Thanksgiving
Thank God for his many blessings, temporal and spiritual

6 - Offering
I give myself to you, O Lord, that your most Holy and Perfect Will may be accomplished in me

7 - Petition
We pray for the needs of others, especially salvation and sanctification, for the whole people of God, for all the world
We pray for or own needs and desires

"More is given than is asked for, beyond what we could desire." ~ St. Teresa of Avila

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