1 July 1954
It is very sad to hear that priests are teaching their spiritual children that when they pray they should make mental pictures of the Saviour or the Mother of God or some saint.
This way of praying is incorrect, even harmful. I know that some who prayed that way have damaged their minds and had to go to doctors for treatment.
I shall tell you briefly how to pray, on the basis of the wise Holy Fathers. The mind should be enclosed in the words of the prayer and attention should be focused on the upper part of the chest, for attentiveness is the soul of prayer. Attention should not be pressed upon the heart; if attention is focused on the chest, the heart will be in sympathy. When tender feeling and warmth of heart appear, do not think you have received something great. This is a natural result of concentration, but it is not demonic deception. All the same, the Lord in his grace gives some consolation to one who prays.
Try with all your might not to condemn anyone for anything. What you do not want done to you, do not do to others. And do not have enmity; otherwise prayer will not be implanted in your heart. "