Sunday, September 16, 2007

Christ is in our Midst XLVII(letter 73)

" 73

11 October 1953

Christ is in our midst!

You like to spend time alone in the evening and have spiritual consolation. Yes, the night time helps one to concentrate. I too like that time. Complete stillness is all around, and in some special way you feel the closeness of the Lord.

You write that warmth appears when you pray. This is the way the Lord lets us sinners taste some kind of consolation so that we will not be discouraged in the work of prayer. When the warmth comes, one should stop and be with these feelings until they pass, but we should not strive for this ourselves. If you work diligently in prayer, then by God's mercy, warmth of heart will appear more often. But do not imagine that you have received something great. Try your best to keep it hidden from others. If any other things happen in prayer, write to me. "


Father John here advises his spiritual child that in the work of prayer, the reward should not be sought but that the work of prayer should be done in duty.

This, of course does not mean that prayer is strictly a duty or our only motivation should be duty. Father John, I am sure, here does not imply running to our Lord as to a fortress when we are harrowed and harassed with whatever vicissitudes we may be facing is not to be done. But rather, he speaks to his spiritual child here about her set times of prayer(we should all follow some kind of prayer rule), those times in the day set aside for praying to the Lord .

Here, in these set times I will be absent or full of feeling. This to some extent is not in my power to determine and that being so, feeling like praying is not the best determining factor to rely upon to get me to pray. I pray whether I feel like it or not.(Here I must interject that I, the writer, struggle with keeping the prayer rule I would like to. So when I said that last sentence, "I pray whether I feel like it or not" it is used to convey the duty or prescribing of prayer as a necessary spiritual exercise.)

Again, in reference to my parenthetical remark in the above paragraph I would like to mention that I also suffer lapses in prescribed prayer with which I am not comfortable. I hit these stretches where I hit every prayer time and then I am unable to do it for one reason or another, sometimes for weeks at a time. What I have noticed is that every time I return to regular prayer, I do find great warmth and consolation here and it is almost as if I needed to experience the dryness of irregular prayer to appreciate regular prayer.

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