Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Should Prayer Follow a Pattern?

Prayer needs silence - not so much an absence of sounds, but an inner silence in which all worries and mental distraction are quelled and the soul finds a sense of peace. Also, if we are to do justice to prayer, it is better to follow a pattern or a discipline for praying, however we must guard against the pattern becoming routine, rigid , monotonous and meaningless.

Normally we should begin our prayer with an Act of Humility, for it is fitting that when about to converse with God,we should recall what we are.

After this Act of Humility, we should read a few lines from the Bible and meditate on them, then make a profound and prolonged act of faith in some fundamental truth or other: God: his perfections, his goodness, or Christ: the mysteries of his life, his passion, his glory, or again our Christian duties, our vocation - the duties of our state to be accomplished with ever greater holiness, our last end; and sin.

This gaze of faith on the truth and the goodness of God gives spontaneous rise to an Act of Hope. The soul desires beatitude,eternal life, the peace promised by the heavenly Father to those who follow Jesus Christ.

The Act of Hope, in its turn, disposes us to an Act of Charity. Our prayer for others is very often efficacious.

The souls in purgatory are waiting for our prayers.
We should also pray for hardened sinners and intercede for all who need our prayers. In this culminating point of prayer  the knowledge of faith, the love of  hope, and that of charity tend, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to fuse in a gaze of faithful and generous love,which is the beginning of contemplation.

 Gradually it introduces us into the intimacy of Christ, the intimacy of love. Nothing can better correct our defects of character, give us a lively desire to resemble him who said to us: "Learn from Me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your soul." Prayer thus made renders our hearts more and more like the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for one imitates, even without being aware of it, those whom one loves truly and deeply.