Thursday, April 03, 2008

A trackless place...

 Stream (6) Thinking about this oddly trackless place I find myself in just at the moment, it occurs to me that for all I, and so many other people, have written, there really isn't any such thing as a technique, or method, of prayer; still less is there such a thing as successful prayer. Real prayer is something God does with us, to us: he loves us, far beyond anything we might ordinarily understand as love. All we can do is be there, and all the methods and the disciplines, are simply ways of keeping us there, quiet, in the presence of God.

We must remember that prayer takes place at the deepest level of our person and escapes our direct cognition; therefore we can make no judgement about it. It is God's holy domain and we may not usurp it. We have to trust utterly to God... We must give up wanting assurances either from within or without...

...The Mass... is the supreme prayer, since it is the sacrament of Jesus' perfect prayer... Expressed in this sacrament is all that we mean by mystical prayer...

If we keep clearly before us the essence of prayer, if we truly want God, if we remain faithful to prayer and take the necessary trouble, there is nothing whatsoever to worry about, no matter how unsatisfactory our psychological experience of prayer. No guide is needed, for no one can teach us how to pray. All anyone can do for others is to bring them to the threshold of prayer but there, perforce, one must leave them. We cross the threshold of prayer in our unique solitariness. Above all, how we need to keep our eyes on Jesus!

Ruth Burrows OCD, Essence of Prayer pp. 6-7, 9, 32.

This is why, perhaps, I am so profoundly grateful for the Jesus Prayer. For me, it comes down to simply that, a means of coming before God with my eyes on Jesus, and with the pain of the broken on my heart. I need not worry myself as to the consequences, either to myself or to anyone else: Jesus is all in all, and I can never love anyone or anything as much as he does. I can trust him with my life, with my love, and with all the lives I love.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2.5-11

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