Sunday, June 28, 2009

Transforming prayer

"Carmelite prayer is an affair of the heart, but it is a transforming prayer: a prayer of the 'new heart' promised by the propherts: 'I will put my law within them, and I will write upon their hearts... A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you' (Jer 31:33; Ez 36:26). 'Prayer is the life of the new heart,' we are told in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2697). For Carmelites, this 'new heart' is the 'inner room' where Jesus invites his disciples to pray: 'When you pray, go into your room, shut the door and pray to your Father in secret' (Mt 6:6). Prayer means 'taking time frequently to be alone with [God],' Teresa [of Avila] tells us (Life 8:5). 'The only essential,' explains Edith Stein, 'is that one finds, first of all, a quiet corner in which one can communicate with God as though there were nothing else' (Self-portrait in Letters, p. 54). This prayer requires extended periods of time, as it did for Jesus., It also demands special conditions: silence, solitude, withdrawal into the secret oratory of a quiet heart."

-- The Carmelite Charism: Exploring the Biblical Roots by James McCaffrey, ocd

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