“It is with the ear of our hearts that we listen. We allow God’s work to sink into our hearts. We come into his presence in an attitude of reverence and docility in order to hear his word in our hearts. We come as we are, in thanksgiving, in praise, in sorrow or in pain.
Prayer makes us sensitive to the needs of others and docile to the Word of God.
In prayer we come to know ourselves very well. Our faults and failings, our weaknesses, the dark deeds we ourselves are capable of, and it makes us ready to empathise and sympathise with our brothers and sisters who come to us for prayers. Listening in prayer tunes us to listen to those who come to us to pray for them. We make their prayers our own and bring them to the Lord.
The Eucharist is the climax of our prayer. It is the great prayer of Jesus to his Father. His supreme sacrifice. When he tells us ‘Do this in memory of me’ he doesn’t just mean consecrate the bread and wine, he means us to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters just as he has done. That is, we must love them as he has loved them. Then we can come and offer our gift at the altar. We gather all our prayers and needs into the eucharist. We come into the presence of the God who loves us, we confess our sins and ask pardon we praise him and hear his word. We express all our needs and prayers, we offer our gifts, fruits of the earth and work of our hands. We enter into the great prayer of Jesus. We are united with him as he offers himself to the Father. Jesus to whom we have listened, to whom we have prayed, now becomes truly alive, flesh, blood, soul and divinity and gives himself to us. He invites us to communion with him. The Mass is ended, we are sent out to love and serve the Lord. We serve him by serving our brothers and sisters. Our lives centre on the eucharist, the living Jesus, whom we carry with us throughout the day. The Eucharist becomes fruitful for us by the way we share it throughout the day.
The privilege and gift which prayer and eucharist are, demand that we share them with each other in a life of service.”-- Eucharist and Contemplation an essay by Sr Teresa Whelan, ocd in Hidden Riches- The Eucharist in the Carmelite Tradition edited by Eltin Griffin, OCarm