Sunday, October 11, 2009

VII. Epilogue or Conclusion

"Finally, the meditation is concluded by calling to mind once more the truth or the conclusion which was the object of one's contemplation, and by renewing one's resolution to put it into practice. It is good to remind oneself of it now and then during the day, to make it the subject of prayer, or express it in the form of ejaculations. In this way prayer will be continuous and will constantly influence the soul.

This particular resolution will always be directed towards the complete renunciation of oneself and all created things, and towards perfect conformity with Christ. For this is the object towards which prayer must tend. It must create the likeness of Jesus in us. It should deliver us so completely to God that we have no other will than His, with the result that He can do with us whatever He wills. The soul which devotes itself to prayer does not do so in order to seek consolations in it, nor in order to receive favors. There must be no intention other than to give God what He expects of one, and to reproduce the life of Jesus Christ in oneself; that is to say, to live in God and to do all things as He did in the person of His Son Incarnate.

In her discussions of prayer, St Teresa considers only these parts: the preparation, reading, meditation, and contemplation with an affectionate colloquy. In this last she includes the thanksgiving and the petition, and concludes it with the resolution.

To summarize, this method of prayer has no other object than to furnish us with instructions on how best to succeed in that conversation with God which is prayer. It teaches us how to speak to God, to adhere to Him with an habitual act of love, and to reproduce in ourselves the life of Jesus for the glory of the Father. Beginners who wish to make progress in prayer must practise this method carefully. However, it is not so rigid that one cannot depart from it when the disposition of the soul or some other reason seems to make this necessary. One can therefore sometimes abridge it, or invert the order of the different parts which we have discussed. But the contemplation and the affectionate colloquy must always be kept, because they are the center towards which all the other parts of prayer are directed and around which they are grouped, either as preparation or conclusion."

-- The Spirit and Prayer of Carmel by Fr François Jamart, ocd

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