Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Affective prayer

"We have already indicated that the real essence of the prayer of meditation consists in the affections of the will or the longings of the soul, which bring it into close touch with God, or in the acts of generosity proposed by the soul. We have stated that in order that we may be really practicing prayer we should even from the beginning elicit these affections as much as possible. As soon as the considerations enable us to elicit affections, we must no longer be occupied with considerations, and must only return to them when it is necessary to renew the strength of the will to elicit affections. It follows that when it becomes unnecessary to make any considerations, and affections can be made from the beginning of the prayer, we should give ourselves wholly to affections. When prayer is made thus, it is known as affective prayer.

It may be well to mention here that it does not necessarily follow that once a person begins to practice affective prayer he should never go back to meditation again. This would be a serious mistake. Whenever we find it helpful to utilize our intellect we must not hesitate to do so. In every stage of prayer a person should go back to previous stages when he finds it profitable to do so. The various stages of prayer must rather be regarded as a classification of degrees of superiority from an objective point of view, and there is no reason, why a person may not mingle various stages even in the one hour-hour of mental prayer. Moreover, while on the one hand no one should be hasty in advancing, but should as far it is given him by natural capacity and the grace of God practice as deeply as possible the lower stages of prayer; on the other hand he should be careful not to delay over these lower stages when it is no longer profitable to do so.

Affective prayer is a very important stage in the religious life. It helps consolidate the virtues and deepens the spirit of love in the heart. Aspirations made to permeate and sink into the soul must lead to close union with God. If they spring from the heart as it were naturally, they will be a very considerable help to recollection. What can better assist us to recall the presence of God, to keep constantly in mind that He is our loving Friend and that we are His children, that to repeat frequently during the day of affections with which we have been engaged during our mental prayer?

Our Holy Mother the Church shows her desire to cultivate this spirit among the faithful by attaching rich indulgences to so many of those aspirations. It is true that the use of these aspirations does not constitute mental prayer except we make them spring from our deep convictions and the feelings of our hearts, but we shall utilize them thus if we have acquired the spirit of mental prayer."

-- Way of Perfection for the Laity by Fr Kevin, ocd

1 comment:

HopefulBride said...

Interesting where the excerpt comes from, it reminded of St. Teresa's writings in the way of perfection. Thank you for sharing.