Friday, September 10, 2010

The soul which advances in union with God is rendered more and more like God

"God is infinitely simple, and the soul, which advances in union with God, is rendered more and more like God in His simplicity. So we are not surprised that with a loving soul affective prayer becomes more and more simplified. In the beginning affective prayer may have much discursive prayer intermingled, 'My God, I love Thee because Thou hast given me the gift of faith, because Thou hast sent Thy Blessed Son to redeem me, because Thou art infinitely perfect in Thyself.' These prayers may be truly affective, springing from the heart more than from the intellect, and made with the most loving disposition. Yet the soul as she advances in love feels less and less the need for reasons and longs more and more to remain simply in love. The simple aspiration: 'My God, I love Thee,' suffices and the soul repeats it constantly, and is powerless at prayer to do anything else, or at least has no inclination to do so, or feels that she is profitably engaged only in praying thus.

Though the love of God is ordinarily the object of this prayer, it may be concerned with any truth of our holy faith or with any virtue. A person may have made long, deep reflections on all the truths connected with the beautiful character of our dear Saviour and may have so keen an appreciation of them that now he requires no more than the Holy Name of Jesus to hold him entranced, and he will repeat again and again that loving Name and make his whole prayer consist of It. We can speak in similar terms of the name of Mary.

We do not say that the whole time of prayer, the half-hour for example, can be thus spent, but an appreciable time can. Often there is an intermingling between his prayer and the prayer of obscure contemplation we describe later, and perhaps this may dispose of the difficulty of those who think that the simple prayer we have endeavoured to explain cannot be maintained without a more that ordinary help from God."

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

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