Sister Donna's Prayer of the Heart Series: Part 4 of 6

Part 4: Exploring Prayer of the Heart (Based on Chapter 29) Way of Perfection 

Chapter 29 continues with the prayer of recollection, and as Sr. Donna points out and as St. Teresa writes, “…this recollection is not a silence of the faculties; it is an enclosure of the faculties within the soul.”  St. Teresa is teaching us in this chapter “how vocal prayer should be recited well”, and that even if repetition is involved, “we should see and be present to the One with whom we speak without turning our backs on Him, for I don’t think speaking with God while thinking of a thousand other vanities would amount to anything else but turning our backs on Him.”

Our holy desires and our wills are very active and important in this prayer of recollection, for it is not infused prayer.  St. Teresa is teaching us here of how to “disengage ourselves from everything so as to approach God interiorly and even in the midst of occupations withdraw within ourselves.”  This is something we can “desire and achieve ourselves with the help of God”, and she writes words of encouragement, knowing that in the midst of our busy days and exterior distractions there may be times when we have to “force ourselves to be close to this Lord”, but that He will “understand us as if through sign language” and that “He is very fond of taking away our difficulty.”

For those who have difficulty recollecting themselves, St. Teresa recommends saying the Our Father even if “no more than once in an hour”, telling us that this is a manner of praying that the soul gets used to quickly, that “everything involves struggle before the habit is acquired” and that it involves “a gradual increase of self-control.”

2 thoughts on “Sister Donna's Prayer of the Heart Series: Part 4 of 6

  1. This is very helpful!

    Years ago, someone suggested praying the Lord’s Prayer very very slowly, but I was much too complicated for something so simple. Since then, I’ve found — like hardly being able to get past the first phrase of the Anima Christi, “Soul of Christ..” (dear God, am I daring to address the very soul of Christ..just exactly Who has given me this right??) — I can hardly get past the first two astounding words of the Lord’s Prayer!

    The intimacy of the invitation absolutely boggles the mind.

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