Sister Donna's Prayer of the Heart Series: Part 5 of 6

Part 5: Exploring Prayer of the Heart (Based on Chapter 30) Way of Perfection

…it may seem to anyone who doesn’t know about the matter that vocal prayer doesn’t go with contemplation; but I know that it does.  Pardon me, but I want to say this:  I know there are many persons who while praying vocally, as has already been mentioned, are raised by God to sublime contemplation [without their striving for anything or understanding how.  It’s because of this that I insist so much, daughters, upon your reciting vocal prayer well.] 

…and in her fiesty, no-nonsense way that we’ve come to love:

…those of you who are the enemies of contemplatives should not think that you are free from being a contemplative if you recite your vocal prayers as they should be recited, with a pure conscience. [And so I will speak of this again. Whoever doesn’t want to hear it may pass on.]  


8 thoughts on “Sister Donna's Prayer of the Heart Series: Part 5 of 6

  1. I can’t get this video to play, neither here nor at Sr. Donna’s YouTube site–says error, try again later — so, based on the text quoted, I just want to say that vocal prayer does indeed seem a door.. and/or a palette that paints one into the Sublime just beyond our sight. All the little children-saints who encountered God were not practiced contemplatives; their door to The sublime was opened by Him via their (pure-conscienced) vocal prayer alone, yes?

  2. The YouTubes do that to me quite often, Carol. Truly, try again later!

    Perhaps not vocal prayer alone, but often vocal prayer, yes, as Teresa says. And children – whew – so many are natural contemplatives, until the world makes them forget…

  3. I tried it again — I’ve tried everything every whichway, but I get the same message, “Go away–you have bad breath!” (well, something like that). All the other parts will play just fine.

    As for the children, yes. I think that is why I particularly love such as Jerome’s graphic of the little dove inside the Sacred Heart (“Sacred Heart Page” at the bottom right of his “Living Monstrance” blog). I don’t know why, exactly, but I’ve always felt a child would understand that graphic not only well, but perhaps best. I think I recall long, long ago feeling a love whose source I couldn’t fathom, and I believe I recall the first time it was rattled. It takes a lot of rattling before it becomes lowermost in one’s mind, but being called “bad” is likely the beginning of the loss.

  4. Ah, finally got it to work! Yes, she’s right-on in some how some folks think of vocal prayer as a more lowly form of prayer, and of course it’s not –depending on where the heart is. If one has submerged oneself into His hands — truly His will be done, amen — then indeed, Thy Kingdom has come, in us.

    Beautiful. Naturally, I have been one who at times wondered if vocal prayer were “lowly” in some negative way –was it more than just humility or limitedness? Well, how do we think the uneducated saints prayed, you know?

    I love this about going within in the prayer of the heart, and how praising Him or asking to do so, simply comes: “The soul’s one concern is to love God. Nor can it cease to love Him, because it knows Him.”

  5. Glad the video finally worked for you, Carol!

    I think it can be confusing for people – probably everyone goes through a period when, if they are experiencing infused prayer, they reject vocal prayer, or if not reject it outright, then just not devote time to it because they are being called to something else at that period in their lives. I think we all return to it naturally though, because it is such a huge part of our lives as Catholics. I think the important thing when we are engaged in vocal prayer is to be really, really present, and if we then receive infused prayer, not to fight it or insist on continuing the vocal prayer we were engaged in at that moment. But re your comment about how the “uneducated saints” prayed, I think I would differ with you there, because infused prayer, infused contemplation, is pure gift, and so there is no requirement to be educated about it in order to receive it. I think all the education around contemplative prayer is necessary and helpful for a couple of other reasons – to help people understand what’s going on in their prayerlives, and to make people aware that there is a universal call to contemplative prayer.

  6. Sorry..textually, I am rather unclear at times, unless I am angry — and I’m never angry here. I was thinking of/referring to literally uneducated saints, like Bernadette Soubirou and John (Francis) Bernadone (if not also the Magdalen) and how they weren’t big readers of methods and such (St. Francis by choice) and prayed simple vocal prayers — and yet, look what happened to each of them. I agree totally that folks need to hear about Infused prayer, to consider contemplative prayer. There is no way to flower that unique gift with which one can love Him more deeply, unless one hears that all of us are truly slated for this kind of beholding in eternity. (If that doesn’t clarify and uphold, just shoot me, or give me an apple fritter, or even 1/4 a fritter, and I will go away and behave myself, so to speak.)

  7. Oh my, yes– holy mortifying me. Truly, there is an entire half of a maple-frosted cream-filled doughnut petrifying under the front seat of my Flintstonemobile even as I write this. Since I live with aliens (“no thanks, too fattening” “nah, gives me heartburn” “ew, too sweet”), I am *ripening* it for the birds. Grandson would’ve accepted it in a heartbeat, but we’re trying to keep his ping-ponging off the walls down to a dull roar.

    And rather than Carol up your place every whichway, I’ll respond here to your directing me to old Honora’s earlier seeking about states of prayer–I’ll go have a look– and I thank you.

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