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A Meditation on Prayer


Prayer, then, is like the expression of our intimate life as children of God, like the out­come of our Divine sonship in Christ, the spontaneous blossoming of the gifts of the Holy Ghost. And that is why it is so vital and so fruitful.

The soul that gives itself re­gularly to prayer derives therefrom ineffable graces that transform it little by little to the image of Jesus, the Only Son of the heavenly Father. Says St. Theresa, “by which graces of choice, such as those God has given to me, enter into the soul, is prayer; once this door is closed, I do not know how He could grant them to us”. The soul, too, derives from prayer a joy resembling a foretaste of the blissful union of heaven, of that eternal heritage awaiting us. “Amen, I say to you“, says Christ Jesus, “if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you … that your joy may be full“. (Jn.16:24)  Such is mental prayer: a heart to heart communing between God and the soul; “a communing alone with God, so as to express our love to Him by Whom we know ourselves to be loved”. [St. Teresa, Life by herself, chap. VIII.)

And this communing of the child of God with his heavenly Father is accomplished under the action of the Holy Spirit. God promised by the prophet Zacharias, that, under the new covenant, He would pour out upon souls the spirit of grace and of prayers: “I will pour out upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of 8race and of prayers”. (Zech.12:10) This spirit is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of adoption, Whom God sends into the hearts of those whom He predestines to be His children in Christ Jesus.

The gifts which this Divine Spirit confers on our souls on the day of baptism, by the infusion of His grace, helps us in our relations with our Father in Heaven. The gift of fear fills us with reve­rence in presence of the Divine Majesty, the gift of piety harmonizes, with fear, the tenderness of a child towards a beloved father; the gift of knowledge places the truths of the natural order in a new light; the gift of understanding makes us penetrate into the hidden depths of the mysteries of faith; the gift of wisdom gives us the relish, the affective knowledge of revealed truths. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are very real dispo­sitions which we do not take enough into account. It is by these gifts that the Spirit, Who dwells in the soul of the baptized as in a temple, helps and guides us in our in­tercourse with the Heavenly Father: ‘The Spirit helpeth our infirmities … HIMSELF asketh for us with unspeakable groanings”. (Rom. 8:26) “The Holy Spirit is the very soul of our prayers; He inspires them and makes them always acceptable”. (Catech. of the Council of Trent, Part. IV)

Blessed Columba Marmion


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