Ignite the Gift of Faith with the Gift of Contemplative Prayer
completely suspended. And it is by inarticulate groans that it tells God of its desire. Sometimes, finally, it is so swollen with a sorrowful tenderness that only tears give it consolation."
Older works of spirituality distinguished between acquired and infused contemplation. Acquired contemplation considered the personal human actions that the individual can do during prayer time. Infused contemplation was the name given to the moment when God takes over and all human intellectual activity ceases.
Modern authors no longer make this distinction. Contemplative prayer is seen as a gift of the Holy Spirit.
"And in this way one comes to the sacred emptiness and detachment from thinking which characterizes the mystical state. There may come a time when even the word Jesus is no longer necessary because a total unitive silence reigns in the heart; and here again one is in nakedness and darkness with no other light than that which burns in one's heart" (William Johnston, S.J., The Inner Eye of Love, p. 95).
There are two methods of prayer that prepares and predisposes us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer. The first, and most effective method is Centering Prayer and the second method is called Lectio Divina. Let us consider both methods next week.
In the meantime, let us continue our journey during this amazing Year of Faith. "With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started" (Hebrews 12: 1).
Father James Farfaglia, is a contributing writer for Catholic Online and author of Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Year of Faith, contemplative prayer, Catechism of the Catholic Church, faith
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