Advancing in Grace Through Prayer

“Prayer, though it may be divided into vocal and mental, is in its essence one thing only—that is, the conversation of the soul with God. Cor ad cor loquitur. Mary seated at Our Lord’s feet, listening to the words which drop from His Divine lips, is the example of prayer to all time. True, we may converse with God in words put into our lips by Christ—as in the Our Father—or by the Church, or by the Saints; but in such prayers, unless we put our soul into them, uttering the words with attention and devotion, and thus, as it were, making them our own, they will be but a ‘vain repetition,’ against which Our Lord so emphatically warned His disciples.”

“A well-known ascetical writer has said that unless we practise mental prayer our vocal prayer will remain little more than words. Hence, he goes on to say, the importance of the hour or half-hour we give to meditation. ‘It is the hour in which the soul lives its true life. . . . It is the hour of its intensest discipline, when acts are produced which vibrate long afterwards through the hours of the day, through the spaces of life. It is the hour of speaking to God in His Holy of Holies, where the soul finds insight and strength and endurance. It is the hour of calm, when the thronging elements of a man’s personal life are ranged in order, and marshalled to obedience, so that the will may aim at one thing, and one thing alone. It is the hour of kindling of that precious fire—the fire of Divine love which must burn through every pulsation of life, or else life’s deeds can never be borne to the heavens, but must drop like leaves to wither on the earth. It is the hour . . . when the heart speaks to God, and what is of infinitely greater moment, when God speaks to the heart.'”

“Prayer, though it should in the first place be directed to our wants, to be pleasing to God, must not end there. Our Divine Saviour in a revelation to St. Gertrude told her how earnestly He desired that we should make intercession for all men.”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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