A “Method” of Prayer for (Busy) Contemplatives

There is one “method” of contemplative prayer that I like very much.

To be strictly true, any method implies a discursive or measured use of our thoughts, our reason, and so on. So it’s better to say that it relates to meditation, not contemplation.

Brother CharlesBut as far as methods go, there’s one that throws itself straight at contemplation. I picked it up from Blessed Charles de Foucauld, who seems to have “invented” it. Brother Charles was a great reader of Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross. As much as he loved to meditate on the Gospels, he placed the right value on talking with Jesus, on contemplation, on love. He put that first. For Charles, all methods, all meditations, came second.

Blessed Charles’ method is like this.

  1. “Jesus, what do you want to say to me? … [listen] …”
  2. “This is what I want to say to you, Jesus: … [form thoughts] …”
  3. Gaze on the Beloved in silence.

So, you see, it is a “method”. But it’s really just a preparation to empty our heads – and get close enough to, and be open enough with, Jesus – to hold a contemplative gaze on him, to be with him, to enter into contemplative communion, to suffering things divine.

The best part is, it is brief. It requires little mental exertion. When we’re fatigued, it works just as well as when we’re of good body and mind. It can be practised on the street, on the bus, in the middle of a busy workload, in a short pause between tasks at work, at home, doing the dishes, during regular prayer – practically anywhere and practically any time. Why? Because, although it has a particular structure and thus relates in some way to meditation, its true heart and purpose is to thrown us back into contemplative silence.

I like this “method” very much.

3 thoughts on “A “Method” of Prayer for (Busy) Contemplatives

  1. Little Brother Ben, the silence of contemplation you refer to in this method is actually the active living, loving, relationship between our Beloved Brother and Lord Jesus and our hearts. Surely a method Jesus knew from His relationship with the Father in the Holy Spirit. Ask attentively and lovingly, listen and respond, gaze on the beloved in silence. This is the perfect “practice” of Lectio Divina, Little Brother Charles would have known so well from seven years as a Trappist monk.
    The beauty of it, is that it keep growing and so takes us deepr and deeper into the experience and realization of contemplative Love. We are so blessed to have the Indwelling Trinity teach us through our little brother what it means to be a contemplative in the mud and to love so perfectly.
    Thank you for this post! Once again it is a gift from the Trinity and the thirty plus years of Jesus who lived an oedinary life of Love which made everything He thought, said or did an act of sanctity.

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