Since mental prayer brings our intellect to the light of God, and keeps our will exposed to the flames of divien love, there is nothing which can better dispel the darkness with which ignorance and error have obscured our intelligence, nor better purify our hearts from all our depraved affections. It is the water of benediction which should serve to wash away the iniquities of our souls, to refresh our hearts consumed by the thirst of our cupidity, and to nourish the first seeds which virtue has there planted, and which are good desires.
Saint Francis de Sales
Those who give up mental prayer I really pity. They serve God now at their own cost. It is not so with those who continue to practise mental prayer. This adorable master pays their expenses. In exchange for a little trouble, he gives them consolations which enable them to bear all crosses.
Saint Teresa of Jesus
This blog has been going for five years now. Hopefully in that time I’ve learned how to write better. (Some of the first posts are dreadful in terms of style.) In that time, I’ve met many people thanks to this blog, and I’m very glad for that. It is important to “go to heaven together with others,” as we learn from the documentation for the canonization of Saint John of the Cross, and the internet is no exception to this rule.
In the past five years, I’ve also expanded my horizons considerably and learned from a lot more saints, blesseds, and men and women of God. For this present, medium-length post, I want to go back to where I began for a moment and meditate on that. There are two quotes with which I started off this blog, and I think they are still highly relevant. They inspire and set a very robust framework.
is frequently the treasure of persons hidden in the world… souls who live by it in all simplicity, without visions, without miracles, but with such a flame of love for God and neighbour that good happens all around them without noise and without agitation.
And Father Lallemant says this:
Without contemplation we will never advance far toward virtue… we will never break free of our weaknesses and our imperfections. We will always be attached to the earth, and will never raise ourselves much above the sentiments of nature. We will never be able to offer a perfect service to God. But with contemplation we will do more in a month, for ourselves and for others, than we would have been able to do without it in ten years. It produces… acts of sublime love for God such as one can hardly ever accomplish without this gift… and finally, it perfects faith and all the virtues.
Contemplation on the muddy roads of this world is something that we need, but it is also something that the world needs in order to better realize both its own internal, historical ends and its supernatural, surpahistorical ends. Without contemplation, we just grind along. Things do not roll as they should. Hearts are rent. Vocies are cracked. The caverns into which God wishes to enter do not open up. But with contemplation – I mean the contemplation that we have on the road and not only the contemplation that is had in the cloister – God’s plans are efficacious, and the world opens up, in ways that may be visible but which also may pass unnoticed except for briefs glimpses, to the evangelical light that is trying to shine into every crevice of this twisted, but detailed, world.
Mental prayer is, in fact, the soul of the contemplative life. It is this exercise, which fertilizes, animates, and renders ten times more efficacious all our other means of attaining to union with God.
Vitalis Lehodey OCR (1857–1948)
How much, O my Master, would I like to stay with you in silence. But what I love more than anything is that your will should be done, and since for now you want me to live in the world, I submit to this with all my heart for love of you. I give you the cell of my heart to be for you another Bethany. Come rest with me, I love you so.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity