In mental prayer, the soul is purified from its sins, nourished with charity, confirmed in faith, and strengthened in hope; the mind expands, the affectiond dilate, the heart is purified, truth becomes evident; temptation is conquered, sadness dispelled; the senses are renovated; the drooping powers revive; tepidity ceases; the rust of vices disappears. Out of mental prayer issue forth, like living sparks, thode desires of heaven which the soul conceives when inflamed with the fire of divine love. Sublime is the excellence of mental prayer, great are its privileges; to mental prayer heaven is opened; to mental prayer heavenly secrets are manifested and the ear of God is ever attentive.
Saint Peter of Alcantara
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.
I felt the truth of Saint Augustine’s words when he says, “Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in you”; in fact, foolish is he who pursues the joys of the world, because these are always fleeting and cause pain, wheeas the one true joy is that which faith gives us, and our beloved companions particularly by the bond always stay united [to us and each another] even if life’s contingencies hurl us very far from each other.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901–1925)
[The theologian] Richard of Saint Victor says: “I receive Christ not alone on the Cross, but also in His Transfiguration on Mount Tabor…” That is to say, in all our distresses, in all our painful inward destitution, we may boldly believe that Christ is present with us.
Johannes Tauler OP (1300–1361)
Personal experience of God is the only [experience] capable of opposing the materialism present in our life. It gives to us the firmness of a rock in this world where faith is, simultaneously, attacked in its philosophical bases and held captive by ambient immorality.
Tomás Morales Pérez SJ (1908–1994)