I am not alone when I pray. The Holy Spirit is there to guide me. My friends, the saints whom I often turn to are there (St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Joseph, St. Thomas More, St. Jose Maria Escriva). Prayer is a solitary activity, but I’m not alone.
I learned this past year the importance of liturgy in my prayer life. While personal prayer is like pillow talk between God and I, active participation in the liturgy is prayer at a higher level. Praying through liturgy is transcendental. I am part of something greater than myself. It is the spiritual equivalent to the conjugal act between husband and wife — it’s happening between Christ and His Bride, the Church!
Communion at Mass is more profound than sex. Christ enters every member of His Bride, and His Body and Blood is absorbed into each member of her body, the Church. The very divinity of Our Lord seeks to enter each soul, to unite with each member of her body. This transforming union takes place to the extent that each member is holy.
That’s why I pray. That’s why I want to be holy. to be united with my beloved through the Church. I am nothing on my own, by I am everything when I am with God in the Church. Great sex with our spouse is only a shadow of the ecstasy we will experience in the transforming union with God.
Reading Fr. Thomas Dubay’s “Fire Within” has been the spiritual direction I needed. It’s not the same as having a real-life coach, but the book is a stop-gap until God connects me with one. Discursive meditation should lead me to simple contemplation. Increasing distraction should be normal. Feeling like I’m failing at prayer is also normal — although, I admit, I haven’t really experienced that aridness, yet. When I do feel dryness in prayer, I should persist. God doesn’t ask for us to “feel it” during prayer. He asks us to be faithful. I don’t have to feel like going out on a date with my wife. I just have to do it faithfully, regardless of my feeling at the moment.
When I finish “Fire Within,” I should refrain from jumping to the next book. I should instead put more time towards contemplation. I should use the Liturgy of the Hours as a springboard to lectio divina. I suspect the Office of Readings will be particularly fruitful.
Dear Holy Spirit, I do not know how to pray as I ought. I fear that I am not advancing in my prayer life. I seek to be united with you in the Most Holy Trinity. Show me, Most Holy Counselor, how to grow in contemplation. Help calm me if I fret. Remind me that the process takes time, that this kind of prayer is less about effort and more about fidelity.
Help me, dear Holy Spirit, to be more detached to the creations of this world. Reveal to me my hidden faults. Purify me. Burn away my imperfections so that the windows of my soul can shine your light without filter.
I love you, my Lord. Abide in me and help me abide in you. Amen.