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Spirituality/How to Pray

Many of us have a desire to pray more deeply, but feel that the profound prayer of contemplation is beyond our possibilities and capabilities. Sr. Kathryn Hermes wants you to believe your heart when it asks for this deeper, more profound experience of prayer. Beginning Contemplative Prayer is a practical guide to contemplation. It invites the reader to “try on” various prayer practices, exploring the methods of Brother Lawrence, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola, Julian of Norwich, and others. Prayer exercises are offered throughout, and individual and group prayer guides are also included. “Kathryn Hermes, FSP, writes clearly and passionately of her topic: the passage from the chaos we too often experience, to the quiet of contemplation in which our hearts encounter God and find rest. Her tone throughout is warm and encouraging; her content is solidly rooted in the Catholic spiritual tradition. Readers will discover that beginning contemplative prayer is indeed possible. I warmly recommend this book.” — Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V. Author of Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Prayer with Scripture Kathryn James Hermes’ books include Surviving Depression, Making Peace with Yourself, and Saint Joseph: Help for Life’s Emergencies. A member of the Daughters of St. Paul, she has an M.T.S. from Weston Jesuit School of Theology and an advanced certificate in Scripture. Besides her work for the Pauline Book and Media Centers and in digital publishing, she is a spiritual companion and gives numerous presentations throughout the country. She lives in Massachusetts.

$12.95 U.S.


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“This is a very helpful introduction to prayer—practical, down-toearth, and enlightening. Sister Kathryn takes the reader on a tour of some of the great teachers of prayer in the Christian tradition and helps to make their teachings concrete and applicable to daily life in our world. She provides exercises in every chapter and a study guide that will help readers to help one another. I recommend the book highly.” William A. Barry, S.J. Author of Finding God in All Things

“Sister Hermes deftly teaches the reader how to apply the old teachings of the mystics to the new reality of our lives.” Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J. Author of Armchair Mystic: Easing into Contemplative Prayer

“As a vocation director, I have found this book to be an invaluable tool to help young women in discernment cultivate and enrich their prayer. It lays before us a rich sampling of the Church’s history and wisdom regarding prayer patterns and forms. I know several deacon formation programs that also use this book. No matter where we are in our own life of prayer, Beginning Contemplative Prayer can help us to ‘pray always and never lose heart’ (Lk 18:1).” Sr. Helena Raphael Burns, FSP Vocation Director, Chicago, Illinois

“Sr. Kathryn Hermes’s revised edition of Beginning Contemplative Prayer invites its readers to embark on a wonderful inner journey—a journey into the world of contemplative prayer. She skillfully introduces a wide variety of prayer forms through the teachings of some of the great mystics of the spiritual life. “Yet, the author makes it clear that while information is helpful, it will not of itself make of us ‘contemplative pray-ers.’We must begin by plunging into prayer ourselves. With this in mind, she offers numerous suggestions to help both the beginner and those who have long been faithful to prayer. “From her own life and prayer experiences, Sr. Kathryn offers suggestions about how to begin this journey into God and how to deal


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with distractions, confusion, fear, and other emotions that may surface. She also encourages the reader to learn from the experiences of the mystics how to live fully and consciously the present moment, for it is in the NOW that God is found. To all who are perhaps intimidated by this venture, she offers the reassurance that God is a gentle and loving God who desires only our good and who calls us into deeper and deeper intimacy.� Helene Cote, p.m. Spiritual and Retreat Director, Marie Joseph Spiritual Center, Biddeford, Maine


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 Sweetest Jesus and Christ, send ... the gentle dew of the Holy Spirit that I may wail and cry out the aches of my heart. Saint Mechtild of Magdeburg The Soul Afire




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Beginning Contemplative Prayer


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Beginning Contemplative Prayer Out of Chaos Into Quiet Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP

BOOKS & MEDIA Boston


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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hermes, Kathryn. Beginning contemplative prayer : out of chaos into quiet / Kathryn J. Hermes. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 167). ISBN 0-8198-1176-9 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Contemplation. I. Title. BV5091.C7H47 2009 248.3’4—dc22 2009031492

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Many manufacturers and sellers distinguish their products through the use of trademarks. Any trademark designations that appear in this book are used in good faith but are not authorized by, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners. Cover design by Rosana Usselmann Cover photo by Mary Emmanuel Alves, FSP All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. “P” and PAULINE are registered trademarks of the Daughters of St. Paul. Copyright © 2009, Daughters of St. Paul Published by Pauline Books & Media, 50 Saint Paul’s Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3491 Printed in the U.S.A. www.pauline.org Pauline Books & Media is the publishing house of the Daughters of St. Paul, an international congregation of women religious serving the Church with the communications media. 123456789

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Contents

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Part I

ENCOUNTER: THE RHYTHM BEGINS CHAPTER 1

Cultivate Stillness and Silence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 CHAPTER 2

Live Gently on the Earth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 CHAPTER 3

Invite God to Come Near . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 CHAPTER 4

Soak in Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 CHAPTER 5

Prepare to Ascend the Heights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28


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Part II

ENGAGEMENT: THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER CHAPTER 6

Remain in God’s Presence: Lessons from Brother Lawrence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 CHAPTER 7

Let the Spirit Direct You: Lessons from Saint Ignatius of Loyola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 CHAPTER 8

Experience the Longing to Touch God: Lessons from Lectio Divina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 CHAPTER 9

Simply Love Lessons from The Cloud of Unknowing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 CHAPTER 10

Prayer toward Union: Lessons from Saint Teresa of Avila . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 CHAPTER 11

Transformation in Christ: Lessons from the Life of Blessed James Alberione . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 CHAPTER 12

Wrapped in the Heart of God: Lessons from the Life of Simone Weil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 CHAPTER 13

The Courtesy of God: Lessons from the Life of Blessed Julian of Norwich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82


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Part III

COMMITMENT: THE TOTAL GIFT CHAPTER 14

Commit to Freedom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 CHAPTER 15

Commit to Life in the Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 CHAPTER 16

Commit to Reconciliation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 CHAPTER 17

Commit to Carrying Christ’s Cross . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 CHAPTER 18

Commit in the Dark Night . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111

Part IV

PERSEVERANCE: PRELUDE TO TRANSFORMATION CHAPTER 19

Keep Walking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 CHAPTER 20

Seek Spiritual Direction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 CHAPTER 21

Tell What You Have Seen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130


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APPENDIX A

Five-week Personal Plan for Growth in Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 APPENDIX B

To Hear the Whisper of Jesus: Guide for Personal or Group Study of Beginning Contemplative Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167


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Preface

Stretch! In these pages I seek to address the single most important question for the Christian today: How do I find God? When our souls are thirsty for the spiritual, how do we find the time to contemplate, and, more importantly, what do we do during that time? Does the ancient mystical tradition of the Church mean anything today in a world so quickly changing? What do we do when praying seems merely tacked on to our life? What happens when we have no time for contemplative prayer? What are the paths to inner peace when our hearts need healing? How do we hold on to a foundational experience of God’s self-revelation to us? Can we truly hear God speaking to us, calling us by name? Saint Paul says, “For to me, living is Christ...” (Phil 1:21). However, what was for Paul a dynamic force for change, a powerhouse of transformation, has been in our day too often tamed and comfortably stowed away in a closet. “Yes, I am Catholic,” people will say. “You’ll see me at Mass. I’ll comment on Church issues based on a secular newspaper article. I take my kids to CCD. Before Christmas we have an Advent wreath on the kitchen table.”

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At his birth the Son of God burst into history as a torrent of love to save us from sin and death, so that the whole universe would converge in the heart of the Trinitarian God—that heart which we now call our home. How could all of this have been reduced to an Advent wreath and comments on religious issues? What happened to the bold teaching of the apostle Paul? I have become Christ. I have become Christ for you, so you can see him, so you can hear him, so you can become Christ yourself. Grow! Stretch! Practice! Learn! Change! Mature!

Edges of Growth Since the original release of Beginning Contemplative Prayer, five things have deepened within me as a person and as a writer. First, due to the help of mentors and guides, I have a greater sensitivity to the power of affectivity and imagination that have helped me move from my head to my heart—often said to be the longest journey we travel in life. Second, through retreats in which directors have helped me transform my present by healing past hurts, I have learned a greater appreciation for the treasure of healing prayer. Third, I received an unexpected gift from God of being able to experience and share love in profound ways. Fourth, I have been given the immense privilege of accompanying others in the unfolding of their spiritual lives and have watched in wonder at how God, in slow motion, works so reverently in their lives. Finally, I have been reintroduced to Saint Teresa of Avila and discovered in her writings and life the vast horizons of deep intimacy with Jesus that she offers contemplative pray-ers. It goes without saying that each of these edges of growth is reflected in this revised edition of Beginning Contemplative Prayer. Three new chapters have been added, and the emphasis throughout has been deepened and shifted from the surface toward the core. New material has been worked into the text, including


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material on healing, reconciliation, experiencing the love of God and our own loveableness, the prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila, the inflow of God and ways to remove blocks to God’s gift of himself, as well as how to deal with the inner rumblings of emotions, thoughts, and hurts during prayer. I’ve also added endnotes as springboards for further reflection and resources for exploration in spirituality as you move from beginning contemplative prayer to proficiency. At the end of the book there is a five-week personal prayer guide and a guide for those who wish to use Beginning Contemplative Prayer in a group setting. I want to personally thank my community, not only for bringing this book back into print, but most especially for teaching me how to pray, for communicating to me a rhythm of prayer and a desire for seeing the face of God in the face of my brothers and sisters and communicating to them the absolute certainty of his love. In particular, I want to thank Sister Germana Santos, FSP; Sister Thomas Halpin, FSP; and Sister Virginia Helen Richards, FSP. I owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have let me walk beside them for a bit of their journey, for they have been my best teachers. I am grateful also to those who have commented on the manuscript and offered valuable insight, in particular Mary Kay Denman and members of the adult spiritual formation program of her parish that met in the fall of 2008. Working with Sister Mary Lea Hill, FSP, from the editorial department, has been a grace for me as I incorporated her insights and with her help gave final form to these pages. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, I owe my love for prayer to my parents, who taught me how to pray when I was a child and who fostered my love for God and my religious vocation.


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Introduction

As Catholics, we have a long-kept secret that many yearn to know. This secret is the depth and richness of our spirituality. Our religious history is charged with mysticism and passion, marked by spiritual journeys and pilgrimages, ignited by worship and prayer. Spirituality has to do with our deepest needs, anxieties, joys, hopes, and fears, our values and dreams. It is a part of our daily life and propels us to rise above the daily grind. It fuels our work, our relationships, our prayer, pushing us to live with greater meaning and intensity. Spirituality takes us as we are and connects us to God as God is. Many Catholics, thirsting for an authentic experience of God and deeper meaning in life, are unaware of this mystical tradition. Often those who minister in the Church are themselves too busy to support others in their search for spiritual direction. Great numbers of individuals look East1 for healing and spirituality, hoping for a deeper religious experience, inner peace, and a sense of personal well-being, but that seeking betrays hearts that long for more. The world in which we live is full of images and speed, of technology and hurry, of noise and exhaustion. We are saturated with the endless relationships maintained through e-mail, instant messaging, social networking, text messaging. Intimacy is a click 1


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away in a virtual world. Information is at our fingertips. E-mails demand immediate responses. We download our music and upload personal videos. We join social networks online and do our banking from the comfort of our living room. The extra time we have is crowded with the growing number of pressing things that clamor for our attention. Information about more possibilities creates more potential things to do. Almost half of all adults feel they have too much to do. The world of images stimulates and numbs us. We find our thoughts and desires shaped by what we’ve seen and heard, rather than from deep within ourselves. We feel poor. We fear being shallow. We worry whether or not our life has meaning.Yet nothing seems to stifle the urgent thirst of the spirit! Somehow we have a vague memory that Love lies at the bottom of our hearts, though we’ve lost the road to get there. We crave the silence and solitude that would return us to ourselves. We long to know that God cares about us, that we are not left alone, that there is sense in the mystery and safety in embarking on this divine journey.

Finding the Path One woman in the Bible found the path to the sacred in the midst of an everyday visit to a well. There she met someone who told her everything she had ever done, yet loved her just the same. She was one of the hated Samaritans; he was the Messiah. She had her place, her image, her label, and her guilt. He aroused her desires and transformed her dreams. The story of the Samaritan woman (see Jn 4:7–15) is a perfect introduction to a book on contemplation. In this woman’s experience the rhythm of contemplation unfolds: encounter, engagement, commitment, and perseverance. The woman in the Gospel story introduces her fellow townspeople to this man, saying: “He told me all I ever did.” They


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come and listen to what Jesus has to say: some out of curiosity, others with a secret hope, others just to make sure they aren’t missing out on something. They are won over by Jesus’ words and love. They tell the Samaritan woman they no longer need to rely on her word about the Teacher; they have met Jesus. The introduction has led them to engagement, then to commitment: they believe in the Messiah and their lives are changed. Almost everyone has had some sort of transcendent experience. The Lord has met us at the wells of our everyday lives. Sometimes we have even listened to him and recognized that loving him will entail commitment. Maybe we have embraced that commitment.

How? What? When? Where? Why? This book is meant to take you from wherever you are and show you what God desires you to be. Contemplation is a big word for an even bigger task: transformation. The mystics would have us understand human life as process, an ever-deepening awareness of our personhood until we discover ourselves woven into the body of Christ within the fabric of the Christian community. Contemplative resting in prayer gives us the time and space to see God’s way of being. In contemplation we engage that way of being. Gradually we incarnate God’s way of being in our daily living. The desire to grow as a Christian is enough. Then, simply and serenely, we put into place contemplative practices. Let God do the rest. You will be surprised by this divine Lover. I want to offer a few words of advice I have found useful: Read the material as it is presented. Even if you are someone— as I am—who skips around through books, come back at some point and read it through in order. Why? Because the chapters, though they address specific concrete issues regarding the spiri-


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tual life and prayer, also lay out the classical progress of a soul in its growth in holiness and union with God. Try things on for size. There are a lot of prayer exercises throughout the book. Give them a try ... not a curious try, but a serious try. Mark with a pencil those that are more meaningful or bring greater peace, and come back to them. More recommendations in this regard are offered throughout the book. Journal. We keep scrapbooks, photo albums, and hundreds of pictures on digital cameras and cell phones. This is an excellent practice to carry over to your life in Christ. Take “snapshots” of the moments when God comes to you in particularly powerful ways. These remembrances can be in words or images or art. When you start a time of prayer, a useful practice is to return to one of these moments and relive it, for you’ll find it will still nourish you even years later. Practice. Practice. Practice. You will learn to pray or grow in prayer not by reading about it, but by praying. It is a time-tested ascetic truth: we learn to pray by praying. After you’ve worked through the book, Appendix A offers a guide to developing a personal prayer plan to grow in a contemplative spirit. Share your faith. As Christians we live in community. Find an individual or a group with whom to share your path to a more contemplative prayer. Work through the book with others or share your personal work with a spiritual director. Don’t stop. Keep going. The endnotes offer questions for consideration, stories, or comments that are directly related to the development of the topic. They also offer additional resources on the topic being discussed, a type of annotated bibliography. Beginning Contemplative Prayer is meant to be a diving board. In the sea of contemplative spirituality there are masters able to lead you on the road to God, a road that will become more certain to you through these pages.


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Part I

ENCOUNTER: THE RHYTHM BEGINS

“Where, how, and toward what goal does this humanity walk which constantly renews itself on the face of the earth?” BLESSED JAMES ALBERIONE

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he couldn’t slow down enough to think. Even when she visited the eucharistic adoration chapel at the church, her PDA was in her hands, ensuring she was making the best use of her time. She had come for an hour, but after thirty-five minutes she couldn’t keep herself there. She knew God would understand... And I’m sure he did. But she was shortchanging herself. There was a time not too long ago when people lived by the rhythms of nature. These seemingly endless, fairly predictable cosmic rhythms corresponded integrally to our own rhythms of birth and death, of joy and sorrow, of healing and pain. Our forefathers were up at dawn and finished work by dusk. The long hours of the evening were spent narrating stories and recounting family histories. The ancient rhythms of nature determined the rhythm of life. Today we have become people who respond instead to the rhythms created by electronic technology. The daily commute for some starts well before dawn and finishes long after dusk. Electricity means we can keep working until ... well, until we drop into bed or nod off to sleep, whichever comes first. We listen to music and podcasts on MP3 players, and our minds rarely have the luxury of white space. We post on virtual walls, share pictures, update blogs, and engage in any number of other social networking activities that let others know our thoughts or feelings or the events in our lives. Cell phones mean friends and colleagues are a call away, anywhere, anytime. Instant communication means we can constantly be in motion, scheduling, planning, changing plans. Work can be carried on 24/7 from any location. Walk down the street or sit in the airport, and you’ll

S

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find almost everyone is talking to someone. As we become unaccustomed to silence, remembering and observing, these new rhythms carry us along. And so, Christians today have a unique challenge to create a harmony between their personal rhythm of encounter with God and today’s communication expectations. Contemplative living needs to happen in the here and now of our existence, not in the world as it existed fifty years ago, or twenty, or even at the turn of the twenty-first century. Contemplation is the great secret for understanding the heart of communication, for plumbing the depths of intimacy, for discovering how to be in communion with one another and with God.3


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CHAPTER 1

Cultivate Stillness and Silence

[God] said,“Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in the mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11–13)

Have you tried to converse with someone in a room full of distractions? A DVD is playing; another member of the family is practicing a musical instrument or playing a computer game or talking on a cell phone; the drone of a lawn mower outside is eating up the silence. The noisy distractions make meaningful conversation impossible. Some never experience the peace of contemplation because they try to pray in just this type of situation. Perhaps not literally—most people realize that it is difficult to hear God’s whisper over a blaring television program.... Our noise is often, instead, on the inside. Our minds grind in an endless conversation—commenting, regretting, expecting, planning, worrying, resenting. 9


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Because of these distractions, our encounters with God remain shallow and tentative. Some of the early Desert Fathers called this the ceaseless murmuring of our minds. An early abba, or desert father, likened the mind to a tree full of chattering monkeys.4

Preparing to Pray Through a rhythm of quieting and stilling, of systematic preparation for prayer, we can attune ourselves to the mystery within us. Contemplation begins precisely with the quieting of one’s whole lifestyle and being. The following exercise may help you to cultivate this habit of inner stillness. 1. Prepare yourself. Sit, kneel, or lie for awhile in a quiet, comfortable place. Perhaps you’ll choose a chair with a straight back; perhaps you’ll take a cup of tea out onto the back porch. Perhaps you’ll create a sacred buffer by listening to quiet music on your MP3 player in the muddle of an active office. Be comfortable. Be alone. Slow down. 2. Be aware. Notice what is around you. Observe how you are feeling. Systematically focus your attention on each part of your body: shoulders, neck, arms, hands, stomach, feet.... Tell each part of your body to relax. 3. Breathe. Take four deep breaths. This practice can help you distance yourself from the haste, efficiency, and confusion of the office, the traffic, or the endless trips chauffeuring kids to afterschool activities.

The Gift of Quietness It may be difficult for you to imagine spending more than a few moments of silence in your busy day. (It can be a struggle even for a nun in a monastery!) The human spirit, however, hungers for the kind of peace found along the ancient way of contemplation. Without this deep connection with reality we die.


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Some people rise just a bit earlier in the morning to stake their claim for peace while the world is still asleep. I know one woman who keeps her rosary and prayer books next to her favorite easy chair, her sanctuary in which she finds the Lord each day. If taking advantage of the morning quiet is not an option for you, find another time that might work. Take a daily walk with the Lord. Steal away for a few moments at lunchtime or take out a book during a morning coffee break to reconnect with God. That’s all it takes.You don’t need many prayers or much time to strike up a heart-to-heart conversation with God. Talk familiarly to Jesus during a long commute. Let each phone call be a reminder to entrust yourself to God’s presence. Try lingering a few moments in the evening, after the rest of the house is hushed. Giving ourselves these silent moments is crucial to the wellbeing of our souls. These daily mini-retreats free us from the false illusion that we have made ourselves, that we can accomplish anything alone. They daily remind us that we are loved and are utterly dependent on our Creator. These times of resting restore within us the rhythm God built into our universe from the beginning. The great poets and mystics believed that if we had a true spirit of leisure we would see the grass grow, and touching the ground we would feel the beating of the heart of God. As our spirits cry out to God in our moments of sacred rest; ours is the promise of peace-filled living, even amid daily annoyances.

Beginning Today... 1. Schedule time to relax. Make a weekly appointment in your calendar for a true leisure break. During this time, plan at least one thing you really like to do, something that relaxes you. 2. Take some time just to do nothing. Doing nothing is the art of letting life reveal itself to you rather than scheduling every event.


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3. Live in the present. Take several deep breaths and, forgetting about the future and the past, look around you. Where is there beauty? Where is there need? Let the gift of each moment surprise you with the little pleasures it brings. Each of these moments of silent awareness that we lift up to God in quiet contemplation gives us a fresh start. We seek to give our full attention to each moment, not only to these moments of silence, but to each task, to each person we encounter. Awareness creates interior silence. When we gently yet firmly remove everything but the now from our present moment, we begin to notice what is around us and within us. We can care more, think more, and live more.

Silence Leads to Intimacy Silence is not a goal in and of itself. Silence is an interior space in which we discover that we are not alone, that we are in relation to Another. Silence leads to worship. Worship is a profound word for me. It means submission and adoration. It means that I am not my own creator. It means everything is not, in the final sense, all about me. The word also signifies to me that I am in relationship: that I am cared for and that I belong; that in the end I don’t have to support myself entirely. The Greek word for worship, proskyne, can mean, I come toward to kiss. When we pray, and precisely when we worship, we come toward God to kiss and be kissed. When we dare to stop running through the hoops of our hectic schedules, we discover an intimacy beyond our imagining.

Beginning Contemplative Prayer  

Best-selling author Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP, demonstrates how to begin a life of contemplative prayer in this practical guide. You don't have...

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