Meditation in Prayer
Not satisfied “Thou, O God, hast opened wide to me Thy trust and Thy verity…I have studied the laws regulating the mind of man…I have penetrated in part into the mysteries of nature…I have many books of very varied contents; I have read and re-read them, but still I am not yet satisfied. My spirit still thirsts for further knowledge and my heart is unsatisfied; it hungers, and from all the knowledge thus acquired by the intellect, it cannot gain full happiness. When will it be satisfied? It will be satisfied, when ‘I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.’ Until then I shall hunger” (1). Praying: Avoid earnestly all coldness of heart. “”Do not, therefore, allow your heart to be cold, especially during prayer, and avoid in every way cold indifference. Very often it happens that prayer is on the lips, but in the heart cunning, incredulity, or unbelief, so that by the lips the man seems near to God, whilst in his heart he is far from Him. And during our prayers, the evil one makes use of every means to chill our hearts and fill them with deceit in a most imperceptible manner to us. Pray and fortify yourself, fortify your heart” (8). Fear losing Christ in your heart “Having Christ in your heart, fear that you may lose Him, and with Him the peace of your heart; it is hard to begin again; efforts to attach oneself afresh to Him after falling away will be very grievous, and will cost bitter tears to many. Cling to Christ with all your might, gain Him, and do not lose boldness in approaching Him” (9). The purer the heart, the more clearly we see God. “[God] is reflected in the pious mind as the sun is reflected in a drop of water; the purer the drop is, the better, the clearer will be the reflection; the more turbid the drop, the dimmer will be the reflection” (11). Prayer: Beware of Scattered Thoughts “The evil spirit tries to scatter prayer as if it were a sandheap, tries to turn the words into dry sand, without coherency or moisture – that is to say, without fervor of heart. Thus prayer may become either a house built on sand or a house built on a rock” (11). Science of Sciences: Watch your Heart “Watch your heart during all your life – examine it, listen to it, and see what prevents its union with the most blessed Lord. Let this be for you the science of all sciences, and with God’s help you will easily observe what estranges you from God, and what draws you towards Him and unites you to Him” (13). Moments of Darkness “During prayer there sometimes occur moments of deadly darkness and spiritual anguish arising from unbelief of the heart…Do not let your heart fail you at such moments…Do not pay any attention to this darkness of Satan. Drive it away from your heart by making the sign of the life-giving Cross!” (15). Ingredient for peaceful day “The only means by which you can spend the day in perfect holiness, peace, and without sin, is the most sincere, fervent prayer as soon as you rise from sleep in the morning. It will bring Christ into your heart, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and will thus strengthen and fortify your soul against any evil; but still it will be necessary for you carefully to guard your heart” (18). Slow Prayer “For those who have not attained the capability of praying sincerely it is necessary to pray slowly, waiting for a corresponding echo in the heart to each word of the prayer. And this is not always soon given to men unaccustomed to prayerful contemplation. Therefore, for such men, it must be laid down as an absolute rule to pronounce the words of the prayer slowly, and with pauses. Wait until every word gives back its corresponding echo in your heart” (19).