Monday, July 28, 2008

How I enter prayer is how I pray. A Benedictine oblate blog.

I have been thinking and writing about silence a lot because I have been reading "Saint John Cassian on Prayer" and because I have had some times away from home in complete silence. I highly recommend both activities. (As an aside, I feel more rested than I have in over four years. It’s bad for the spiritual life to be bone weary and drained of energy for long periods of time. Note to self — don’t let this happen again. It really is true that many problems are solved just by getting enough rest.)

OK, back on track in this blog.... I understand better why preparation for prayer is essential and why it is an important monastic principle.

Saint John Cassian wrote:

"... [W]e need to prepare ourselves before the time for prayer to be as we would wish to be found when we pray, since the mind is shaped in its petitions by its previous state. As we bend ourselves to pray, images of the same deeds or words or thoughts in keeping with our previous condition will dance before our eyes to anger us, or sadden us, or recall former projects and lusts, or shake us with stupid laughter...." "Saint John Cassian on Prayer," translated by A.M. Casiday, pages 12 and 13.

Cassian’s insight into WHY we should prepare for prayer is a good reason for me to spend time in the church before the times for the Divine Office and in silence in my home. I hope to soon return to the abbey for a visit. I will let you know.

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