St. John of the Cross is so attuned to the human heart, he knows just how to beg God for what we need.
Among the many deeply spiritual joys available to devoted Catholic Christians are these grace-filled endeavors: sitting in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament at Eucharistic Adoration and spending time alone in silent, contemplative prayer.
Alas, entering into those moments doesn’t necessarily happen smoothly.
Yes, the two prayer experiences can happen simultaneously, but they don’t have to.
Adoration requires the physical presence of bread consecrated and changed into the Body of Christ. It also could feature vocal prayer and music; it might involve a group of fellow worshipers.
Our own personal time of contemplation can be enjoyed anywhere solitude might be found. St. Teresa of Avila said contemplative prayer is “a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.”
That implies words aren’t necessarily needed.
What is needed? Quite simply: peace. Or, more specifically, “stillness of soul.”
Easier said than done, right? People often walk into a holy hour in an adoration chapel during the course of an active day, then try to quiet their thoughts to focus on the Lord and His Presence. But there always has to be a transition period of time for leaving lingering memories of the drive to church or that conversation with a child or the unfinished work project in order to pay particular attention to God alone.
Those same mental obstacles can hinder finding the peace desired for holy contemplation.
Anything that could trouble the soul clearly would benefit from a divinely peaceful attitude.
That level of peace can be helpful in other endeavors, beyond prayer.
Imagine such calmness and serenity as you enter into the busy-ness of the day — going to work, tackling an important task or assignment, facing a difficult conversation with a friend or family member. Anything that could trouble the soul clearly would benefit from a divinely peaceful attitude.
St. John of the Cross, one of St. Teresa’s closest friends, has served as one of my most admired spiritual guides and provided a prayer that I’ve found beneficial in entering any of these situations and much, much more. The 16th-century Spanish Carmelite priest, mystic, and Doctor of the Church spoke these words that resonate when peace is desired.
O blessed Jesus,
Grant me stillness of soul in Thee.
Let Thy mighty calmness reign in me;
Reign in me, O Thou King of gentleness, King of peace.
Give me control, great power of self-control,
Control over my words, thoughts, and actions.
From all irritability, lack of meekness, lack of gentleness,
O dear Lord, deliver me.
By Thine own deep patience, give me patience,
Stillness of soul in Thee.
Make me in this and all things more and more like Thee.