The One who has loved us into being wants to dialogue with us.
Just one verse each day.
Where does prayer begin? Not in us. Prayer begins in God. “The living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God’s initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response” (Catechism2467).
The One who has loved us into being wants to dialogue with us. The One who created us continues that creative act of love through a gift of unceasing communication by which he woos us to deeper intimacy with him.
One outstanding contemporary master of prayer, Ruth Burrows (Carmelite Sister Rachel) has written: “Prayer is essentially what God does. And what God is doing for us is giving us the divine Self in love. Christian prayer is nothing other than being present to God so that God can give himself to us. The essence of prayer must always lie with God’s Self-communication to us; our part is merely a response.”
In this respect, all prayer is Eucharistic: It is a way of being given over to God so that God can give his very self to us. This is God’s chief desire. And we thrive on this communion. Without such supernatural give-and-take, we begin to wither. Our life loses its luster. As a friend of mine expresses it, every moment that I am not begging for the Infinite is in some way a moment of despair. That is how crucial the response to God known as prayer truly is.
We do well to heed the words of one of the most ancient spiritual treatises in the English language, The Cloud of Unknowing: “You must nourish in your heart the lively longing for God. This loving desire is certainly God’s gift; it is up to you to nurture it.” And we do so very simply. “I keep myself in the Lord’s presence by simple attentiveness and a loving gaze upon God” (Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection).
Read the first of this series here: