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How contemplative prayer is a close sharing between friends

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Philip Kosloski - published on 03/20/24

Contemplative prayer is not something complex or difficult, but requires an attentiveness to God and the ability to listen to his voice.

Sometimes contemplative prayer can seem like it is only accessible to the greatest of saints. While it is true that all the saints practiced contemplative prayer throughout their lives, it does not mean that we cannot practice it as well.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers a simple definition of contemplative prayer in its section on prayer:

What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: “Contemplative prayer [oracion mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.”

CCC 2709

This definition reminds us that prayer should not be focused on the particular “method” of prayer, but on the goal of prayer.

The goal is to deepen our friendship with Jesus Christ.

Contemplative prayer does not rely on formulas or texts, but is more akin to how friends talk to each other at a coffee shop. It is an honest and frank sharing of our struggles and fears with someone who loves us.

The Catechism continues to emphasize this basic understanding of contemplative prayer:

Contemplative prayer seeks him “whom my soul loves.” It is Jesus, and in him, the Father. We seek him, because to desire him is always the beginning of love, and we seek him in that pure faith which causes us to be born of him and to live in him. In this inner prayer we can still meditate, but our attention is fixed on the Lord himself.

CCC 2709

Above all, contemplative prayer might seem something too lofty for the average person, but in reality, if we want to grow in love of Jesus, all we need to do is talk and listen to him.

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