are also responsible for the formation in
prayer of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Servants of the Good
Shepherd, they are ordained to lead the People of God to the living
waters of prayer: the Word of God, the liturgy, the theologal life
(the life of faith, hope, and charity), and the Today of God in
have consecrated their whole lives to
prayer. Hermits, monks, and nuns since the time of the desert
fathers have devoted their time to praising God and interceding
for his people. The consecrated life cannot be sustained or spread
without prayer; it is one of the living sources of contemplation and
the spiritual life of the Church.
of children, young people, and adults aims
at teaching them to meditate on The Word of God in personal
prayer, practicing it in liturgical prayer, and internalizing it at all
times in order to bear fruit in a new life. Catechesis is also a time
for the discernment and education of popular piety.
rization of basic prayers offers an essential support to the life of
prayer, but it is important to help learners savor their meaning.
indeed “schools of prayer,” are today one
of the signs and one of the driving forces of renewal of prayer in
the Church, provided they drink from authentic wellsprings of
Christian prayer. Concern for ecclesial communion is a sign of
true prayer in the Church.
The Holy Spirit gives to certain of the faithful the gifts of
wisdom, faith and discernment for the sake of this common good
which is prayer (
). Men and women so endowed
are true servants of the living tradition of prayer.
According to St. John of the Cross, the person wishing to
advance toward perfection should “take care into whose
hands he entrusts himself, for as the master is, so will the
disciple be, and as the father is so will be the son.” And
further: “In addition to being learned and discreet a director
should be experienced. . . . If the spiritual director has no ex
perience of the spiritual life, he will be incapable of leading
into it the souls whom God is calling to it, and he will not
even understand them.”
47 St. John of the Cross,
The Living Flame of Love,
stanza 3, 30, in
Works of St. John of the Cross,
eds K. Kavanaugh OCD and O. Rodriguez
OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979), 621.