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Part Four

movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is

a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light:

“Lord, what do you want me to do?”

2707

There are as many and varied methods of meditation as

there are spiritual masters. Christians owe it to themselves to

develop the desire tomeditate regularly, lest they come to resemble

the three first kinds of soil in the parable of the sower.

5

But a

method is only a guide; the important thing is to advance, with the

Holy Spirit, along the one way of prayer: Christ Jesus.

2708

Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and

desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen

our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and

strengthen our will to followChrist. Christian prayer tries above all

to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in

lectio divina

or the rosa­

ry. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian

prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord

Jesus, to union with him.

III.

C

ontemplative

P

rayer

2709

What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: “Con­

templative prayer [

oración mental

] in my opinion is nothing else

than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time fre­

quently to be alone with him who we know loves us.”

6

Contemplative prayer seeks him“whommy soul loves.”

7

It is

Jesus, and in him, the Father. We seek him, because to desire him is al­

ways 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.

2710

The choice of the

time and duration of the prayer

arises from

a determined will, revealing the secrets of the heart. One does not

undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one

makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give

up, no matter what trials and dryness one may encounter. One

cannot always meditate, but one can always enter into inner

prayer, independently of the conditions of health, work, or

5 Cf.

Mk

4:4-7, 15-19.

6 St. Teresa of Jesus,

The Book of Her Life,

8, 5 in

The Collected Works of St.

Teresa of Avila,

tr. K.Kavanaugh, OCD, and O. Rodriguez, OCD

(Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1976), I, 67.

7

Song

1:7; cf. 3:1-4.

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2664

516

2678

2562-2564

2726