emotional state. The heart is the place of this quest and encounter,
in poverty and in faith.
Entering into contemplative prayer
is like entering into the Eu
charistic liturgy: we “gather up” the heart, recollect our whole being
under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, abide in the dwelling place
of the Lord which we are, awaken our faith in order to enter into the
presence of him who awaits us. We let our masks fall and turn our
hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to
him as an offering to be purified and transformed.
Contemplative prayer is the prayer of the child of God, of
the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is
loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more.
he knows that the love he is returning is poured out by the Spirit
in his heart, for everything is grace from God. Contemplative
prayer is the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the
Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son.
Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the
mystery of prayer. It is a
a grace; it can be accepted only in
humility and poverty. Contemplative prayer is a
ship established by God within our hearts.
in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image
of God, “to his likeness.”
Contemplative prayer is also the pre-eminently
of prayer. In it the Father strengthens our inner being with
power through his Spirit “that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts
through faith” and we may be “grounded in love.”
Contemplation is a
of faith, fixed on Jesus. “I look at
him and he looks at me”: this is what a certain peasant of Ars in the
time of his holy curé used to say while praying before the taberna
cle. This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self. His gaze purifies our
heart; the light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes
of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth
and his compassion for all men. Contemplation also turns its gaze
on the mysteries of the life of Christ. Thus it learns the “interior
knowledge of our Lord,” the more to love him and follow him.
11 Cf. St. Ignatius of Loyola,