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652

Part Four

2716

Contemplative prayer is

hearing

the Word of God. Far from

being passive, such attentiveness is the obedience of faith, the

unconditional acceptance of a servant, and the loving commitment

of a child. It participates in the “Yes” of the Son become servant and

the

Fiat

of God’s lowly handmaid.

2717

Contemplative prayer is

silence,

the “symbol of the world

to come”

12

or “silent love.”

13

Words in this kind of prayer are not

speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this

silence, unbearable to the “outer” man, the Father speaks to us his

incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose; in this silence the

Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus.

2718

Contemplative prayer is a union with the prayer of Christ

insofar as it makes us participate in his mystery. The mystery of

Christ is celebrated by the Church in the Eucharist, and the Holy

Spirit makes it come alive in contemplative prayer so that our

charity will manifest it in our acts.

2719

Contemplative prayer is a communion of love bearing Life

for the multitude, to the extent that it consents to abide in the night

of faith. The Paschal night of the Resurrection passes through the

night of the agony and the tomb—the three intense moments of the

Hour of Jesus which his Spirit (and not “the flesh [which] is weak”)

brings to life in prayer. We must be willing to “keep watch with

[him] one hour.”

14

IN BRIEF

2720

The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily

prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist,

the feasts of the liturgical year.

2721

The Christian tradition comprises three major expres­

sions of the life of prayer: vocal prayer, meditation,

and contemplative prayer. They have in common the

recollection of the heart.

2722

Vocal prayer, founded on the union of body and soul

in human nature, associates the body with the interior

prayer of the heart, following Christ’s example of

12 Cf. St. Isaac of Nineveh,

Tract. myst.

66.

13 St. John of the Cross,

Maxims and Counsels,

53 in

The Collected Works of St.

John of the Cross,

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

(Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979), 678.

14 Cf.

Mt

26:40.

494

533

498

165

2730