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Christian Prayer

655

middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that

of faith: “‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’”

17

2731

Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want

to pray, is

dryness.

Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when

the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, mem­

ories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer

faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. “Un­

less a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone;

but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

18

If dryness is due to the lack of

roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires

conversion.

19

Facing temptations in prayer

2732

The most common yet most hidden temptation is our

lack of

faith.

It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual

preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares

thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of

truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimeswe turn to the Lord

as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the

Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case,

our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of

a humble heart: “Apart fromme, you can do

nothing.

20

2733

Another temptation, to which presumption opens the

gate, is

acedia.

The spiritual writers understand by this a form of

depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, care­

lessness of heart. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is

weak.”

21

The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as

discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble

are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to

hold fast in constancy.

III.

F

ilial

T

rust

2734

Filial trust is tested—it proves itself—in tribulation.

22

The

principal difficulty concerns the

prayer of petition,

for oneself or for

others in intercession. Some even stop praying because they think

17

Ps

27:8.

18

Jn

12:24.

19 Cf.

Lk

8:6, 13.

20

Jn

15:5.

21

Mt

26:41.

22 Cf.

Rom

5:3-5.

1426

2609

2089

2092, 2074

2094

2559

2629