Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Contemplative Study: Prelude

In confession two weeks ago, I confessed how difficult it has been for me to pray. How it used to come so easily, and now I sometimes have absolutely no words to say to God. How I don't feel like I'm getting anything back from Him. How faith used to come to me so easily. All during my confession I was thinking of how the Lord had allowed this extremely painful suffering to be mine, and how, as a result, my faith had become so difficult. I did not know the path back to Him.

Father suggested that God was pulling me out of the faith of my childhood in order to steer me toward a different level of closeness to Him--perhaps one I would need later in life. He even said this was common. He suggested that my prayer be less scripted, and more than that, that I say less. He must know me well. He suggested a more contemplative prayer life, and he gave me Psalm 16 to pray:

"Keep me safe, O God;
in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord:
     you are my Lord.
     you are my only good."

God knew I needed those words in my mouth when I had none.

Then, by virtue of a friend on mine, Meg of Team Stout, I found a series of blogs written by women who seemed to understand my struggle. As a result of a series of related events, I came across Magnify the Lord with Me, written by Lauren. Lauren's joy is radiant. She seems to trust the Lord with some sense of desperation and abandon--a sense toward which I am working and working. I read a number of her posts in an afternoon, and one of them highly recommended a book of spiritual guidance, Searching for and Maintaining Peace, by Fr. Jacques Phillipe. I ordered it on the spot.

And as a way to get started with implementing contemplation in my life, as Father suggested, I'm going to do a study of this short treatise. Father said that contemplative prayer can really be challenging, especially initially, so I'm thinking maybe studying a meditation such as this would be a  good way to stay focused.

I have decided, even though I won't be doing this contemplative study in a group, I will still need to actively think about what I'm reading. Thus, I'm going to use this space to "discuss" the book in a series of posts. Look for posts entitled "A Contemplative Study."

Lord, I beg you to accept and bless this study as my effort to be more at peace with Your Will. I am trying to be actively receptive. I beg you to make this study fruitful and pleasing to your Sacred Heart. Jesus, I trust in You.

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