The silent language

Question of the Day

What does He care for words, He who listens only to the heart?

Quote of the Day
excerpt from chapter 1, How to Pray by Father Jean Nicolas Grou

You ask me what is this voice of the heart.

How can I tell you? And how could you understand me? The voice of the heart is love. Love God and your heart will always be speaking to Him; it will always be praying to Him. The germ of love is the germ of prayer; the development and the perfection of love are the development and perfection of prayer. If you do not understand this, you have never yet loved and never prayed. Beg of God to open your heart and light it up with one spark of his love; then will you begin to understand what it is to pray.

But, some may say, does a sinner who prays to God from his heart already love Him? Yes; at least has the beginning of love, otherwise how could he pray from his heart? And it is this love that dictates his prayer. It may not as yet be strong enough to justify him; but it prepares and leads him on to justification. But what about the just man who is distracted, cold and insensible in his prayer? Does not he love God? If it is through his own fault that he is in this disposition, he may have habitual love, as we are supposing him to be a just man; but at this moment he makes no use of his habit of love; love is dormant; he does not pray, his heart is idle, while his tongue is in motion.

Holy souls, who are undergoing the painful trial of dryness and aridity, and whose love is so much the purer, as it is less sensible, must not be alarmed; what has just been said does not apply to them.

If it is the heart that prays, evidently it can sometimes and even habitually pray alone, without words, either expressed or mental. This is just what few people understand and many deny altogether. They must have express and formal acts, at least interior, that are distinctly perceived, and of which the soul is conscious; without such acts they recognize no prayer. They are however mistaken and God has not yet taught them how the heart prays.

Suppose then, a soul so united to God, that to be attentive to prayer it needs no longer explicit acts in these moments of silence and of peace when it heeds not what is passing within it. It prays, and excellently too, with a simple, straightforward prayer that God hears perfectly, although the soul cannot perceive it, being as it were transported out of self by the action of divine grace. The heart is full of thoughts of God, which it is unable to express clearly, and which are so spiritual that they escape its knowledge, but hey are not unknown to God. This prayer so empty of all images, and seemingly inactive, is yet so active that it is, as far as it can be so in this life, pure adoration in spirit and in truth; the adoration that is really worthy of God where the soul is united to Him in its very depths, the created intelligence to the increated intelligence, without the medium of the imagination or of the reasoning powers, or anything beyond a very simple attention of the understanding, and an equally simple application of the will. This is what is called prayer of silence, the prayer of quiet, of simple contemplation, of pure faith, to which God raises by degrees those who have given themselves entirely to Him, and whom He governs by His grace in a most especial manner.

The souls favored with this excellent gift, who read this, will easily understand it, and they will recognize in this the prayer that keeps them as it were annihilated before God, and lost in Him. Others will understand nothing of it, and (using the Gospel phrase) it will be a hidden word to them. Let these begin by respecting what they cannot understand, let them desire to experience the same in order that they may understand it, let it be the object of their prayers, and let them live in such a way as to deserve that God should listen to their prayer.

If there be one favor more than another, which God desires to communicate to us, it is this; but where are the Christians who dispose themselves to receive it by detachment and purity of heart? Where are they who having received the first-fruits of it know how to cultivate them by unreserved correspondence to grace?

Prayer of the Day

O my Divine Master! teach me this silent language that says so much. Teach me to keep myself in interior and exterior silence in Thy presence; to adore Thee from the very depths of my being, to expect all from Thee without asking for anything but the fulfillment of Thy will. Teach me to let Thee act upon my soul and in it produce the simple and general prayer which puts nothing into words, and says everything, which specifies nothing and includes everything. If Thou grantest me this grace how faithfully shall I consecrate to Thee a fixed time each day for prayer! With what joy shall I fulfil this duty, and what care shall I not always take to preserve so precious a gift! But O Lord I know not what I am saying. I speak as if I were capable of making promises, of keeping them, if made, by my own strength, and as if my promises could cause Thee to do me any good. I look at Thy bounty alone; grant me this favour for the glory of Thy name, and add the grace of making good use of it and of meriting its increase. Amen.
[— chapter 1, How to Pray, Father Jean Nicolas Grou]