God alone can teach us how to pray
Quote of the Day
excerpt from chapter 4, How to Pray by Father Jean Nicolas Grou
Notice yet one important point. If when you are meditating or reciting vocal prayers, you feel yourself strongly impressed with the presence of God, and you enjoy a certain sweet calm, and are inwardly drawn to silence, this is a sign that the Holy Ghost is taking special possession of your soul, and that He is communicating to you, on trial as it were by the way, the gift of mental prayer. Then you must be silent and suspend the exercise of your faculties, remaining calm and passive under the operations of the Holy Ghost. For when He acts in a way that is thus sensibly felt, we must in no way disturb His action, but give ourselves up to it by a very simple inward act of consent. If this action of the Holy Ghost were to last some time, or become more frequent, after having asked the advice of some one experienced in the spiritual life, you would have ground for believing that you were called to real mental prayer and would be obliged to follow the call. In order that we may have the dispositions requisite for receiving the gift of mental prayer, three things are necessary: humility, simplicity, and docility.
In the first place constant humility in everything relating to prayer is indispensable. We must be always willing to depend on the Holy Ghost; we must not rely on our own efforts to acquire devotion, but expect all from God. We must believe ourselves unworthy of His favours, we must not desire them too eagerly, we must not be envious of the souls to which they are granted, we must remain in our own nothingness, and be content to remain there, as in our proper place, we must not aspire to anything exalted. Better would it be for us to pass our whole life in humility and vocal prayer, than that we should conceive the least esteem of ourselves, or prefer ourselves to others on account of our sublime gift of prayer. The greater number of souls whom God has raised from the ordinary path never desired this grace, or thought of it, and did not know in what it consisted. But they were humble. Their first feeling was one of astonishment that God should have deigned to cast a look on them; in calling them to this familiar converse with Himself, God above all proposed to Himself to make them perfect in humility, and if they had not corresponded to His designs they would have fallen lower than they were before.
Simplicity is the true note of all prayer, and nothing pleases God more. He does not wish so much studied preparation in his service; all is spoilt when devotion is reduced to a system, and so much careful arrangement is thought necessary. After all we must ever go back to the Holy Spirit; He alone can teach the right way to converse with God, and when He takes possession of a soul, the first thing He does is to withdraw her from all methods taught by men.
…Oh! how much is accomplished by doing nothing of ourselves, but relying on God to do all in us!
Prayer of the Day
O my divine Savior! Again I beseech Thee, more earnestly than ever, to teach me to pray. Place in me both the remote and proximate dispositions for the prayer of the Holy Ghost. Make me humble, simple, and docile; grant that I may do all in my power to become so. What will my prayer be if the Holy Ghost does not pray with me? And if my prayers are not well said, what will my life be? If it is not a life of sin, still it will be in danger of becoming so, and in any case full of imperfections and subject to heaps of venial sins.
Come, O divine Spirit! come and dwell and act within me. Take entire possession of my understanding and my will; direct their exercise not alone at the time of prayer, but at all times. I can neither glorify God, nor sanctify my soul without Thee. Amen.
[chapter 4, How to Pray, Grou]