Friday, February 26, 2010

Spiritual Direction with St. John of the Cross

The Gift of Contemplation-Prayer of the Heart

The soul that is called to the gift of contemplation or infused prayer, is at first perpexled and fearful of what is happening within his soul.  He may seek help from a spiritual director.  During this period of transition when the soul is being led from discursive meditation  (using reason & imagination) to the prayer of simplicity of heart,it is important to have the right spiritual counsel.  St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross have many things to say about this subject.  Today we recall what St. John of the Cross says about certain spiritual masters who do not understand this spiritual transition in a soul:

These spiritual masters, not understanding souls that tread the path of quiet and solitary contemplation, since they themselves have not reached it and do not know what it is to part with discursive meditation, think these souls are idle.  They hinder them and hamper the peace of restful and quiet contemplation that God of his own was according them, by making them walk along the path of meditation and imaginative reflection, and perform interior acts. In doing this, these souls find great repugnance, dryness, and distraction; they want to remain in their holy idleness and quiet and peaceful recollection.                          LF, Stanza 3, No. 53

During this holy season of Lent when the entire Church is on retreat, individually, we can try to seek greater solitude with the Lord. Secular Carmelites are required to take this little retreat daily by remaining in prayer for 1/2 hour in an atmosphere of quiet and solitude.  Let us remember the friars and sisters of our Order who seek the face of God in prayer daily on our behalf in an atmosphere of great silence and solitude, far from family, friends, and the noise  and distractions of every day life.

The Hermits of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a Carmelite (O.Carm) Community of men who seek the face of God in prayer on our behalf.  Please remember them and all of our Carmelite religious in prayer during this holy season of Lent.  We only give up certain things during Lent.  They give up much more on a daily basis.  Please visit their beautiful website.

Peace be with you!

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