Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Catholic Contemplative Affiliation
Contemplative Notes

Contemplative Notes


Posted, June 28,   2018

In the 1500’s St. Teresa as a Carmelite nun received a gift of a book from her uncle.  The book helped to change her life as a nun and started the whole Carmelite Reform that has led to so many saints like St. Theresa of Lisieux and even St. John of the Cross.
The author was a Franciscan named, Francisco de Osuna.  The book introduced to Teresa to the practice of mental prayer  as distinct from vocal prayer.
Mental prayer is of the heart and the interior workings of our soul.  It is prayer of the heart.
The prayer that we practice here each Saturday morning is the prayer that Francisco taught St. Teresa.
Here are the points of his teaching on prayer.
First, Recollection: we bring all our interior mental workings into one point of focus.  We gently leave thoughts and memories and sensations.  We re-collect into one point of simple attention.
Second, Memory: We bring to mind in a general loving way the whole mystery of Jesus as revealed.  It is a memory of a  Presence more than of detail and images.  Before I practice this prayer of the heart, I read the Gospel of the day not for details,  only that Jesus is real and living in Himself to my heart.
Third, the Deep Sighs of Love from the heart.  We give ourselves in the longings of the soul for divine union with God in love.
“The soul can seize and snatch God away with bonds of charity and love, for God does not know how to deny love, on the contrary, God promptly surrenders, like the heron when a falcon plunges to seize it.  Thus captured by love, God is carried off by the soul, not only to the house but also to the bed of its mother.”—Francisco de Osuna.
Our prayer practice as taught with the Sacred Word simply invoked in our heart follows in this tradition.
So be courageous and generous in a daily practice, at least once a day.

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In our liturgical celebration, the Rule of St. Benedict states:
Mens concordet voci. (The mind should be in accord with the voice.)
Which means that in our exercise of celebrating the words of the Liturgy, the depths and understanding of the soul, of the heart—i.e. the mens—surrenders to the words of the sacred Liturgy. The workings of the understanding, memory, and the movements of love and surrender are led by words and actions of the Liturgy into the mystery of Christ being celebrated and in its affecting us in transforming grace.

Usually it is the mind that directs the voice to enunciate the thoughts.

Or in contemplative prayer practice, the word surrenders to the silent depths of divine union within the soul (“mens) which is “unutterable.”

Out of love, the mind surrenders the words to the lips from deep meanings and memory; the words are celebrated; and thus the Liturgy and Sacrament are effected into ontological transformation, as the body and mind of our humility are transformed into the glory of the risen Lord.







For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Fredrickson