“ The spirit of Mary is something most delicate and profound, obtained only through sustained meditation and prayer. ” - Jean Claude Colin, Founder Marist Order
The three classical stages of prayer:
A prayer of the lips, with stress on words, recited or sung. The text is often ready-made and is often beautiful and inspiring. Vocal prayer may also be spontaneous.
A prayer centred in the mind, which pictures and ponders, reflects and thinks of God and his wonderful dealing. The mind seeks understanding and insight. In meditation, the lips are quiet and the mind is active.
Contemplative Prayer or contemplation
A prayer of heart and will which reaches out to God’s presence. The lips and mind both come to rest: there is simple gazing (looking) at the Lord while the heart reaches out in wordless prayer and the will seeks to be one with his.
Methods of Praying
- Over the centuries people have developed various approaches to prayer but all of them have had certain elements in common. The following are those elements presented in seven phrases that can help make prayer a reality in your everyday life. You can start from any point but the way will lead to the same final destination, meeting God face to face.
- Seek moments of silence: Our everyday life is filled with noise – from outside and inside. If we want to understand things that really matter we have to withdraw to silence. Find time in your daily schedule for silence – travelling, washing up, ordinary action that allow your mind silent concentration. (Lk. 6:12)
- Pause on your life journey: Everything in this world is constantly changing and on the move. We may rightly consider our own life as a journey. If we are not to travel blindly, we have to sit down and take our bearings regularly. We do this by choosing a convenient place and posture of ‘rest’ for our inner prayer. (Mt. 6: 6-8)
- Observe deeper realities: When you have withdrawn from noise inside and outside of you and are in a place were you can relax then focus the eyes of your mind on deeper realities. Looking at a tree we can see just colours and shapes. Beyond the borderline of perceptions we can be moved with wonder at the mystery of creation. Where does this beauty come from? The ability to wonder helps us see past things as objects to a deeper reality. (2 Kings 6: 15-17)
Hear the cry of people’s suffering: We hear lots of things but usually we have not learned to really listen. If we can pay sufficient attention to the words we hear we can notice the underlying message. A person can come to us and speak about ordinary things yet their real need may be loneliness and lack of encouragement. To notice the underlying message we can meet the suffering in another. (Exodus 3: 7-8)
- Heal by your touch: In all our relationships the sense of touch remains very important throughout life. Sensitive people are constantly aware of how their words and actions may hurt other people, and how their gentleness and respect will heal and encourage. (Mk. 5: 27-34)
- Respond to the Word of life: As Christians we believe that God has made himself known fully as a God of love. God himself speaks in Sacred Scripture. We can learn to interpret our world in a new way by reading and reflecting on God’s word. (Lk. 4: 16-21)
- Meeting Christ face to face: God has become visible to us in Jesus Christ. He has become a person we can talk to, a close friend, a companion, a dear father. The nearness of God in Jesus provides new meaning to life. When we touch other people around us, we do so with even greater love and respect because we remember what we do to them we do to Christ. In this way we open ourselves fully to Christ’s Spirit so that he can transform us and how we live. (Jn. 14: 19-21)
Monday - Gracious choice
You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also. (Mt22:38-40)
Tuesday - Conversion
Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of the truth (Eph.4: 23f)
And for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and the new one is here. It is all God’s work. (2Cor.5: 17)
Wednesday - In God Alone
The whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and not one claimed private ownership of any possessions. (Act4:32)
Thursday - Hidden and Unknown in the World
This is the reason our joy will be fulfilled; he must increase and we must decrease (Jn. 3:30)
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, and humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death. (Phil. 25:5)
Friday - Mary in the Midst of the Apostles
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus. (Acts 1:14)
“O my people”, says our God, “I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live” (Ps.113).
Saturday - Instruments of Mercy
“For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” (Lk19:10)
“He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame.Faithfully he brings true justice.” (Is 42:3-4)
Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves: so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Mt 10:16)
It is the same God that said ‘let there be light shining our of darkness’, who has shone in our minds to radiate the light of the knowledge of God’s glory (2Cor 4:6)