Contemplative Prayer – Listening to the Catechism, Part One
2709 What is contemplative prayer?
St Teresa answers: “Contemplative prayer [oracion mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.” Contemplative prayer seeks Him “whom my soul loves.”
It is Jesus and in Him, the Father. We seek Him, because to desire Him is always the beginning of love and we seek Him in that pure faith which causes us to be born of Him and to live in Him.
In this inner prayer we can still meditate but our attention is fixed on the Lord Himself.
2710 The choice of the time and duration of the prayer arises from a determined will, revealing the secrets of the heart.
One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials and dryness one may encounter.
One cannot always meditate but one can always enter into inner prayer, independently of the conditions of health, work, or emotional state.
The heart is the place of this quest and encounter, in poverty and in faith.
2711 Entering into contemplative prayer is like entering into the Eucharistic liturgy: we “gather up:” the heart, recollect our whole being under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, abide in the dwelling place of the Lord which we are, awaken our faith in order to enter into the presence of Him who awaits us.
We let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to Him as an offering to be purified and transformed.
Christ be in my heart and mind,
Christ within my soul enshrined;
Christ control, my wayward heart;
Christ abide and ne’er depart.