In The Way of Perfection, Teresa of Avila explains how contemplation can arise from verbal prayer. She mentions several repetitive prayers she has personally found helpful, especially the “Our Father”, or Lord’s Prayer. Over a number of chapters, she then elaborates on her understanding of that prayer, and I cannot help but hear in her writing the depth of her prayer life and the love she has for her Lord. She begins with the following words,
“Our Father, which art in the heavens”. My Lord, how fittingly you reveal yourself as the Father of such a Son. How fittingly your Son reveals himself as the Son of such a Father. May you be blessed forever and ever. Shouldn't a favour as great as this one come at the end of the prayer? Here at the beginning, you fill our hands and grant us so great a favour that it would be a great blessing if our understanding would be filled, and our will be occupied. We would thus be unable to say another word. How appropriate perfect contemplation would be here. How right the soul would be to enter into itself, so it could rise above itself and so that this holy Son might show it the nature of the place where he says his Father dwells in the heavens.
Teresa goes on to speak of how wonderful it is that we are also children in this great family, and that the love between the family members is fully ours because of our inclusion through Jesus our Brother. May you this week have a sense of being a member of this wonderful, loving family, and may it lead your soul into joyful contemplation.
16 May 2023
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