Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Biblical Prayer Themes, Part IV

[continued from Biblical Prayer Themes, Part III]

9. Loving contemplative immersion As we shall explain farther on, our Christocentric contemplation is a divinely given growth in mental prayer, given when we are ready, not before. It is a superior way of communing with God, a way that goes beyond images, concepts, and words. When it grows normally, it becomes deep, beautiful, intimate, love-filled. It is completely given by God, and so we call it infused contemplation. More details later. For now we will explain how the biblical message charmingly speaks of this kind of communing with the Lord.

We should observe that this inspired account does not mention ideas and words, for this new communing cannot be expressed verbally. Scripture calls it the "one thing", the most important human activity, namely, gazing on the beauty and loveliness of the Lord (Ps 27:4). It is living through love in the diving presence (Ps 21:6); Eph 1;4). At dawn we hold ourselves open to receive from the Lord (Ps 5:3; 92:2). We taste how good he is, the biblical way of saying that we experience for ourselves the very goodness of God (Ps 34:8-10), and we drink from the divine river of delight. We do not have to reason and think ideas: we receive his joy in a wordless way. This can also be expressed by our being quiet and experiencing that he is the Lord of all (Ps 46:10). Sts. Paul and Peter explain that we then pray so deeply that words cannot describe the experience (Rom 8:26; 1 Pet 1;8).

Not surprisingly, in this prayer we are transformed from one glory to another (2 Cor 3:18). We rest in God, our sole ultimate fulfillment, a fulfillment that begins here in this life (Ps 62:1-2, 5-7). The psalmist speaks of pining with love for God and finding in him his sole delight, the surpassing joy of being close to his God (Ps 73:25-26, 28). As we grow toward this loving immersion we are more and more sharing in and reliving Jesus' habitual and long periods of solitude, being absorbed in the Father through their common love, the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:35; Lk 6:12; 5:16, and so on).
Prayer Primer, Thomas Dubay, S.M.

[Varieties of biblical prayer themes to be continued...]

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